Hunting Island was the perfect location for an Adventure Biathlon
By Shannon Roberts | Adventurous athletes and their fans found beautiful sunshine and calm seas on Saturday as they assembled at the lagoon at Hunting Island State Park to challenge themselves in the Hunting Island Adventure Biathlon.
Sponsored by the Sea Island Rotary, the Biathlon has been a fun and successful race for over 10 years. Athletes paddle their way through the lagoon and Fripp Inlet for 6.5 miles, and then run the maritime-forested and surprisingly “hilly” Hunting Island State Park trails for 4.5 miles. Participants are either individuals, relay, or tandem teams. Paddlers can either choose to kayak or stand-up paddleboard the paddle leg. To keep the race interesting, the race director throws in a varied run course, consisting of different trail sections and challenges along the way. Mother Nature takes care of keeping the water-based part of the race varied from year to year with her currents, winds, tides and temperatures.
This year at the Adventure Biathlon, sweet ole Mother Nature was feeling generous and came through with some awesome race conditions. The tide was falling, temperatures were mild,
and the sun shone bright as the paddlers took off from the start line in the lagoon.
At the start, a flurry of paddles stabbed the water as the small kayak wakes combined to form a large wake, chopping up the water momentarily. Once the boats got going, however, they enjoyed a calm lagoon as they headed toward the inlet. Less than an hour later, the fastest paddlers starting coming in, transitioning to the run leg of the race. The strong men of the Sea Island Rotary pulled each paddler’s vessel onto the sandy banks of the lagoon while they either high-fived their runner or set off themselves for the trails.
On the run portion of the event, the tall pines of the trails shaded the runners as they wound through trails. The course was extremely well marked and well-manned, with volunteers at every turn advising the runners which way to go through the labyrinth of sandy trails. The runners were surprised with a few extra challenges along the way: they had to belly-crawl under a large fallen tree, at another point had to stop, drop and do 10 pushups, and with a half mile to go, had to hurdle a large tree and crawl under it on the way back through.
At the finish line, family, friends and fellow participants cheered as the runners finished. Covered in dirt and sand, they all had smiles on their faces. A great, fun race completed.
The Sea Island Rotary Club, their volunteers and sponsors put on yet another awesome event; the fun and fellowship is unmatched.
The opportunity to do the event as a relay or tandem is unique to race events. The team option allows families, couples, and friends to participate and challenge themselves together.
This years’ teams consisted of father-son duos, sisters, husbands and wives, work out buddies, as well as friends and family who come from different parts of the country to meet and compete in the unique and wonderful setting of Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina. A favorite race amongst many, the recognizable skull-and-paddle logoed Hunting Island Adventure Biathlon never disappoints.
Check out all of the top winners and finishers by visiting this link: http://goraceproductions.com/race-results/
Cover photo courtesy Sea Island Rotary Club.