Ultra-Runners Descending on BHI
The Badwater® Cape Fear ultra-running experience returns to Bald Head Island on Saturday, October 2.
With 50km and 51-mile race options and a start line at the foot of the Old Baldy lighthouse, Badwater® Cape Fear 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. The beach stretch features spectacular views of the Frying Pan Shoals to the east and the wild and undeveloped marshlands to the west. Running this remote coast is a dramatic, invigorating and inspiring manner in which to experience Bald Head Island, Fort Fisher State Recreation and the Cape Fear region in all its grandeur!
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. Reflecting on the island and on Badwater® Cape Fear, he states, “It’s a really interesting and unusual place which allows us to host an extraordinarily beautiful and challenging Badwater race.”
He further notes, “The exquisite natural setting is the perfect antidote to the ‘real world’ and a wonderful counterpart to the desert sands and mountains of Death Valley and the Anza-Borrego Desert featured in our two West Coast Badwater® races.”
In 2014, 80 runners from 17 states plus runners representing Canada, Philippines and United Kingdom, ranging in age from 20 to 72, competed in the local Badwater race, and the race was held yearly until 2019. After an 18-month hiatus due to the pandemic, the 2021 race will feature approximately 150 runners. This includes runners representing Armenia, Canada, Dominican Republic, India, Ireland, Norway, Philippines United Kingdom, plus runners from 23 American states, districts and territories. This year there are 39 women and 110 men, 121 rookies and 27 race veterans. The age range is 21 to 76.
The Official Charity of Badwater® Cape Fear is the Bald Head Island Conservancy (BHIC), 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 BHIC and support its mission. Learn more at http://www.bhic.org
AdventureCORPS has averaged about $20,000 per year in donations to the Bald Head Island Conservancy. As Chris Kostman, Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director, says: “We love Bald Head Island and we love working with the Conservancy and supporting the important work they do both on and off the island!”
Local sponsors and partners include Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks. The finish line feast and the post-race breakfast will be catered by Maritime Market. The Hampton Inn and Marriott Fairfield in Southport support the race and extend special rates. The event is being hosted under special permits from the Village of Bald Head Island, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management.
Badwater® Cape Fear is a member of the Badwater® Ultra Cup, which includes Badwater® Cape Fear, the 81-mile Badwater® Salton Sea in Borrego Springs, CA, and the Badwater® 135 from California’s Death Valley to Mt. Whitney held each July. Those runners who complete all three full-distance events in the same calendar year are featured on the Badwater® website and their virtues are extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER® Magazine.
Want to know more?
Official Event Webpage: badwater.com/event/badwater-cape-fear/
Official Race Magazine: https://www.badwater.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021JulyBadwaterMagazine.pdf