The Tour de Salisbury 2022 featured sunrises, heat, miles with friends… and tacos!

Female runners run across a bridge, with some waving.
Joe Andrews captured this photo of a group of us running across a bridge in Chincoteague.

The Tour de Salisbury is one of the few events that will have me running at sunrise. I got up for two sunrise runs during this 12-course adventure, and I had plenty of fun running with friends.

The Tour de Salisbury includes 12 courses on Delmarva, each with a Strava segment to complete. Participants have June and July to complete the courses. The 12 legs can be completed in any order, and legs can be re-run for a better time. People can run for speed, but I just participated for completion — and fun, of course. I enjoyed running with friends, and I even met a couple new people along the way.

Leg 11: Chincoteague

Group of runners poses for a photo with trees in the background.
The group poses for a photo before tackling the Chincoteague segment.

I kicked off the Tour de Salisbury on June 4 with the leg that was both the longest distance and the furthest away from Salisbury — Chincoteague. A large group of us met up for this run, with most of us carpooling from Salisbury. We had to get through the 10.5 miles, but after that, there was the promise of stopping at Pico Taqueria for tacos. Because I ran this leg so early in the morning last year, and the weather was dreary that day, I didn’t stick around for the 11 a.m. opening. I wasn’t going to miss out this year!

This route starts out at the Island Nature Trail, then goes through town and then around the Wildlife Loop at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Garmin Connect tracked the temperature as 68 degrees with 68 percent humidity, but I remember it feeling warm. It didn’t feel as bad for me as it went on, maybe because we slowed down.

Originally, I wanted to run 14 miles this day for my marathon training, but I ended up being really thirsty and didn’t add onto the run, even though a couple others did. I did 3.5 very hot miles in Fruitland once we got back to the Salisbury area.

I completed this 10.5-mile leg in 2:29:56, a 14:16 pace.

I took this photo during the Schumaker leg, on the ward Museum nature trail.

Leg 3: Schumaker

My next completed leg of the Tour de Salisbury was the new, four-mile Schumaker course, which started and ended at Schumaker Park and took runners onto nearby roads. While the leg was new, I was familiar with these roads, and it was not hard for me to navigate.

I ran this leg June 11, and it was the third leg I started that day — but the first completed. First, I went with a group to Crisfield, but we ended up heading back early because of a friend’s injury (totally the right call). I wanted to get in 10 miles this day, so I figured I’d go for the seven-mile Salisburian route. However, while running the route, I was following the blue dot on Strava and realized I’d gone the wrong way around Downtown Salisbury. When I got back to my car, I decided to go home, take a bathroom break and then head over to Schumaker. I finally completed the course and got the segment at Schumaker.

This was mostly a road course, but there was a little bit in Schumaker Park, and the end featured the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art’s nature trail. Because of the prior runs, I ended up starting this run at 11:34 a.m.

I completed 4.01-mile segment in 55:00 even, a 13:43 pace.

Scenic view of water and trees in the background, with clouds in the sky.
Wetipquin Park was a beautiful place to start and end the Tyaskin leg.

Leg 8: Tyaskin

I’d attempted the Trail Mile before I left for Duluth, Minn., and Grandma’s Marathon, but I wouldn’t end up completing another TDS segment until July. I ran Grandma’s Marathon on June 18 and then, because of terrible foot pain from plantar fasciitis, I decided to take the next 13 days off from running. I knew time was ticking for the Tour de Salisbury, but I figured I needed the time for rest and recovery.

My first run back was July 2 — so, at the end of June, I only had two Tour de Salisbury segments completed. I joined a group for the Tyaskin segment that morning. I’d run in Tyaskin before, but I had not been to Wetipquin Park, where the course started and ended. It was a scenic run, and in addition to the waterfront start and end, we went to two other docks on the Nanticoke River.

I did run-walk intervals with Diana and Rose — nearly all of my runs involved run-walk intervals. This was also the longest run at that time for Rose and Jordan, who was in a group going a little faster. It’s fun to be part of someone’s longest run ever!

My time for this 7.23-mile segment was 1:53:16, a 15:39 pace.

Group photo of numerous runners, with trees in the background.
A group gathers to run the Pemberton leg for the last time on July 31.

Leg 1: Pemberton Park

The next Friday through Sunday, I completed three Tour de Salisbury legs. First up was Pemberton Park, which I ran the evening of Friday, July 8, with Jordan. I’m very familiar with the Pemberton trails, and this leg has been part of the Tour all three years. We completed the 3.93-mile segment in 1:01:12, a 15:33 pace.

I then returned to the Pemberton Park trails for a large group run on the last day of the Tour, July 31. I fell into pace with Kristin S., and I knocked a few minutes off my time, completing the segment in 55:06, a 14:00 pace.

Leg 5: Ocean Pines

The day after running the Pemberton leg for the first time, a group of us headed to Ocean Pines for a new TDS addition. This was the segment I was most excited about, because while I have run a ton of places on Delmarva, I had not yet run in Ocean Pines. We also had post-run food to look forward to again, as Diana knew of a great bagel place, called A Bagel And…

The run started on a small dock on the South Gate Pond, and we ran both on neighborhood streets and on trails. I did not realize there were so many trails that ran through Ocean Pines. We started out with run-walk intervals, and then we walked the last four or so miles. Because we’d started out faster and the walk was fast for me, the total time for the 8.93-mile segment was 2:23:04, a 16:01/mile pace. I felt pretty good this day, because it was overcast. It rained some on our walk back from the bagel shop, but it wasn’t a problem during the run.

Wooded trail with trees surrounding it.
Here’s a view of one of the trails in Ocean Pines.

In addition to the different trail and water views, there were also different gnome setups to see near the pond. I enjoyed the different scenery and I’d be interested in running this route again for a long run. There’s also a doughnut shop I’d like to check out!

Leg 6: The Trail Mile

The day after running the Ocean Pines leg, I participated in a pride walk with a group of friends, and then we went to a drag show. After that, I decided to get myself to halfway through the Tour by completing The Trail Mile at WinterPlace Park, a new segment for 2022.

View of a wide trail cutting through the woods, with trees surrounding it.
I took this photo along the Trail Mile course (since I did this one for speed, I did a little walking to get photos afterward.)

Because it was such a short segment at 1.63 miles, I decided to go for speed, but I don’t think I really waited long enough after eating as I did not feel my best. However, I made it through and did get my fastest per-mile average of the Tour: 11:37/mile. My time was 19:02.

I’ve run at WinterPlace Park several times, and used to run 5Ks that were held here, but there was one part of the trail I had not seen before, off the fire road. This was the turn I missed the first time I tried to do this segment.

A group poses near the Naylor Mill Forest Trail sign.
There were mixed emotions after the Naylor Mill segment.

Leg 2: Naylor Mill – Extended Director’s Cut

The difficult trails of Naylor Mill made their third-straight appearance in the Tour de Salisbury, but this year, the segment was extended! A group of us met up at the trail Friday, July 15, at 5:30 p.m. I wanted to make sure I had a leader for these trails, as there are lots of turns, and it’s easy to get lost when they aren’t marked (like they are for a race). Richard said he’d lead me, and others jumped in on the opportunity, too.

I really struggled during this run, and had a lot of issues with coughing and not feeling great. Even at a pace that appears like it should be easy, it is still so difficult because of the roots and hills. I fell pretty early on, but I was fine. Thankfully, Richard kept coming back to lead me and help keep me on track.

At first, the segment didn’t load, but other friends had gotten it. Then, when I clicked on the segment on Strava later that night, a time appeared! I was so thankful to have gotten the segment. Since I wasn’t going for speed, and Trent was part of the run, I’m sure I could have submitted my map, but I really wanted the segment.

I finished this segment in a hard-fought 19:54/mile pace, completing the 4.24 miles in 1:24:30.

Three women posing for a photo with a trail and road in the background.
Rose, Diana and I pose for a photo after completing the Trap Pond segment.

Leg 10: Trap Pond Reinvented

The next morning, July 16, I headed to Diana’s house, from which she, Rose and I would go to Trap Pond State Park in Laurel. Trap Pond has also been part of the TDS before, but this year’s leg featured a different course and trails beyond the Bob Trail loop. Diana knew the course well, and I’ve run many miles with Diana at Trap. I was hoping to run this segment with her before she left for a trip, and I was able to.

Diana was a great guide, and we did run-walk intervals as we tackled the trails. I completed the 5.36-mile segment in 1:23:40, a 15:36/mile pace.

View of water with plants in the foreground.
Here’s a view from the Crisfield leg of the Tour de Salisbury.

Leg 4: Crisfield Reboot

The day after that — Sunday, July 17 — a group of us did a night run in Crisfield, starting a little after 6 p.m. I met up with Karla and C.A. in Fruitland to carpool, and we drove to Crisfield, where we met other friends. Crisfield had the same start point as last year’s route and nothing else. This year, the route took us through different residential areas and onto the City Dock, on the main strip, and by the hospital. We also went to Wellington Beach on the route, where we snapped photos. I’d been there before for the Mike Sterling 10K packet pickup.

Group of five people taking a selfie in front of a small beach at sunset.
We had to get a photo at Wellington Beach at sunset!

It was overcast on this evening, and I felt good. I enjoyed the route. Once again, I did run-walk intervals with friends, and I fell into a group with Diana, Rose, Jordan and C.A. We also got to see the sunset.

I finished the 10.12-mile segment in 2:38:57, a 15:42/mile pace.

Wild horses walk along the beach at sunrise.
It was awesome to see horses on the beach — at sunrise! — as soon as we got there!

Leg 12: Assateague

Assateague has been part of the Tour each year, and I returned for this year’s leg Saturday, July 23. I don’t love the sand running, but this course does offer beautiful views, and for the second year in a row, I made it to Assateague early enough for a sunrise start. (If you don’t know me personally, I am not a morning person.) I met up with a small group at the visitors center — Jeanelle, Karla and Flora — and we did run-walk intervals until we got to the beach.

The sand was really tough to run through (I didn’t check any tides or anything), so we ended up walking the whole beach section, which is about three miles. I really don’t think I would have been able to run much faster than a walk if I tried. I did wear my trail shoes, which really seemed to help last year. This year, I just felt like I was trudging through sand.

We saw a group of wild horses as soon as we got onto the beach, with the backdrop of a beautiful sunrise. It was definitely worth getting up early for.

After that, we headed back across the Verrazano Bridge and onto a trail. I finished the 6.99-mile segment in 2:10:18, an 18:37/mile pace.

View of a sunrise-colored sky above water.
Another sunrise? Public Landing was another early leg for me.

Leg 6: Public Landing

Because of extreme heat during this weekend, I suggested a sunrise run at Public Landing for the next day, Sunday, July 24. I had two takers — Karla and Rose — and we did run-walk intervals. This leg did not require much navigation, as it was just four roads. I’d run at Public Landing once before, but the run was shorter, and I think it just went on Bayside Road (which was my favorite road of the four).

This seemed to be the year of docks — this route also started and ended on a dock. There is an active Facebook group for the Tour, and I had seen there was a slide off the dock. I definitely wanted to take the slide into the water post-run, and I did. I was pleasantly surprised that the water was warm and comfortable. It felt great after a hot run. It was disappointing to get up so early and for it to still be so uncomfortably hot, but it probably would have felt even worse if we had waited till later. After I went home and took a shower, I took a nap.

I completed the 6.45-mile segment in 1:33:48, a 14:32/mile pace.

Various skeletons and other decorations in a front yard.
There are always interesting sites to see along the Tour de Salisbury. This was along The Salisburian route.

Leg 9: The Salisburian

I saved The Salisburian for last because after not completing it earlier on in the Tour, I wanted to stay flexible. Since this one is close to my house, I figured I could get it in on a weeknight or weekend. I had plans to run it Friday, July 29, but the weather looked bad, so we canceled. It turned out to not be much, but by that point, the decision had been made.

I met up with Ashley to run The Salisburian the morning of Saturday, July 30. It was still warm, but it felt much better than the previous weekend. This course involves lots of twists and turns, but I knew where I’d gone wrong last time, and I knew we did not have room for error, as this was the second-to-last day of the Tour. This course goes through the neighborhoods near North Salisbury Elementary and then through Newtown and the Downtown Salisbury area before heading back up to Deer’s Head and then back to the start.

Although it involves a lot of navigation, I like this course, and there’s a lot to see along the way.

I finished the 7.01-mile segment in 1:39:28, a 14:11/mile pace.

End of the Tour

With the finish line of The Salisburian, I’d completed my 2022 Tour — a total of 76.4 miles. After I re-logged my Pemberton run, my total time was 19:46:05. It took more time than the previous two years, but I didn’t run for speed, and I also only re-ran one leg, since I ran 10 of the 12 legs in July. I was happy to finish the Tour while also having time to rest my feet, and, as far as I know, not cause further damage to them.

Registration for this event comes with a T-shirt and a bib that allows participants to mark off the legs as they complete them. This year, color-changing sunglasses (powered by the sun) were also included with the swag. Finishers will receive a finisher ticket award.

Once again, I enjoyed this experience. It is always great to explore Delmarva on foot, and time with friends makes those hot miles more bearable. It’s also a motivator to get in some longer runs in the heat and humidity.

I also took video clips to make reels for most of the runs — I still have to do the one for the Salisburian, and I didn’t take any video during Naylor because of the terrain. If you’d like to see those, visit my Instagram: @vanessajunkin.

Vanessa Junkin stands in the road wearing a Tour de Salisbury T-shirt, sunglasses and shorts, and holding a checked off race bib.
Here I am wearing my Tour de Salisbury T-shirt and sunglasses, holding my completed bib.