By Kip Tabb | Outer Banks Voice on November 14, 2022
The Sunday morning weather forecast for the 7:00 a.m. start to the Towne Banks Outer Banks Marathon and Half Marathon called for light rain and a 10-mph breeze from the north. The reality was a hard-driving rain and a 15-20-mph wind that one competitor described as feeling like needles striking his face for the first five miles.
Nonetheless, the first Outer Banks Marathon held in two years brought competitors from almost every state east of the Mississippi as well as Texas, California, Wyoming and other western states. There were also some runners from Canadian provinces —Quebec and Ontario — and a smattering of runners listing their home countries as France and Germany.
The Marathon and Half Marathon are the marquee races of the Nov. 12-13 weekend, but the Outer Banks Sporting Events (OBSE)-sponsored event included a full morning of races on Saturday, including an 8K, a 5K and a Fun Run circling the Wright Brothers Memorial and ending at the base of the hill.
The shorter races held on Saturday included a number of young runners, some as young as nine. Families also ran together for the Fun Run with everyone from toddlers and older children and parents dashing around the Memorial.
The weekend, though, was really focused on the Sunday distance races. With new courses this year, runners began the race at the Outlet Mall in Nags Head and crossed the finish line at the Wright Brother Memorial.
For the full marathon runners, the new course had its challenges — particularly spending more time on the hills in Nags Head Woods.
Marathon winner Mike Kapentanakis pointed to the Nags Head Woods section as the most difficult portion of the course. “I didn’t expect it,” he said. “I didn’t really look at the course a whole lot ahead of time, and when we got to the hill, I was like, ‘Oh, man. We’ve got to run up that hill?’ But I kind of collected myself and it evened out.”
Kapentanakis was not alone in his view of Nags Head Woods. Most of the competitors cited that part of the course for both the Marathon and Half Marathon as the most difficult.
Manteo resident Sarah Benson, though, who runs in Nags Head Woods regularly, felt that part of the race was where she picked up the most time, noting with the dense forest surrounding the course, the runners were protected from the wind. She said her knowledge of Old Nags Head Woods Road was invaluable.
“I knew where all the mud puddles were and how to avoid them,” she said. Benson finished first in her age group (65-69) in the Saturday 8K and second in the Half Marathon on Sunday.
Nationally, half marathons have been attracting more runners while marathons, with significantly more strenuous and time-consuming training, have seen a decline in participation. The Outer Banks Marathon weekend numbers reflected that with 922 Half Marathon runners at the starting gate and 313 Marathon runners on hand.
For OBSE Executive Director Debbie Luke the new course and the day went well.
“We can’t do anything about the weather. It’s the Outer Banks, after all,” she said. “But the new course is beautiful. The runners really seemed to like it, and we had a really good turnout.”
“Also, we really want to put out a special thank you to all the volunteers and all the sponsors. Especially Surf Pediatrics, Towne Bank and the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau,” she added.
1st: Mike Kapetanakis — 2:42:57.3, Virginia Beach, VA
2nd: Joshua Nardin — 2:46:18.6, Chapel Hill, NC
3rd: Andrew Ploskunak—2:49:39.2, Aurora, NC
1st: Jessica Barkley — 3:02:31.7, West End, NC
2nd: Rachel Depasquale — 3:08:58.0 , Rowlett, TX
3rd: Christina Dam — 3:26:30.7, Crystal Lake, IL
1st: Caleb Masland — 1:18:00.0 Boone, NC
2nd: Peyton Hugate — 1:21:59.4, Lone Tree, CO
3rd: Matthew Santamaria — 1:25:10.2, Chapel Hill, NC
1st: Sara Thompson — 1:41:15.9, Kill Devil Hills, NC
2nd: Amelie Roy — 1:41:17.5, Kill Devil Hills, NC
3rd: Tara Beckwith — 1:44:17.9, Cary, NC
For full results visit Outer Banks Sporting Events.
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