Bald Head Island Conservancy

Race Recap: Badwater Cape Fear

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by Dr. Jennifer Wiggen, Senior Educator

Every year over 100 people from all over the world come to Bald Head Island to participate in the Badwater Cape Fear race, a 50K and 51 mile competition that brings new and repeat runners to our island every spring.  This race takes runners throughout our Wynds, into the maritime forest, then between the sandy beaches of the Shoals all the way to Fort Fisher and back (twice if you run the 51 mile race). This year was a little wetter than usual but that didn’t stop people from running and cheering each other on!

Race creator and director Chris Kostman reflected on this years “Beast Coast” race: 

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Badwater participants excitedly awaiting the race’s start time

“Badwater races are known for being epic and held in remote, beautiful locations. Bald Head Island is a perfect setting for our only “Beast Coast” race and the rain storm this year – our first ever in ten years – only added to the challenge and the mystique of this year’s Badwater Cape Fear. 

Despite the conditions, several new and overall course records were set, and the finishing rate was nearly 100%. It was an awesome day! Registration is already open for the March 23, 2024 race, and I already can’t wait to come back!”

Badwater participants and Kostman’s AdventureCorps organization continue to give back their support, to date over $125,000 has been donated to the Bald Head Island Conservancy since 2014. “We have received tremendous support from Badwater over the years through annual sponsorships and generous gifts from race participants” says Executive Director, Chris Shank, “Chris Kostman exudes a passion for the Conservancy’s mission that the racers all recognize, and it makes Badwater weekends one of the best weekends of the year!”

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Senior Educator, Jennifer Wiggen at the finish line

Kostman enjoys working with island residents, the Conservancy’s team and interns who continue to welcome him and Badwaters guests, each year. 

In fact, this year, Jennifer Wiggen, Senior Educator at the Conservancy joined in on the fun, by participating in the 50K competition.

“This was an incredible experience and one of the hardest, wettest races I’ve ever done! The volunteers and staff of the Conservancy were amazing and their words of encouragement were exactly what I needed to complete this race! I’m excited to try again next year…maybe without the rain though!”

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Kostman with Executive Director, Chris Shank

Kostman adds,

“The runners – as well as the race volunteers and all the local supporters both on the island and up at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area – really stepped up to the plate. The volunteers were just absolutely phenomenal and I tip my hat to them for taking great care of the runners and providing constant encouragement with a smile! I also thank everyone at the Bald Head Island Conservancy for their incredible support and for rolling the red carpet out for us.” 

We tip our hat to you Chris Kostman for continuing your tradition of outstanding support!

Learn more about ADVENTURECORPS and future Badwater races at


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