Wednesday, April 17, 2019 / by Anne Rose
For those who are devoted 5K, 10K, or marathoners, water sports competitors including SUP and swim, and bike riders, the Cape Fear region offers year-round athletic challenges. Living in the Wilmington area means that a race, walk, or water sport is always just a short distance from your home base. Training is a pleasure at the numerous parks with walking/running paths and greenways.
Many of the Wilmington area's events are so popular that competitors register and travel from other state to participate. Race devotees living in Wilmington and the beaches have these races right at their doorstep.
An advantage of living in southeastern North Carolina are year-round weather conditions that accommodate outdoor sporting activities. Runners, hikers, and bike riders find that average January and February highs in the 50s and lows in the high 30s are tolerable; snow is a rare occurrence and a layer of winter running gear more than suffices. In the summer, early mornings are usually pleasant for outdoor exercise. Average July and August highs are in the mid- to low-90s, and lows are in the 70s.
We'll just say it: the weather for outdoor sports fanatics in Wilmington North Carolina is optimum!
Here is a very short list of popular area competitions:
Thursday, May 16, 2019 in Wilmington NC
11th Annual WILMA Dash
Wilmington's only all-female 5K presented by WILMA Magazine, welcomes walkers and runners, and is a great first-time event.
April 24 - April 28 in Wrightsville Beach NC
Five days of SUP clinics with five races, including a Kids Race, and a 13-mile Graveyard Elite Race. In 2019, this will be the first qualifying race of five for the new World APP & WPA SUP Qualifying Series.
Saturday, July 13, 2019 in Wilmington NC
Tri-Span 5K & 10K
Runners coast the oldest 3-bridge 10K on the east coast, crossing the Memorial Bridge and two more bridges, finishing on Water Street with a 1/3 mile flat and fast run to the finish.
Sunday, August 4 at Greenfield Lake in Wilmington NC
Summer Sizzler 10K & 5K
Race starts and finishes at the Greenfield Lake amphitheater with a path for either 10K or 5K competitors.
Sunday, September 29 in Wrightsville Beach NC
Swim the Loop
Swimmers, this one is for you! Swim The Loop begins and ends at Dockside Restaurant, on the Wilmington side of the Intracoastal Waterway. The 3.5 mile swim starts at high tide to ensure an incoming tide at the finish, but is a challenging swim in every way.
Sunday, November 3 in Wilmington NC
Battleship Half Marathon
This run goes through downtown Historic Wilmington for runners choice of a Half Marathon, 5K or 10K. Started in 1998, this is one of the oldest Half Marathons in the South.
Saturday January 18, 2020 in Wilmington NC
Southern Tour Ultra
The first ever Ultra competition in Wilmington will be held in 2020, offering a 50-mile individual open race, a 50-kilometer race, and 50-mile team age graded relay. The Southern Tour Ultra is billed as "The Woodstock of Wilmington Running."
Many of the area nonprofit organizations sponsor fundraising run/walks, so competitors can meet personal challenges and do good at the same time. Groups that regularly hold events - many of them annually - are Autism Society of North Carolina, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Cameron Art Museum, and William H. Craig Race for Life.
For more opportunities to test your racing mettle, you can browse a list of upcoming and future races and walks in the Cape Fear area online.