Head for the mills! Millsboro celebrates 30th Dam Mill 5k

In Millsboro, running is an age-old exercise that has reached an ripe old age, with the Dam Mill 5K set to shoot out of Cupola Park for the 30th year on Saturday, Aug. 3.

The name of the event hearkens back to Millsboro’s technological past, for the dam built in the Indian River in 1792 and the saw and grist mills so important to commerce. The race originally accompanied the Big Thursday weekend celebration, but separated and kept going, even when the festival faltered briefly.

“It’s a pretty big event for us, because we don’t normally hit 30,” said race director Tim Bamforth. “It’d be nice for people to come cheer on the event.”

The race will begin, rain or shine, at 7:30 a.m. at Cupola Park, where people may also park their cars. The 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course is primarily on State Street, one block from Millsboro Pond. People may run or walk the course.

The Dam Mill 5K is hosted by the nonprofit Seashore Striders race organization, based in Sussex County.

“We try to make donations to local charities and try to change it up every year. We look for someone in need,” Bamforth said.

Donations have benefitted everything from local children with cancer to Chambers of Commerce.

The race has special significance as such a well-established event. On its 20th anniversary in 2003, the Dam Mill 5K Hall of Fame was established to recognize people who contributed to the race’s history. The first inductees were event founders Gary Brittingham, Graham Living and Donna Rogers. Longtime runners, directors and supporters of the race (including the Millsboro Police Department) have also joined the ranks of those honored.

After crossing the finish line on Saturday, racers can cool down with post-race refreshments, much of which are donated. The Striders also hope to have a band entertaining the crowd after the event.

Runners and their supporters can also stick around for the Dam Mill 5K awards ceremony, during which awards will be presented to the overall and master male and female champions, as well as the top three finishers in 16 age groups (male and female).

The event also includes a Clydesdale/Filly division, in which male participants must weigh at least 200 pounds and women must weigh at least 150 pounds. (Race organizers will use an “honor system” for the weights, unless a challenge is made.) On race day, runners must inform staff that they’re “Clydesdale runners,” or they may automatically be placed in the “age group” category. There will be no duplication of awards, so people may run either within the age group or as a Clydesdale/Filly, but not in both groupings.

“In the running world, [the Clydesdale division] has been created for those competitors that may weigh 220 and really run well but could never compete against [someone smaller],” Bamforth explained.

The event is a TAC Certified Course and a qualifier in the Seashore Striders Championship Series. Timing and the finish line are being provided by Seashore Striders and Masser Systems. Championship series results are displayed at each event, courtesy of Masser Systems Inc.

Water stops are available at the start/finish line and throughout the course.

Online registration was to close Thursday night, but runners can also register on race day from 6:30 to 7:25 a.m. They can bring $25 cash or write a check to Seashore Striders at Seashore Striders/Dam Mill 5K.

For more information and race results, visit www.seashorestriders.com.