FKT: Jacob Landon - White Clay Perimeter - 2023-04-28

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
4h 57m 27s

The White Clay perimeter is a route that I have run previously and have seen others on Strava run. On my first run in 2018, I did not follow the true perimeter - so this year (2023) I decided to formalize the route and run the perimeter as closely as possible. This sometimes meant taking lesser used trails and paved trails where the alternative is more interesting, but a perimeter is a perimeter.

Supplies used: Water pack with Tailwind, and 9 Honey Stinger gummies.

Support: None. I did not resupply anywhere nor run with / receive support from anyone.

Weather: 55ish degrees, cloudy with some showers in the final 2 hours.


I started my run at 7:22AM at the Newark Reservoir parking lot next to a rock, so I could have a clear start / stop point. My goal was to average under 9:00/mile, as I did on my 2018 run. I was expecting rain to start at 2PM, so I figured and hoped I'd have a dry run. Knowing how little rain we've had recently, I expected the trails to be dry the whole way.

The first 2.5 miles were flat and mostly paved, so I was able to run high 7s - not comfortably though. Then, I approached the first major hill around mile 2.5, the hardest hill on the route with 180 feet of climb and some steep grades of around 30%. Knowing it was foolish, I decided to run the whole hill and take (my only) pee break at the top. The next few miles were rolling cross country style running on grass and dirt double track trails, and I still wasn't feeling great. This was the lowest point on my run mentally.

6 miles in, I reached the Tri-State Trail, a rolling and smooth non-technical single-track trail. Here is where my mind and body finally began to work with me. I was able to comfortably push the downhills while remaining cautious about pacing on the uphills. It felt like just a matter of not pushing too hard too early. The route was quite flat near the creek from that point until 11.5 miles in, where the hills began to increase in number and intensity. Again, cautious pacing on the uphills and technical sections made this section go by easily.

15 miles in, as I expected, the bridge across the White Clay Creek to access the Charles Bailey Trail was still closed off due to tree damage from last year - so I climbed over the barriers to get across. I am sure the creek is crossable there, but I didn't want to risk it. The next few miles from there to about 20.5 miles was rolling single-track trail with long gradual uphills - I ran this section cautiously but somewhat hard, knowing that the next 6 miles were mostly downhill. My spirits were good.

Miles 20.5-27 were all smooth downhill with only a few short climbs - I was able to take the pace a bit harder (under 8:00) through there, but I was worried that it was too fast and that I would die out in the last few miles. Around here is where I was when the long-anticipated rainstorm began - it wasn't raining long enough to muddy the trails, but the rain gave me a much-needed shower to cool me down. Climbing out of the Judge Morris area, I knew the next 6 miles (27-33) would be a series of gradual uphills on mountain bike trails, so I purposely slowed down a bit to avoid a bonk. I am very glad I did so because I did not bonk at all AND I felt like I couldn't have pushed a bit harder.

The 2.5 downhill miles to the finish felt smooth. I was doing mental math to calculate if I had it in me to break 5 hours - the numbers seemed to be in my favor if I could run sub 9:00 the rest of the way, and I knew I had that in me. On the last paved downhill to the reservoir lot, I felt so happy to be done. There is no better feeling for me than the feeling right before and right after a strong finish.

Overall, I am super happy with this run, and I think it showcases exactly the type of running I do best - cross country style, non-technical, but also with terrain variety, for a few hours.


I sincerely hope that someone attempts to break my record; this is such an awesome route. It truly showcases some of the best parks and trails Delaware has to offer.