Isle of Palms Beach Run adapts with the tides

David Quick – Wednesday, June 26, 2013

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The Isle of Palms Beach Run 5K and 10K originated as the Sand Shark Run 4-miler in 1993.
  • The Isle of Palms Beach Run 5K and 10K originated as the Sand Shark Run 4-miler in 1993.
    ( provided )
    The Isle of Palms Beach Run 5K and 10K originated as the Sand Shark Run 4-miler in 1993.

  • The high challenge course is at James Island County Park and is usually booked by groups of people.
    ( provided )
    The high challenge course is at James Island County Park and is usually booked by groups of people.

  • The high challenge course is at James Island County Park and is usually booked by groups of people.
    ( provided )
    The high challenge course is at James Island County Park and is usually booked by groups of people.

  • The high challenge course is at James Island County Park and is usually booked by groups of people.
    ( provided )
    The high challenge course is at James Island County Park and is usually booked by groups of people.

  • “We were fascinated by the bridges that go to nowhere,” says Ian Aaronson of James Island as he showed Vicky Gross, visiting from New Zealand, what had been Folly Beach County Park and its dune walkovers.
    ( File/staff )
    “We were fascinated by the bridges that go to nowhere,” says Ian Aaronson of James Island as he showed Vicky Gross, visiting from New Zealand, what had been Folly Beach County Park and its dune walkovers.

  • The Isle of Palms Beach Run 5K and 10K originated as the Sand Shark Run 4-miler in 1993.
    ( provided )
    The Isle of Palms Beach Run 5K and 10K originated as the Sand Shark Run 4-miler in 1993.

The Isle of Palms Beach Run has made some changes in recent years, but the reason for holding it in late June instead of its usual time frame of late July was due more to Mother Nature.

“My main reason for moving it up was the tides,” says Ben Hull, a recreation supervisor at the Isle of Palms Recreation Department. “We have to coordinate the 8 a.m. start with low tides.”

Normally, that bounces the race back and forth between the last two weeks of July, but Hull went with nearly a full month ahead of the regularly scheduled race.

But the drastic change seems to have helped, not hurt, advance registrations for Saturday’s beach race, which kick off at 8 a.m. on the beach behind The Windjammer.

On Monday, Hull said 230 people had signed up, with 60 percent registering for the 5K. Normally, that total pre-registration number ranges between 125 and 175 with a large chunk signing up late. Last year, 150 people signed up the morning of the race.

If the city rec department deems the date for the race to be more popular, Hull says consideration will be given to keeping it in June.

In 2012, Hull added a 10K event to the 5K, largely to get the race to show up more on Internet searches. And it paid off; 95 people ran the inaugural 10K and 232 people in the 5K. By the way, the Beach Run started as the Sand Shark Run, a four-miler, in 1993.

A component of both the Sand Shark and Beach runs has been youth fun runs, which will be at 9:30 a.m.

In between the beach runs and the kids fun runs will be a free yoga class, taught by Jen Schoolfield at 9 a.m. Hull says the yoga is an attempt to provide an activity that will keep some participants around for the awards during the lull between the finish and results being finalized.

The fee is $25 for the 5K and $30 for the 10K. Online registration has closed, but late registration and packet pick-up will be held at The Windjammer 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday and 7-7:55 a.m. Saturday.

Parking for the run is at the Isle of Palms Municipal Parking Lot on Pavilion Drive. The fee is $5 at the gate, but if you show your running bib to the attendant and leave the lot by 11 a.m., the fee will be refunded.

Bulldog Breakaway

For those who don’t want all those bells and whistles, a terrific training run is the super low-key (typically 30 people or less) Bulldog Breakaway Twilight 5K at The Citadel, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday from the Wilson Field track and winds through campus and Hampton Park. The fee is $25 and benefits The Citadel track team. In-person registration starts at 5:30 p.m.

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Friday challenge

On Friday, the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission is hosting a “Challenge Course Open Day” for people to try out its high challenge course at James Island County Park without having to book a full group to do so.

The event will be 3-7 p.m. and does not require advance registration. The cost is $10-$12. It is for ages 10 and up, though chaperones are required for ages 10-17.

Tour de Folbot

Folbot, the local maker of “folding kayak,” is inviting people for free, guided paddling tours this summer, including one at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The other is at 10:30 a.m. July 13.

The event starts with a tour of Folbot’s factory at 4209 Pace St. in North Charleston.

It is followed by a paddling trip on a local waterway for a few hours.

To reserve a kayak, email experience@folbot.com or call 744-3483.

Adios, Irene

For the first time since Hurricane Irene nearly wiped out Folly Beach County Park in August 2011, it reopens to the public at 9 a.m. Wednesday. A public grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m. will mark the occasion.

Hurricane Irene rendered certain park facilities inaccessible, forcing closure of the property and eliminating public access and parking for more than 400 cars on the west end of Folly. The park had served as a public beach access area since 1982.

After a study and permitting process last year, the Army Corps of Engineers and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management allowed the excavation of about 415,000 cubic yards of sand from a shoal on the Folly River, pumping it onto the park’s beach, and the construction of a 745-foot steel groin at the southernmost end of the property.

“We all know that beach access is important to our area, but what is more important to an agency that promotes safety as one of its core values is the opportunity to have 1,400 additional feet of life-guarded beach,” Commission Executive Director Tom O’Rourke says in a recent statement.

Folly Beach County Park will resume its former hours of operation, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily through Labor Day, beginning July 3.

The park offers more than 200 beach-side parking spaces, life-guarded shores and restrooms.

Admission to the park is $8 per vehicle or free for CCPRC Gold Pass holders.

Fourth of July

With Independence Day falling next Thursday, two events will be over by the time many Charleston Scene print readers read that week’s column.

While Charleston has never had a huge Fourth of July road race, such as Atlanta’s monster Peachtree Road Race, it has had a July 4th Cross Country Run at Trophy Lakes on Johns Island for the past six years. That is joined by another cross-country run this year, the Firecracker 4-Miler at Laurel Hill Plantation in Mount Pleasant.

The July 4th Cross Country Run run will start at 8 a.m. The cost is $20-$25. www.theextramileinc.com

The Firecracker 4-Miler will start at 8:30 a.m. and a kids 1-mile fun run at 9:15 a.m. The fee for the 5K is $25-$35 and for the mile fun run $10-$20. www.timinginc.com/firecracker4miler.html