The 2018 Outer Banks Marathon Weekend—Family, Fitness and Fun
The weather for the 13th Annual Outer Banks Marathon was as close to perfect for long distance running as we have seen on the Outer Banks. Temperatures at the starting line in Kitty Hawk hovered around 45. Even with bright sunshine, a light breeze from the north held temperatures down throughout the race.
That sunshine was a far cry from the 2006 inaugural marathon, where overcast skies spit rain all day as a nor’easter formed offshore.
That first Outer Banks Marathon attracted over 1500 runners, more than run the marathon today, but the over the years what was once a single 26.2 mile race has evolved into a weekend celebrating family, fitness and running.
Sunday is still set aside for the signature event, which is certainly the marathon, but that marquee race has been joined by the Southern Fried Half Marathon, and between the two races there are more runners than ever coming to the Outer Banks.
The Marathon route offers runners a beautiful tour of the Outer Banks, beginning in Kitty Hawk beneath the dense foliage of Kitty Hawk Woods. After leaving Kitty Hawk Woods, the route parallels Kitty Hawk Bay, eventually coming to the Wright Brothers Monument before entering the hard-packed dirt roads of Nags Head Woods.
Although it is mostly level, there are challenges, including some surprising hills in Nags Head Woods. And then there is the Washington Baum Bridge. With it’s 82’ height and 4% grade coming at mile 23 of the Marathon, the bridge is a bit of a heartbreaker for many runners.
The winning time this year was posted by Bryan Morseman from Bath, NY, running the course in 2:26:36—that’s an average pace of 5:35 per mile. Morseman seemed to lead from start to finish, his time 26 minutes better than the second place finisher.
We did have an Outer Banks runner in the top three this year—Dillon Pope from Kill Devil Hills came in third at 2:53:57.
Carolina Designs has our own champion runner—Broker Gray Berryman finished the Half Marathon in 1:27:25—that’s a 6:40 mile pace, good enough for 14th overall and second in his age group. Go Gray!
What makes the weekend so special, though, is how it focuses on family, fitness and running. The family connection was very apparent at the finish line in Manteo on Sunday as runners gathered with husbands, wives and children to celebrate a winning time or just finishing.
Saturday, however, is the day that is given over to family, the day filled with races designed for younger, less experienced runners. With activities centered around the First Flight High School track in Kill Devil Hills, there seems to be a race for almost every level.
There is a diaper dash—two of them—and a one mile fun run, which are not timed races.
The 5K and 8K are timed and they always seem to attract a good number of younger runners. Good young runners, too…the 5K was won this year by 14 year old Warner Campbell from Southern Shores in 18 minutes.
The original concept behind the first Outer Banks Marathon was two-fold—to bring people to the Outer Banks at a time of the year when visitation is lacking, and as a way to help fund the Dare County Education Foundation (DEF).
Now organized and maintained by the Outer Banks Sporting Events (OBSE), the Marathon has been remarkably successful in both areas.
Over 2900 runners of all ages participated in Outer Banks Marathon Weekend events, and they came from an extraordinary range of places. The majority of participants were from North Carolina, with very strong local representation, and Virginia. That’s expected since those are the primary markets for the Outer Banks. But what is surprising is how many people traveled a fair distance to be a part of the event; they came from California, Texas, Illinois and quite a number of other states as well.
The races that the OBSE sponsors—the Outer Banks Marathon, the Running of the Leprechaun, the Flying Pirate Half Marathon, Storm the Beach and Outer Banks Tri— continue to be one of the primary sources of funding for the DEF and as well as the Outer Banks Relief Foundation.
The Outer Banks Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifying race.