ECORun Recap – Running in the Boneyard Beach!

Anytime you have to take a ferry to an island to run a race you know it’s going to be an adventure…

This past weekend I had one of the coolest running experiences with my family! All three of us ran the ECO Run 5K on Capers Island.

I run on islands all the time, but this one is very different.

From SCDNR:

Capers Island is a classic, undeveloped barrier island located about 15 miles north of Charleston between Dewees Island and the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. The
island lies about three miles from the mainland, and is approximately three miles in length and one mile in width. It encompasses 850 acres of maritime uplands, 214 acres of front beach, 1,090 acres of salt marsh and over 100 acres of brackish water impoundments.

The island contains diverse habitats supporting abundant wildlife. One may observe alligators, white-tailed deer, raccoons,
loggerhead sea turtles. The McCaskill Trail, which starts at the dock on the south end of the island, provides great access for serious birders and casual hikers alike. Birds, such as herons, egrets, ibises, bitterns, and various waterfowl species are common in the brackish impoundment adjacent to the trail. Each year ospreys nest on Capers near the front beach. Eagles can also be seen soaring over the island from time to time. The creeks and marshes adjacent to Capers are alive with oysters, shrimp, hard clams, crabs and many species of fish such as sea trout, red drum, flounder, black drum, king whiting, spot, pompano, and croaker.


How cool is that description?
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My family and I woke up early Sunday morning and drove out to the Isle of Palms Marina to catch the ferry to the island. We paid a modest $3.00 for parking and signed in with the race director, Brett. We waited for the other runners to arrive and were able to buy sunscreen and bug spray at the marina store (cannot believe I forgot that stuff).

At 7:00am we boarded the ferry with about thirty other runners, had a safety briefing and then headed out to Capers Island. The views were amazing and my son was really taking it all in. The ride was great and seeing2011 ECO Run017 the Sun rise as we were making the thirty minute trip was awesome!

The ferry pulled right up to the beach and we all got out for the start. We had a few minutes to take in the sites and get ready before the race. There was also an auction for some gift certificates (this was to raise money for the Charleston Chefs Feed the Need Program that these races help fund each year).

We gathered for a group photo and then moved to the starting line (there was a line in the sand that was used as the start / finish).

Brett, the race director, rode his bike down the beach before the start to set up the turnaround points for the 5K and 10K (he also set up water for the 10K2011 ECO Run029  turnaround). The race was very low key; no race bibs and started with a simple “GO”.

My wife headed out and I ran with my son. I had just run my 16 mile long run the day before and my son had agreed to take it easy on me...

We had a blast!Group

The run goes along the beach, but as soon as we were about half a mile away from the start we hit the Boneyard. This is an amazing site!

From www.nature-tours.com :

One of the most fascinating features of Capers Island is its front beach known as the "bone-yard". Its name is due to the old tree skeletons and stumps left as a result of erosion and bleached out by the sun. Capers has been eroding an average of 15 feet per year since 1875. Visitors can stroll in and out of this sculpture garden of weathered trees which goes on for about 3 miles. Walking the front beach of Capers gives visitors a feel for what our barrier islands looked like before beachfront houses and condos arrived. Capers "bone-yard beach" is a favorite place for photographers, beach combers, or someone looking to experience a truly amazing natural creation.



The coolest thing was to watch my son running through the Boneyard. He was having so much fun. He took off his shirt and started jumping over all the trees, 2011 ECO Run045stumps, shells and even crabs!

We stopped a few times to take pictures, but he didn’t want to be last so we kept running.

We saw a few people coming back toward us and even got to cheer on my wife as she made her way back to the finish line. She had a great race and lowered her 5K time (even though she was running on sand)!

We got to the half way point and turned around (it was written in the sand and the tree was marked with ribbon – love it).

We had just as much fun running back as we did going out. When we got to the end we ran over the “finish line” and called out our names (no need for bibs). After that Peyton and Jen got in the water and cooled off. It was so much fun to just hangout on the beach and watch all the other runners coming in (mostly from the 10K).
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We stayed there for about another hour until all the other runners were back (and the black clouds started to form near us). Everyone got on the ferry and we  headed back to the marina. On the way back we got to see some of the ECO Tours wildlife displays on the boat and then I had a chance to talk to Brett for a while.




2011 ECO Run099I thanked him for inviting me and my family out for the race and we talked about the race and the ECOThon that was coming up in October. We also talked about the charity that the race helps (Charleston Chefs Feed the Need Program).

I was really impressed with the fact that this race was so low key, but so well organized. It’s hard enough to put on a race, but to do it on an island that you have to take a ferry to get to is incredible.

Brett puts this race on several times a year in addition to the ECOThon. The next two races are September 18th and November 6th.

My family had a blast and cannot wait for our net adventure on Capers Island!

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