The Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon is right around the corner! Wow, how time flies! This is the second year for this race and I’m just as excited and scared about it as I was last year! Last year we had a few logistics failures. This year, we have more experience & a very sharp crew helping to execute this race. With this year’s race we’re increasing the mileage from a 10.8 mile run to a 13.1 mile run.
This year’s race also has 25 registered runners over the 15 registered runners we had last year. Twenty-five is the most runners this race will ever. That’s the deal the DNR and I worked out, and, a deal I intend to adhere to as I believe in the vision of the DNR regarding Little Tybee Island, – to protect it and to keep it wild and beautiful. Another part of the deal that the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) and I worked out for allowing me to hold a race on Little Tybee is to use this race to promote education about the need for these wild places for endangered coastal birds and sea turtles and, the importance these barrier islands have not only for nature but as protection from storms for coastal Georgians.
So, one of the things we advocate during the race is a clean up of Little Tybee while we’re there. Last year, we filled and hauled two large bags of trash off the island. We’ll do a clean up again this year. Also, in the Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon program booklet, we highlight some of the wildlife that inhabits Little Tybee island.
I’ve been asked if the LTC Half is an adventure race or a Triathlon. The answer is quite simply, neither. There is no cycling in this race and their is no team aspect or multi-disciplines incorporated in this race as there are in adventure races. The LTC Half Marathon is exactly what it claims to be – a half marathon! Throw in an uninhabited barrier island off of Georgia’s coast, lots of beach and sand, and four channel crossings of which two will entail a short jaunt of a swim.
This unique race will ignite your sense of adventure, will delight you with this island’s natural beauty and, will challenge you physically as any race should especially, a half marathon! This may very well be one of the toughest half marathon’s you’ll ever run and, one of the most fulfilling races you’ll ever do! At the end of this race you will aptly feel very accomplished.
The race starts two hours before low tide to ensure the runners have enough beach to run on. That means, the Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon begins at 11:00 am, Saturday. Doing this, allows even the slowest runner to have a beach to run on and, shortens the swim sections that under a high tide would be miles long to what now constitute a total of about 1.5-1.7 miles of swimming and/or wading.
The LTC half marathon runners will begin at the northeastern section of Little Tybee Island and run east then south, following the sandy coastline until it literally expires. Along the way they will cross four channels of varying depth and width. The second channel they’ll cross will require about one third of a mile of wading chest deep and swimming. The fourth channel will require a swim that’s roughly one-third of a mile as the shoreline quickly drops when you enter this fourth channel.
The northern shoreline of the 4th channel crossing will have life preservers available to any runner that desires one for this crossing. Upon reaching the other side of the channel fresh drinking water will be available to runners. The runners must continue following the coastline until they come upon a volunteer that will direct them to run up the southern shoreline of the 4th channel they previously crossed. They will follow the shoreline for approximately a mile where they will reach Jolly Roger Beach. At Jolly Roger Beach the runners will find a large plastic container which will have their running bibs. Each runner must find their correct bib number in that container and safely secure it upon themselves. As they head back down the beach to where they came from they must shout out their bib number to the volunteer that initially directed them to Jolly Roger Beach. Then, the runners will again cross the fourth channel and work their way back up the beach to where they started.
The runners must finish with their newly acquired race bib numbers. Any runner that does not produce their bib number at the finish line will be dnf’d.
Of the four channel crossings that the runners will cross two are of significant width and depth. The other two will just be splash puddles to run through. The two wide and deep channels will have kayakers and a motor boat in the middle of each to watch all runners and be ready to offer assistance to any runner should it be needed.
All of the LTC half finishers will get resin medals with shark teeth that were found at Shark Tooth Island by myself and other friends which are also volunteering for this race. The medals are very slick and unlike any medals from any other race out there. Each is unique and hand made. The first place male and female will each get a beer horn trophy and a beer. Every runner will also get 2×3 foot Jolly Roger flag.
The Little Tybee Conquest Half Marathon is a unique and special race. It is the only race offered on Little Tybee. It is the only race offered on any of the uninhabited barrier island’s off Georgia’s coast.
It takes a lot of work and cooperation between the DNR and Run 4 a Reason to make this race happen. It commands a lot of work to pull off this race successfully! Everything has to be taken into consideration for this race. There is no infrastructure on Little Tybee. Portable toilets must be transported there. All gear, food, water must be carried there by boat. This race is a huge challenge but so very worth the effort! With this race we try to spotlight the importance of these precious wild places we’re so privileged to have in our backyard. We emphasize the importance of being good stewards of this land that we are blessed with and, of the critters that call it home. One of the things that I always say about Little Tybee is that when we travel there we need to remember that we are visitors there and that we should mindful and respectful of the critters that call that island home.
Endangered coastal birds nest on Little Tybee. Several sea turtle species nest on the expansive beaches of Little Tybee. Little Tybee island is a stopping place for thousands of migrating birds. The waters off Little Tybee are teeming with life! Crabs, conch, sharks, stingrays, starfish, sand dollars, porpoises, etc. can be seen near the shoreline of the Little Tybee beaches.
I keep the registration price of this race moderately priced at $65.00. Last year’s race had a deficit of $600.00 plus. This year’s race is breaking even after tallying all of the race expenses. I do not want to increase the registration fee of this race. I think $65.00 is fair and to charge more than that for this race is just uncool to me but, I am trying to figure out a way of actually making some money on this race as the proceeds (if any) of this race will go to the Nature Conservancy, Georgia Chapter. My goal is to get sponsors to foot most of the costs of this race in the future and have all of the registration fees go to Nature Conservancy.
I have prayed for the well-being of each runner and the support and volunteers of the Little Tybee Conquest but we’re also taking every precaution we can think of to make this a fun, safe, memorable event for all!
If you are running this year’s Little Tybee Conquest Half I wish you strength, stamina and success in completing this challenging race. If you are spectating, have fun, cheer on the runners and be respectful of all the wild things on Little Tybee.
If you are a volunteer, I whole-heartedly thank you for your time and hard work in making this race a wonderful experience for all!
Let’s have fun this Saturday on Little Tybee Island!