Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wrightsville Beach Biathlon

The 2nd Annual Wrightsville Beach Biathlon takes place Saturday, March 26, 2011.  The event starts with Stand-Up Paddle Boarding followed by a pier-to-pier beach run from Johnnie Mercer's Pier to the Crystal Pier and back to the Blockade Runner Resort.

One of the things that makes this event so exciting is the exposure for Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP).  It is one of the fastest growing outdoor water sports because of its accessibility for people of varying abilities.  It's definitely not easy but neither is it as intimidating as learning to surf in the ocean.  People who love kayaking and canoeing really take to SUP as another way to explore the waterways, get exercise, learn a new skill, and meet new people.  Surfers also enjoy this sport as yet another experience on the water that brings out a different, slower, and meditative approach to life on their board.

Wrightsville Beach is an ideal location for SUP because of its protected inland Waterway fueled by ocean currents and conditions.  The Wrightsville Beach Biathlon begins in the Banks Channel opposite the Blockade Runner Resort where wind, chop, and battling tides could make for a challenging course.  The course then turns west into Motts Channel.  The Intracoastal will take the paddlers north underneath the Heide Trask Drawbridge and then east through Lees Cut to circle back to the starting point.

The second event begins back at the Blockade Runner Resort where athletes will sprint through beach access No. 33 to the oceanfront and run 4 miles pier-to-pier, ending back at the Blackade Runner Resort (an event co-sponsor along with Coastal Urge).

The press release for the event states that last year's winner, Chris Curry, completed the course in 1 hour and 24 minutes. 

The Wrightsville Beach Biathlon beings at 10 am on Saturday, March 26th with a pre-race meeting at 9 am.  Winners will receive complimentary weekends at the Blockade Runner as well as prizes valued at more than $1000 donated by Coastal Urge.  The cost for the race is $35 which includes a paddleboard rental and a race t-shirt.

Register for the Wrightsville Beach Biathlon by emailing or calling 910-256-2251.  Good luck and have fun!  (And for those of us not entering the race, there are a ton of great vantage points along the beach and Intracoastal shoreline from which to watch and cheer on the athletes.)

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