Flat roads, scenic trails and water access are all attributes that make Wicomico County, Maryland, a great place to host endurance events.
“Wicomico County is an ideal location for all types of endurance events,” said Cole Lacey, assistant tourism manager for Wicomico County. “Participants are sure to enjoy the area’s beautiful scenery, and organizers will appreciate the different venue choices, various options for packet pickup locations and free parking.”
Wicomico County is home to numerous parks, and several of them – Pemberton Park, Cedar Hill Marina and Park, the Salisbury City Park, WinterPlace Park and the Naylor Mill Forest Trail – have played host to races. From the crushed stone path of the Salisbury City Park to the hills and single-track of the Naylor Mill Forest Trail, these courses offer various levels of difficulty.
Wicomico County is also a convenient location, located perfectly between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. It’s less than a three-and-a-half-hour drive for 25 percent of the U.S. population and within two and a half hours of Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.
Both Routes 13 and 50 lead into Wicomico County, and the County is also home to the Salisbury Regional Airport, which offers American Airlines flights.
Spring and fall in this region typically bring great temperatures for endurance events. Average highs in March through May in the Salisbury area are about 58, 69 and 77 degrees, with average lows of about 37, 46, and 55 degrees, respectively, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In September through November, average highs are about 81, 71 and 60 degrees, with average lows for those months coming in at about 62, 50 and 40 degrees, respectively, according to NOAA data.
The region is also home to running, cycling and triathlon clubs.
One of the longest-running endurance events in the region is the Sea Gull Century, a bike ride that begins and ends at Salisbury University. This tradition has been bringing cyclists to Wicomico County for more than 30 years. The courses traverse the scenic Lower Shore region in October, and cyclists can choose between 100 miles or 100 kilometers (62 miles).
A newer event that has had early success is RunSBY Events, which was first held in 2018 and includes the Salisbury Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K. In 2022, runners from more than 30 states traveled to Wicomico County to take part in the event, which features flat courses that take runners through rural areas of Wicomico County, along the waterfront and into the Downtown Salisbury area.
The certified course with minimal elevation change makes it a great option for runners looking to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
For those who want to do both running and cycling – plus swimming – there’s the Nanticoke River Multisport Festival at Cedar Hill Marina and Park in May. The Nanticoke River Multisport Festival is the first race of the Eastern Shore Triathlon Series and features a sprint triathlon, along with duathlon and aquabike events. Cedar Hill Park, which is in Bivalve, offers water access to the Nanticoke River and plenty of room for the transition area.
New, creative events have been added in the past several years.
The Pemberton 24, which features a format in which participants can complete up to 24 5Ks in 24 hours, will return to Pemberton Park for its fourth year in September 2022. Each 5K is a loop on the park’s wooded trails, and participants set up tents to camp out in. The event sold out in less than 48 hours.
New for 2022 will be the River Races in Downtown Salisbury, which features kayak, paddleboard and cardboard boat competitions.
Each of these events offers plenty of free parking. Local restaurants often serve as a packet pickup location for races. This year, the RunSBY Events offered packet pickup at the Wicomico Civic Center, which has plenty of space for a race expo.
Participants and their families can enjoy restaurants, the free Salisbury Zoo, the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, historical sites and more. Wicomico County is also located near Ocean City and Assateague Island. There are plenty of lodging options, from hotels to bed and breakfasts and campgrounds.
“We would love to welcome your event to Wicomico County,” Lacey said. “Come visit and see why this is an excellent place to host your next race, ride or event.”