Marathons in the Southern NC Beaches
Further south of the Outer Banks lies Wilmington, North Carolina, which of course also has its fair share of runs. The most notable of these, is the PPD Beach 2 Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon and Half Iron Distance Triathlon. This triathlon is an officially-sanctioned USA Triathlon, with Triathlete Magazine naming it one of the world's top 5 iron distance triathlons.
An iron distance triathlon is nothing to scoff at, as can easily be proven by looking at the 17-hour cutoff. An iron distance triathlon starts with a 2.4 mile swim, which transitions into a 112 mile bike ride, and ends with a 26.2 mile run. They usually start at 7 AM so that the cutoff lines up perfectly with midnight, something that the Beach2Battleship Triathlon also does.
In addition to being a highly-ranked triathlon, the Beach2Battleship also takes you through beautiful downtown downtown Wilmington. The 2.4 mile swim is through a channel connected to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. This means that while it's still saltwater, it does not take place in the ocean, making it slightly easier. The water temperature usually hovers at around 70 degrees, meaning that swimmers might want to wear wetsuits.
The 112 mile bike course goes through Wrightsville Beach, northern Wilmington and around White Lake. While this may seem like an incredibly long bike ride, the people putting on this triathlon know how to improve the experience for the participants. This course is totally flat except for one elevation change towards the end of the course when the bikers cross a bridge by the Battleship North Carolina. In addition to the course being relatively flat, aid stations are positioned every 15 miles to provide the refreshments necessary for the participants.
The quality of this race doesn't come cheap. The PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon will cost between $390 and $475 for a single participant depending on how far away from the event you register. However, the quality of the event and the fact that the proceeds go to the Wilmington Family YMCA makes the price well worth it for a chance to compete in one of the best triathlons in America.
Certainly, very few people are able to participate in an iron distance triathlon; for everyone else, that's just too far of a distance. Not wanting to leave anyone out in the cold, the Coastal North Carolina region also has a myriad of events for them, including the Crystal Coast Half Marathon.
The Crystal Coast Half Marathon is a total of 13.1 miles long. The route starts on the waterfront in Morehead City and goes through Downtown Morehead City. After going through the downtown area, the course leads the runners across the Causeway Bridge to Atlantic Beach. Following this, the runners go towards Fort Macon and then turn around, running back through Atlantic Beach, across the bridge, through Downtown Morehead City, and then ending up back where they started.
The Crystal Coast Half Marathon is another run for charity, with the proceeds from this event go towards the United Way of Coastal Carolina, an organization that helps "the building blocks for a good life." Depending on how far away from the even you register, the half marathon can be either $55 or $70 to participate in, but just remember that the proceeds go to charity.