Badwater Cape FearNews Ultramarathons 

Badwater Cape Fear Ultra 2023

The BADWATER® ultra running experience returns to the East Coast when the ninth BADWATER CAPE FEAR race takes place on Bald Head Island and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, North Carolina on Saturday, March 18, 2023. Since 2014, the race has raised over $125,000 for Bald Head Island Conservancy.

Bald Head Island, NC – With 50km and 51.4-mile race options, the annual Badwater® Cape Fear ultramarathon 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 State Recreation Area park HQ in Kure Beach. 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! Nearly 200 runners will compete this year on March 18, 2023.

Race director Chris Kostman discovered Bald Head Island from the Nicholas Sparks movie Safe Haven in 2013 and fell in love with Southport, Bald Head Island, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, and the whole Cape Fear area. Reflecting on the island and on Badwater Cape Fear, he states “It’s a really interesting and unusual place which allows us to host an extraordinarily beautiful and challenging race and an authentic Badwater experience.”

AdventureCORPS® events are created – first and foremost – to bring athletes together from across the globe for a transformative, hopefully life-changing experience with a focus on camaraderie amongst the racers. Lifetime friendships are formed, deep insights are gained, a new region is explored, the host venue and Official Charities benefit, and the Badwater Family grows in both strength and numbers.

Since the first race in 2014 and including this year’s roster, 1290 runners from 23 countries and 44 American states and territories have or will have competed in Badwater Cape Fear. From 2014-2022, 973 unique individuals have entered, with 950 of them finishing. Counting multi-race finishers, 1100 ultrarunners have finished officially: 331 women and 769 men.

Ultrarunner Bob Becker, age 77 of Florida, and Gerald Tabios, age 53 of New York, have finished all eight previous races. One runner has seven finishes, three runners have six finishes, and four runners have five finishes. Within the five-time finisher group, local ultrarunner Suzanne Tulsey of Oak Island, NC has won the 50km race four times and the 51.4-mile race once.

Nationalities represented on the Badwater Cape Fear start line since 2014 are Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and the USA.

The Official Charity of BADWATER CAPE FEAR is the Bald Head Island Conservancy, a leader in barrier island conservation, preservation, and education. 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 $125,000 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!”

Sponsors and Local Partners include Village of Bald Head Island, Fort Fisher State Recreation AreaFriends of Pleasure Island State Parksand Maritime Market, along with Joe Nimble shoes and Hewn Spirits.

The event is hosted under special event permits from the Village of Bald Head Island, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, and the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management. 

An incredible volunteer team based on Bald Head Island, on the beach along the Fort Fisher coast, and at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area Headquarters work closely with Bald Head Island Public Safety Officers and Volunteers and North Carolina State Park Rangers to host a smooth and successful event each year. AdventureCORPS and the Badwater race team are indebted to all of them for their hard work and good cheer in support of the race and runners. 

Badwater Cape Fear is the first leg of the BADWATER® ULTRA CUP, which includes Badwater Cape Fear, the 81-mile Badwater Salton Sea in Borrego Springs, CA in April, and finally the Badwater 135 from California’s Death Valley to Mt. Whitney in July. Runners who complete all three full-distance events in the same calendar year are featured on the Badwater website and their virtues are extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER Magazine.


2023 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast Page (which will include links to results, image galleries, and more after the race): Click here. For the race results (late Saturday night), click here.

The 2023 roster can be seen here.

Image Galleries: Here

Badwater Cape Fear is on Instagram as @BadwaterHQ with hashtag #BadwaterCapeFear for all social mediaOfficial Event Webpage:

Recap video of the 2016 race:

Aerial video of the 2014 race

Badwater® is a federally registered trademark owned by AdventureCORPS, Inc.

More info: and

Badwater Race Director and AdventureCORPS Chief Adventure Officer: Chris Kostman

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