Professional ultramarathoner Michael Wardian is running length of Delaware
With most major races wiped off the calendar, professional ultramarathon runner Michael Wardian was asked to run 96 miles — the length of Delaware — over the course of a month as part of a virtual charity event.
"I was like, 'It's 96 miles, I'll just do it in one day,'" Wardian said.
So around 1 p.m. on Thursday, Wardian started a run on Concord Pike at the Delaware and Pennsylvania border that will finish on Fenwick Island. He is being accompanied by Nick Cruz, a Milford resident, who after hearing about the attempt decided to try it himself.
The route they will take is roughly 130 miles, substantially longer than Delaware's end-to-end length of 96 miles. By zig-zagging through the state, Wardian and his crew lead Phil Hargis hope to avoid as many dangerous stretches of highway as possible.
From North Wilmington, they'll cross through the city to get on the Jack Markell trail, eventually passing through Delaware City before running a portion of the Mike Castle trail along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. From there, the planned route wraps around Middletown and cuts through the center of Dover before ending with a long stretch on Coastal Highway through the beach towns.
Wardian expects the run to take between 24 and 30 hours.
"I just think it's a cool route," Wardian said. "It's not as straight as you can go because I wanted to finish at the beach, because I just thought it would be cooler than finishing in like Selbyville."
In a typical year, Wardian travels from his Arlington, Virginia, home around the globe, competing for the shoe company Hoka One One in ultramarathons – races beyond 26.2 miles. By day, he is an international ship broker.
With his racing calendar clear because of the coronavirus, Wardian has turned his attention to virtual races and FKT attempts – fastest known times across certain routes.
In April, Wardian ran 262.5 miles over 2.5 days to win a virual event called the Quarantine Backyard Ultra. He's already competed about 30 times this year and has dozens of first place finishes and world records on his career resume.
It's unclear exactly what the standard is for the fastest time across Delaware. When Wardian posted about his Delaware run on Instagram, someone replied that a runner named Scott Newcomer ran the length of the state recently in 34 hours.
Fastestknowntime.com, which is the closest thing to an official record, doesn't yet list an end-to-end Delaware run.
Wardian is a frequent visitor to the Delaware beaches with his wife, Jennifer, and sons, Pierce and Grant, and expects to close on a property in Rehoboth Beach in August. He said the run will be a "very cool introduction" to the state.
"I really love the running community of Delaware too," Wardian said. "It's not often someone is like, 'Yeah, I'm willing to run 130 miles.'"
posted Saturday July 4th