Activities for your visit

Runners to descend on Ocracoke for ‘Run Fest Weekend’

To catch up on Ocracoke news, click here 

By Connie Leinbach

Angie Todd hopes 500 runners will descend on Ocracoke for this year’s 5K/10K/half-marathon next weekend April 28 and 29.

This year marks the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard’s demise at the hand of Lt. Robert Maynard and the races has been thusly named: “The Scallywag” for the 5K/10K, and “Blackbeard’s Half-marathon.”

These certified races for both children and adults are a fundraiser for the Ocracoke School Athletic Booster Club, Ocracoke Community Park and community radio WOVV 90.1 FM, which began the race in 2012, the brainchild of Greg Honeycutt, a WOVV board member.

The 5K and 10K races on Saturday will begin at 8 a.m., followed by the Ocracoke Coffee Company One-mile Family Fun Run at 10 a.m., starting at Ocracoke Child Care building.  The half-marathon starts at 7 a.m. on Sunday at Gaffer’s.  

Registration for the races ends at 5 p.m. April 26. Visit www.runocracoke.com.   Same-day registration will be available for the 5K/10K and Family Fun Run, but not for the half marathon.  As of Sunday, 466 runners already signed up with 104 in the half-marathon.

Race Director Angie Todd greets runners at the finish line outside Gaffer’s. Photo: C. Leinbach

The big races begin and end at Gaffer’s, and the beer sponsor this year is 1718 Brewing Ocracoke, the island’s craft brewery that opened last fall.

This year’s T-shirt honors the 300th anniversary Blackbeard-Maynard skirmish off Springer’s Point with a design created by Angie’s sister.

“I only just learned about this side of her,” Angie explained. During a visit to her hometown, Conway, Arkansas, her sister, Sarah Strickland, unveiled this artistic side. So, Strickland created a design.

T-shirts were guaranteed for runners who signed up by April 10. In a new twist this year, those wishing to support the cause can sign up as “virtual runners.”

The half-marathon route on Sunday will change this year so that the “boring” part–the straight-away from Howard’s Pub to the NPS campground and back–will be at the beginning. Besides the monotony of that section, which is tougher, tiring runners near the end, this section can also be the windiest–a runner’s bane.

“On any given day the wind is a challenge to runners,” Angie said. “In my experience, going against the wind is worse than hills.”

Fortunately for runners, Ocracoke is virtually hill-free in both the straight-away and in the rest of the route that entwines through the village. 

Along the way, WOVV will have some music stations—to help spur the half-marathoners on.

In addition to the best-time awards in various age categories, medals are awarded to all who cross the finish line.

To give some props to the other side of the Blackbeard craze, the race offers a “Lt. Maynard’s Challenge” for those who run either the 5K or 10K and also the half-marathon. Those competitors will receive special souvenirs.

A fitness aficionado, Angie owns the island’s Angie’s gym, which has a variety of fitness classes and exercise equipment. She also is a wife and mother, a member of the Hyde County Schools Board of Education, has a full-time job, directs the “run fest” and trains for marathon road races, which she prefers over shorter runs.

“I love it so much,” she said about running. “There’s nothing like the running community.”

Runners competing in 2017. Photo: P. Vankevich

This year, Angie was among 30,000 plus runners who traversed 26.2 miles in the Boston Marathon on April 16.

Angie is enjoying directing this family-friendly weekend island event.

“We capture the people for a limited time and then they’re free to do whatever they want on the island,” said. “And all the profits go to local organizations.”

To read last year’s story on the race weekend, click here.