I paced a successful 2:45 finish at the Rehoboth Seashore Half Marathon

Vanessa Junkin smiling while running with a neon yellow Beast Pacing shirt and holding a sign, with other runners nearby.
I always love my pacing race photos, because I’m able to smile and not look like I’m dying! The photos were free, too.

Disclaimer: I promoted the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon and Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Ambassador. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Ambassador, and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Last Friday, I headed to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, with my friend Veronica for one of my favorite race weekends of the year — the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon and Half Marathon. This was my ninth time participating in the event and my fifth year pacing the half.

Although I love the race course, the best part of this race is really the community. The race is known for its amazing after-party, with three beers, Fireball, plenty of real food, dancing and fun. It’s also well-organized.

The morning of the race, I had to meet up with the pacing team at 6 a.m., before the 7 a.m. start. I made my way to the bandstand and although race day was Dec. 3, I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.

A group of runners, including two runners taking a selfie, with a beautiful sunrise in the background.
There was a beautiful sunrise on race morning!

I do run hot, but it was in the 50s — although it was windy. After picking up my 2:45 pace sign, getting a group photo and chatting with a runner who hoped to run with the 3:00 pace group for the half, I headed back to the hotel to do a few last-minute things, and then headed back to get in the starting corral. Veronica and I stayed at the Hotel Rehoboth and also stayed after the race, so we got to fully partake in the after-party and also got some good food and drinks later on.

I was able to see a few of my Eastern Shore Running Club friends before we started the race, along with Alan from the Kent Island Running Group, and I was also greeted by a runner who said she started following me last year, Amy. This is always something that makes my day — when someone who follows me on the blog or social media introduces themselves. So, if you’re reading this, feel free to find me at the next race!

My plan for pacing is always to keep up a consistent run pace and walk the water stops. While I enjoy run-walk intervals, I do the consistent run for pacing, though runners who are using intervals can go back and forth with me.

Vanessa Junkin smiles as she paces, wearing a neon yellow shirt and dark shorts, with other runners surrounding her.
Here I am smiling as I pace runners on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk (with Emily nearby!)

The pace for a 2:45 finish is 12:35/mile, and I wore a pace band with the cumulative times I should get to each mile, which I referred to often. However, as every runner knows, it is rare to end up with precisely 13.1 miles on your watch. I actually ended up with 13.23, so my average pace on my watch was 12:25. I lined up my pace band time with the mile marker, even if, for example, I got to Mile 10 when it said 10.1 on my watch.

I felt great as I ran, and I enjoyed interacting with the runners around me and cheering them on. Along the way, I saw a woman who was running her Delaware marathon to finish out the 50 states. The marathoners and half marathoners were together until about Mile 4.5. There, by the entrance to the Gordons Pond trail, the half marathoners turned around and the marathoners continued on.

The race course changed last year, and this year’s course was the same as last year’s. The first couple miles include residential streets, and then there’s a portion on the boardwalk and a run up the road to Cape Henlopen State Park and Gordon’s Pond. We then turned around and made our way through more residential streets.

Vanessa Junkin stops and checks her watch after crossing the finish line.
Of course, I had to stop and look at my watch after crossing the finish line.

Around the halfway point, there was someone out with a sign that said something like “you’re halfway there,” with Jon Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” playing (“Whoa, we’re halfway there”), which was fun.

I got to see many friends on Ocean Drive/Dune Way, which led to Gordon’s Pond, but one of them, Allison, was too fast for that. I got to see her after leaving the Grove Park water stop, as I headed toward the Mile 7 marker and she headed toward the finish line.

After the Grove Park water stop, we kept going on the street and went onto the Junction & Breakwater Trail, another out-and-back. It was during this out-and-back that some of the fastest marathoners passed me, including Mike Wardian, a well-known ultrarunner who also took the pacers’ photo that morning.

I had done a 10-mile run at my pacing pace the week before to practice, and I’ve been running a lot, but I was happy to feel so good during this run. I’ve been feeling great on my runs since getting my coughing issue figured out, and I also haven’t been having much foot pain.

Selfie of Vanessa Junkin smiling with 2:45 pace sign and text that reads "13.21 mi distance," "2:44:25 time" and "12:25/mi pace."
Here I am posing for a photo after meeting my pacing time goal at the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon.
Two female runners pose for a post-race photo.
Here I am with fellow BibRave Pro Charline after we finished the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon.

I had a cushion of maybe 20 or 30 seconds for most of the race; sometimes it was a little different when I hit each mile marker. This was intentional, as the 2:45 pacer is allowed to come in between 2:44:00-2:45:00, but not 2:45:01. So, I wanted to not go too fast but also not be stressed out at the end. This was one of the times I’ve felt the least stressed at the finish.

One runner who was with me for most of the race had forgotten her watch, and I was happy to be able to pace her (and everyone else nearby) with pretty even splits.

There was some wind and rain, but the wind had seemed a little worse when I went to get my pacer sign than it did during the race, and it didn’t faze me, as it was nothing like the wind I endured during the Atlantic City Marathon at the end of October. The rain did pick up around the time I finished (I had to stand near the finish to wait for the 3:00 pacer to come in so I could give him the signs, and there was a decent amount of rain). So, I definitely think the marathoners had a tougher-weather day out there, since some of them were out there twice as long as I was (or more).

I was happy to finish the race in 2:44:21, right within my pacing guidelines. After handing off the pacer signs, I next headed to the food tent, where I got waffle sticks, mac and cheese, meatballs, cole slaw and bacon. Right outside the food tent, I got to meet fellow BibRave Pro Charline for the first time, which was fun! She ran a new personal record.

After that, I went to the party tent, in which runners could get three Dogfish Head beers. There were also Fireball shots and lots of dancing. This race is always a fun time, and 2022 did not disappoint.

Feeling so good had me wanting to race a half marathon. My next half will probably be the Salisbury Half Marathon on April 1, so stay tuned!


Mile 1: 12:06
Mile 2: 12:25
Mile 3: 12:38
Mile 4: 12:08
Mile 5: 12:21
Mile 6: 12:15
Mile 7: 12:43
Mile 8: 12:44
Mile 9: 12:01
Mile 10: 12:52
Mile 11: 12:17
Mile 12: 12:43
Mile 13: 12:20
Last part (.23 on watch): 2:45 (11:47 pace)

Finish Time: 2:44:21 / 12:33 pace
Time on watch: 2:44:24.9 / 12:25 pace

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