Ready, Set, Run
The ninth annual Badwater Cape Fear race takes place on Bald Head Island and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area on March 18.
Nearly 200 runners will compete in the ninth annual Badwater Cape Fear ultramarathon on March 18. With 50km and 51.4-mile race options, the annual Badwater® Cape Fear ultramarathon features a 12-mile warm-up on the car-free, one-lane-wide roads and maritime forest trails of Bald Head Island, followed by either 19 or 38 miles of running on the wild and secluded sandy beach between Cape Fear and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area park headquarters in Kure Beach. Running this remote coast is a dramatic, invigorating and inspiring way to experience the Cape Fear region.
Race director Chris Kostman discovered Bald Head Island from the Nicholas Sparks movie Safe Haven in 2013 and fell in love with Southport, Bald Head Island, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, and the whole Cape Fear area.
Since the first Cape Fear Badwater race in 2014 and including this year’s roster, 1,290 runners from 23 countries and 44 American states and territories have or will have competed in Badwater Cape Fear. From 2014 to 2022, 973 unique individuals have entered, with 950 of them finishing. Counting multi-race finishers, 1,100 runners have finished officially: 331 women and 769 men.
Two runners, Bob Becker, age 77 of Florida, and Gerald Tabios, age 53 of New York, have finished all eight previous races. One runner has seven finishes, three runners have six finishes, and four runners have five finishes. Within the five-time finisher group, local runner Suzanne Tulsey of Oak Island has won the 50km race four times and the 51.4-mile race once.
Nationalities represented on the Badwater Cape Fear start line since 2014 are Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Venezuela and the USA.
The official charity of Badwater Cape Fear is the Bald Head Island Conservancy, a leader in barrier island conservation, preservation and education.
Race participants and supporters appreciate that BHIC cares for this race route’s pristine setting and its role as a sea turtle nesting site, and are encouraged to fundraise for Bald Head Island Conservancy and support its mission Since 2014 AdventureCORPS, which stages the Badwater races, has made or facilitated more than $125,000 in donations to the Bald Head Island Conservancy.
Sponsors and local partners include Village of Bald Head Island, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks, and Maritime Market, along with Joe Nimble Shoes and Hewn Spirits.