Bald Head Island Conservancy

Badwater Returns to the (B)East Coast

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The BADWATER® ultra running experience returns to the (B)east Coast when the ninth BADWATER CAPE FEAR race takes place on Bald Head Island, North Carolina on March 18, 2023. Get all the info at

With 50km and 51.4-mile race options, Badwater® Cape Fear features a twelve-mile warm-up on the car-free, one-lane-wide roads and maritime forest trails of Bald Head Island, followed by either 19 or 38 miles of running on the wild and secluded sandy beach between Cape Fear and Fort Fisher. The race is held along the Atlantic Seaboard with spectacular views of the Frying Pan Shoals to the east and wild and undeveloped Cape Fear River marshlands to the west. Running this remote coast is a dramatic, invigorating, and inspiring manner in which to experience the Cape Fear region in all its grandeur! 

The Official Charity of BADWATER CAPE FEAR is the Conservancy. Race participants and supporters appreciate that BHIC cares for this race route’s pristine setting and its role as a sea turtle nesting site, and are encouraged to fundraise for BHIC and support its mission.

Since 2014, AdventureCORPS has made or facilitated more than $120,000 in donations to the Bald Head Island Conservancy. As Chris Kostman, Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director, says: “We love Bald Head Island and we love working with the Conservancy and supporting the important work they do both on and off the island!”

According to Chris Shank, Executive Director of the BHI Conservancy, “Badwater has been a wonderful supporter of the Bald Head Island Conservancy for nearly a decade through generous sponsorships and magnanimous donations from racers. We love working with Chris Kostman and his team each and every year – it is an annual highlight for the Conservancy and for all of Bald Head Island!

1) Can you explain a tad more about how supporters can donate to the Conservancy to qualify for other races?

The Badwater 135, held annually in July from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, is widely recognized as “the world’s toughest foot race.” There are very tough qualifying standards to even apply, and it is extremely competitive to be invited to participate. We offer a limited number of applicants the opportunity to donate $8000 to the Bald Head Island Conservancy in order to guarantee their selection for the race. We also solicit donations year-round from our world-wide Badwater family of athletes. With this, plus our sponsorship of the Conservancy, we are usually able to provide from $10,000 to $20,000 annually to support BHIC.

2) Why do you like hosting the race on BHI?

I love taking people to places they wouldn’t normally go to, and Bald Head Island is a beautiful, unusual, special place. The wide variety of ecosystems on the island are just fascinating. It’s a microcosm of the world, and so I designed the race route to showcase everything the island has to offer – from the maritime forests to the sand dunes, marsh land, beaches, golf courses, the marina, and more. Also, the locals and Village employees have really embraced us and our event and we appreciate their support.

3) Why do you personally choose to support the Conservancy?

I’m an environmentalist, ocean lover, and clean water advocate, and our organization is a proud member of One Percent For The Planet and the Conservation Alliance. Everything that the Conservancy does – from conservation to preservation to education – is vitally important. I also love how approachable everyone with the Conservancy, and how well they communicate about science and nature in way that is fun and easy to follow. I have a pretty good appreciation of the breadth and depth of what the Conservancy does, and I think most people – even BHI residents – would be shocked at how much the Conservancy does each year. They are an incredible force doing really great work. My hat is off to everyone at the Conservancy, the board, the leadership, the staff, the interns, just everyone; they are fabulous.

Get all the info – or register – at!


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