Badwater Cape Fear Ultramarathon Returns to Bald Head Island

Announcement from American Trail Running Association member AdventureCORPS.

The BADWATER® ultra running experience returns to the East Coast when the seventh BADWATER CAPE FEAR race takes place on Bald Head Island, North Carolina on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

With 50km and 51-mile race options and a start line at the foot of the Old Baldy lighthouse, Badwater® Cape Fear features a twelve-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!” (Badwater Salton Sea and Badwater 135.)

Bald Head Island and nearby Southport, NC are ideal vacation get-away spots for the entire family, located less than one hour from Wilmington, NC and its airport with American, United, and Delta service. Flying into Myrtle Beach, SC is another convenient option. Due to the remarkable beauty and quaint southern charm of this area, as well as this impeccable, authentic BADWATER race experience, many Badwater Cape Fear participants are now making this race an annual pilgrimage!

For the 2021 event 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, 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.

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.


2021 Badwater Cape Fear Race Results (available Sunday, October 3):

2021 Badwater Cape Fear athlete registration list:

2021 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast Page (which will include links to results, image galleries, and more after the race):

Image Galleries:

Badwater Cape Fear is on Instagram as @BadwaterHQ as well as Hashtags #BadwaterCapeFear and #BadwaterCF for all social media

Official Event Webpage:

2014 Badwater Cape Fear, 50km and 51mi ultra running race on Bald Head Island, NC from AdventureCORPS® & Badwater® on Vimeo.

AdventureCORPS®, Inc. is an athlete-run firm producing and promoting adventure travel, unique sports events, and BADWATER®, the world’s toughest brand and the world’s toughest races. AdventureCORPS’ world-class events for athlete-adventurers include epic races such as the BADWATER® 135, BADWATER® SALTON SEA, BADWATER® CAPE FEAR, ARTSAKH ULTRA, and other events. Our products include Badwater® Apparel, Badwater® Skin Care, Badwater® Gear, Badwater® Drinks, as well as other lifestyle items and services. Founded in 1984 by Chris Kostman, this group effort is dedicated to exploring the inner and outer universes, seeking adventure, energy, and insight both in daily life and “out there.”

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