Two-time Runner-Up Marco Capelli
Finally Wins Delaware Marathon

(Courtesy of the Wilmington News Journal)

WILMINGTON, DE--The sound of the 1970s hit “Saturday in the Park” blaring from speakers in Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park, filled the air early on May 17, 2009. For those about to take part in the sixth annual Christiana Care Health System Delaware Marathon Running Festival, it was appropriate. As the lyrics stated, “they had waited such a long time for today,” considering the months and many hours of training the 1,900-plus competitors had put in.

Less than three hours later, no one felt that way more than Marco Capelli, a 36-year-old from Collegeville, PA, who’d been a two-time runner-up in the Delaware Marathon. Capelli, who had never been a regular runner until moving to the U.S. from Italy in 2002, took charge 10 miles into the race, in of all places, the Little Italy section of Wilmington.

From there, he cruised to victory in 2 hours, 40 minutes, 13 seconds over a new two-loop course that went through Downtown Wilmington, along scenic Brandywine Park, and into several residential areas of the city and back. Along tree-lined Bancroft Parkway, race organizers had placed placards in pastel colors with the names of the marathoners and a variety of welcoming messages.

“Today was a good day for me,” said Capelli, who was running the Delaware Marathon for the fourth time and was second in 2006 and 2007. “I took a rest this week and I was very relaxed. I tried my best to run my pace. I said I would continue to run Delaware until I won, so now I can stop. But I think I will be back.”

The revamped course, hillier than the previous four-loop course in the Riverfront area, benefited Capelli, he said, because he is built more for power than for speed. Capelli, who moved from Naples, Italy for professional reasons, lives and trains in the rolling hills near Valley Forge National Historic Park.

Eric Makovsky, who finished second for the second straight year, agreed. “Marco had a great run. Real strong,” said Makovsky who lives and trains in Washington, D.C. “Right in the middle of Little Italy, he began to pull away. I figured I pretty much had second at that point. I was keeping up with him fine until then.”

Wilmington Tatnall School graduate Sarah Milby, 24, was the women’s champion and 11th overall. She finished in 3:05:17. “I didn’t expect to win” said Milby who was running only her fourth marathon. Her father, Randy, also ran in the marathon and finished in 3:31:26. “It felt great out there, ” Milby said. “The crowd was great. The weather was perfect. It was just an awesome experience for me.”


Cool weather and light rain greeted the runners. The steady drizzle during the first 45 minutes of the race was replaced by grey overcast skies and some wind, but few complained. The new course was largely applauded, despite its more challenging nature, for the expanded tour of the city. Race Director Wayne Kursh commented, “We received permission to run in some new neighborhoods today; areas of Wilmington we have never before run in my 30 years of directing races. I know the runners loved it. They can’t wait to come back”

The half-marathon winners were Wylie Belasik, 25, of Philadelphia in 1:13:22 and 17-year-old Natalie DiGregorio from Bear, Delaware in 1:34:38. The initial Delaware Half-Marathon drew 650 competitors from 23 states while the marathon drew 650 participants from 34 States, India, and Canada. There were also 170 four-person relay teams in the event, including many running groups who competed in their “Create Your Own Team Relay” categories. The Delaware Relay Marathon winning team, the New Balance Delaware Racing Team of Patrick Boettcher, Michael LoSapio, Jeff Strojny, and Dan Suher, burned up the new course and set a new event record in 2:26:55. Relay legs were 6.55 miles each and the relay transition area behind the stage at the start/finish area created a festive atmosphere.

Marathon winners received distinctive runner bobble-head awards while all the runners received a multi-color New Balance technical shirt. Finishers' medals were given in the half- and the full marathon. The postrace meal, featuring fresh, hot Grotto Pizza, Bachetti Bros sandwiches, Herr Snack Foods, HyPoint ice cream sandwiches, Del Monte bananas, Canada Dry soda, Philly Pretzel Factory soft pretzels, and Michelob Ultra, was warmly received. $2750 in prize money was given away; including the unique $25 home-state cash awards for setting an event record from a participant’s home state.

The 2010 Delaware Marathon Running Festival will be held Sunday, May 16, 2010. Complete results and 2010 entry forms will be available at