D&L Marathon A Success; Overcomes Hurricane Sandy
The wind and biting cold air that accompanied the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy wasn’t enough to deter 678 runners who crossed the finish lines of the second Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Marathon & Half-Marathon on Sunday, November 4.
Leading the way was 23-year-old Pat McLaughlin of Maple Glen, PA, who ran between the blue-and yellow finish flags south of Lehigh Gap to claim the half-marathon championship a little past 9:10 a.m. McLaughlin covered the 13.1-mile D&L Trail course in a blazing time of 1:10:42, a blistering 5:24 per-mile pace. McLaughlin was first among the 410 runners who finished the half-marathon.
Deedra Porfirio of West Pittston, PA, was the top female half-marathon winner (8th overall) in a time of 1:30:47.
Michael Arnstein, a New York City Marathon entrant until damage from Sandy cancelled the Big Apple event, won the D&L Marathon in a time of 2:38:07, a per-mile pace of 6:02. Arnstein was among 150 runners who registered online in a little over an hour when news broke that the NYC race wouldn’t be held.
Jessica Kennedy of Morristown, NJ, was the top female marathon finisher (10th overall) for the second year in-a-row. She covered the 26.2-mile course in 3:06:37, a 7:07 pace.
Considering that millions of people in the Northeast lost power the week of the race, including the D&L offices in Easton and Lehighton, and that the D&L Trail was compromised by the enormous storm, it was a victory just to get the races off. Exceeding last year’s event total by more than 200 runners was very sweet icing on the cake. A volunteer turnout of more than 125 – despite communication problems – put organizers on Cloud Nine.
“We were able to address the challenges presented by Sandy and still accommodate more runners,” said D&L President/Executive Director Elissa Garofalo. “The D&L staff, volunteers, local municipalities and runners really stepped up to the plate.”
Garofalo paid special tribute to the Lehigh County Parks Department, which had crews on 11 miles of the D&L Trail between Cementon and Lehigh Gap for three consecutive days. Workers used chain saws to cut trees that fell across the course and then manicured the trail with a large leaf blower. D&L staff, D&L Trail Tenders volunteers, and even some registered runners were on the trail Wednesday and Thursday filling potholes, raking sticks and leaves, and filling gullies that formed when water from the storm raced down Heritage Heartbreak Hill, the only hill on the marathon course.
“We were able to enjoy a beautiful course and wonderful day following all of the stress and tragedy on the East Coast,” said New York City resident Maria Rosales, one of the “refugees” who traveled to Pennsylvania when her hometown race was declared a victim of the storm. “I want to thank those involved with the Delaware and Lehigh Heritage Marathon for such an amazing race.”
Course problems prior to Sunday weren’t limited to the flat, crushed-limestone D&L Trail. Winds from the storm snapped a light pole on Laubach Street in Northampton, a short distance from the races’ start lines. The situation forced a last-minute detour that required the course to be remeasured for certification purposes. The late influx of NYC Marathon runners also inflated activity at the start area at Atlas Park. The event parking lot, which was large enough to accommodate the original target of 700 runners, overflowed. Porta-potty lines were long but not unbearable, and volunteers scrambled as they were asked to double-up their responsibilities.
The half-marathon gun sounded only a few minutes off the announced 8 a.m. start time, and it wasn’t long before the racers – and races – settled down and did their collective thing. Hours later, almost 700 runners from 24 states and eight foreign countries had crossed the finish lines set up in the shadow of the towering Kittatiny Ridge.
“My friends and I enjoyed the marathon course through a truly spectacular area,” said California runner, Frank Anino. “I thank all who were involved for your hospitality and for mounting a terrific race.”
Rosales, one of many to wrap mylar blankets around themselves at the finish line, appreciated having a proven marathon on a beautiful course as a fallback, and only 90 miles from New York. “We truly appreciate the support,” she said after downing hot food and water at the runners’ food tent. “I will glowingly recommend your race to other runners.”
“It was a great showcase for northern Lehigh County and Carbon County, and especially the D&L Trail,” said Garofalo. “Running enthusiasts were in their glory.”
Race Director, Rayne Schnabel, is already looking forward to 2013. “I was extremely happy with the races this year. Everyone involved – staff, volunteers, sponsors, the municipalities, the runners – deserve our sincere thanks. We’re already contemplating some changes and additions for next year.”
The top three male and female overall marathon and half-marathon winners are listed below.
A complete list of all runners who finished the races, and their times, can be accessed online at The Pretzel City Sports website. For marathon results click here. For half-marathon results click here.
Marathon – Male
1. 2:38:07 Michael Arnstein, New York, NY
2. 2:52:36 Greg Rankin, Texas
3. 2:53:38 Justin Mann, Wilmington DE
Marathon – Female
1. (10th overall) 3:06:37 Jessica Kennedy, Morristown, NJ,
2. (11th overall) 3:08:10 Lauren Sanders, Wyomissing, PA,
3. (13th overall) 3:08:26 Sara Amitrani, Red Bank, NJ,
Half-Marathon – Male
1. 1:10:42 Pat McLaughlin, Maple Glen, PA
2. 1:20:59 Adria Botifoll, New York, NY
3. 1:23:38 Sean Robbins, Shavertown, PA
Half-Marathon – Female
1. (8th overall) 1:30:47 Deedra Porfirio, West Pittston, PA
2. (11th overall) 1:32:29 Cathy Butler, York, PA
3. (15th overall) 1:34:51 Samantha Mulvey, Pottstown, PA
The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is a 501c3 non-profit corporation that is building the D&L Trail and fostering stewardship of historical, cultural and natural resources along the historic canals and railroads that transported anthracite coal from mines to markets in eastern Pennsylvania.