The BADWATER® ultra running experience returns to the East Coast when BADWATER CAPE FEAR race takes place on Bald Head Island, North Carolina on March 21, 2015. Registration will open in September, 2014. Depicted above: the 51-mile race finisher's buckle.

Entry | Route | Rules | Press Release | March "BADWATER" | Race Updates | 2014 Webcast | Results

Organized by AdventureCORPS, Inc., BADWATER CAPE FEAR is a 50km/51.4-mile ultra running race featuring a twelve-mile warm-up on the car-free, one-lane-wide roads of Bald Head Island, followed by 19 or 38 miles of running on the east beach of the island and the wild and secluded sandy beach between Cape Fear and Fort Fisher. The race is held along the Atlantic Seaboard with spectacular views of the Frying Pan Shoals to the east and the undeveloped marshlands and Cape Fear River to the west. It is a dramatic, invigorating, inspiring setting to experience Cape Fear at ground level in all its grandeur! Route info.

Nearly forty miles of beach trekking against the clock, even in this absolutely gorgeous setting, is no small feat. After those first 10.4 miles on paved roads and a 1.5 mile trail through a maritime forest reserve, it will be just you and your fellow BADWATER® runners amidst the sand, wind, sun, and ocean. Emphasizing self-sufficiency and minimal distractions, there will be just three aid station locations along the 51-mile route. You will see almost no modernity (other than fishermen/women during a few miles of the north end of the beach trek) and hear nothing but wind, birds, and waves. This exquisite natural setting is the perfect antidote to the “real world” and a wonderful counterpart to the desert sands of Death Valley and Anza-Borrego Desert featured in the two West Coast BADWATER® races.

Bald Head Island and nearby Southport, NC are ideal vacation get-away spots for the entire family, located less than one hour from Wilmington, NC and its major airport with Delta and US Airways service (flying into Myrtle Beach, SC is another convnient option.) Once the remarkable beauty and quaint southern charm of this area are experienced once, we anticipate that most BADWATER® CAPE FEAR participants will make this race an annual pilgrimage and that most will incorporate a week-long family vacation as well. It is really that fantastic! For the full pre-race press release for th 2014 edition, click here. For lots more info, download the 36-page March 2014 / Cape Fear edition of BADWATER magazine. (The March 2015 edition will be available March 1, 2015.)

The BADWATER® ULTRA CUP comprises Badwater Cape Fear in March, Badwater Salton Sea in May, and Badwater 135 in summer. Those runners who complete all three full-distance events in the same calendar year will be featured on the Badwater website and their virtues will be extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER Magazine. Will you take on this challenge? Info & Current Standings


There are no qualifications to enter, other than a sense of adventure and an admiration for challenge! Click here for all the information about registration and what's included.


The main event is the 51.4-mile BADWATER® CAPE FEAR race. Up to 150 runners will be accepted for this event. This route includes 12 miles on Bald Head Island roads and trails, then TWO round-trip runs to Fort Fisher on East Beach, making for 39 miles of beach running. This event has a 14 hour cut-off, plus an intermediate cut-off of 8 hours at mile 32 (after one round-trip to Fort Fisher) to finish officially. Entrants who want to to stop running at mile 32, or who miss the eight-hour cut-off at mile 32, so long as as they reach that 32-mile mark within nine hours, will be recategorized as 50km finishers. All 51-mile runners will begin at 745am.

Up to 50 runners will be accepted for a Cape Fear 50k (32-mile) Ultra. This route includes 12 miles on Bald Head Island roads and trails, then ONE round-trip run to Fort Fisher on East Beach, making for 20 miles of beach running. This event has a nine hour cut-off to finish officially. All 50km runners will begin at 745am.

NOTE: The Badwater Cape Fear belt buckle, pictured on the Entry Page, will only be awarded to those who complete the full 51.4-mile route within the 14 hour cut-off. 51km finishers will receive a Badwater Cape Fear medal.

For more about entry and distance categories, visit the Entry Page.

For more about the route, visit the Route Page.


The Official Charity of BADWATER CAPE FEAR is the Bald Head Island Conservancy, a leader in barrier island conservation, preservation and education. Race participants will appreciate that BHIC cares for this race route's pristine setting and its role as sea turtle nesting site, and will be encouraged to fundraise for BHIC and support its mission. Learn more at

The goal of this race is raise $10,000 for the Bald Head Island Conservancy, which is enough to purchase one of the special electric UTV electric vehicles which BHIC uses to patrol the beach and care for sea turtle nesting sites, as shown below.

All racers are encouraged to support BHIC and all money donated or raised by them will count towards this ambitious goal. If $10,000 or more is raised in 2014 by BADWATER runners, staff, family, and friends, the BADWATER® logo will be emblazoned on the new UTV!

SPECIAL CHALLENGE: The top fundraiser / donor to BHIC who also officially finishes the Badwater Cape Fear 51.4-mile race will earn guaranteed entry into ANY one 2015 AdventureCORPS event, including the Badwater 135. Conditions:

• The top fundraiser / donor must raise a minimum of $5,000 which must be received by BHIC between December 8, 2013 and 500pm, March 21, 2014. Funds may be donated by check payable to Bald Head Island Conservancy or via online donation. The $5,000, or more, may be raised with any combination of personal donations by the fundraiser AND by donations solicited from others by that fundraiser.
• All associated donations must note "Badwater" AND the donor / fundraiser's name so that a proper tally may be kept as to who raised which, and how many, funds.
• Donations may not include donations from other entrants in the 2014 Badwater Cape Fear race.
• The recipient of this special entry slot must also meet whatever Minimum Qualifying Standards are required for all applicants to the AdventureCORPS race he or she would like to enter. The applicable race application must be sumitted in full during the event's standard application period and the applicable race entry fee must be paid.

Above: A BHIC volunteer installs a special protective screen around a sea turtle nest, having accessed the location with a special electric UTV. Location: East Beach, between Cape Fear and Fort Fisher (along the Badwater Cape Fear race route.)

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (All events and locations are on Bald Head Island, NC. Please anticipate some updates and changes in the coming months for the 2015 edition.)

Friday, March 20
Afternoon Suggestion: Climb to the top of Old Baldy Lighthouse The race will start at its foot.
300-500pm: Racer Check-In at Bald Head Island Conservancy: Racer Mugshots, Goodie Bags, Sign Waivers, etc.
500-630pm: Social Mixer with drinks and hors d'oeuvres at Coastal Urge for runners, staff, family, and friends.

Saturday, March 21
600am or 700am: Runners not staying on Bald Head Island must depart via ferry from Deep Water Marina in Southport. (Ferries depart hourly from SPT to BHI on the hour from 600am to 1100pm on Saturdays.)
628am: Morning Twilight (First light in sky)
713am: Sunrise
715am Late Check-In at the start line for runners who did not come over on Friday to do so. (BUT PLEASE only check-in Saturday if absolutely necessary!)
725am: 700am ferry from Southport arrives; it is a ten-minute walk from the ferry to the race start line at the lighthouse
745am: Race starts at Old Baldy Lighthouse
1200pm (app.): First runners return to BHIC at 50km mark
345pm (app.): First 51.4-mile finishers
345pm: Mandatory Cut-Off for 51.4-mile finishers to depart BHIC at mile 32 for their second loop to and from Fort Fisher
445pm: Mandatory Cut-Off for Officially Finishing the 50km Race (9 hour time limit)
725pm: Sunset
750pm: Evening Twilight (Last light in sky)
945pm: 51.4-mile Race Course Closes at BHIC (14 hour time limit)
1130pm: Final ferry departure from BHI (Ferries depart hourly from BHI to SPT on the half hour from 630am to 1130pm on Saturdays.)

Sunday, March 22
800-1000am: Breakfast Buffet at Maritime Market: Breakfast is complimentary for all registered 51mi/50km racers, and available for $11 to all family and friends of runners.
R&R Options All Day: Lay on the beach, go paddle boarding, go kite surfing, go kayaking, shop, relax!
500pm: Drinks, then Dinner, at Mojo's On The Harbor. Open to runners, staff, family, and friends (no host).


Bald Head Island is only reachable via passenger ferry or by private boat. It is not possible to drive to Bald Head Island; in fact, motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island.

Ferry Schedule between Southport and Bald Head Island ($25 per person, round-trip)

Ferries depart Deep Water Marina in Southport to Bald Head Island on the hour from 600am to 1100pm on Saturdays.

Ferries depart Bald Head Island to Southport on the half hour from 630am to 1130pm on Saturdays.


Bald Head Island and nearby Southport, NC (featured in the film "Safe Haven") are ideal vacation get-away spots for the entire family, located less than one hour from Wilmington, NC and its major airport with Delta and US Airways service (flying into Myrtle Beach, SC is another convenient option.)

There are no hotels on Bald Head Island, however there are a few hundred vacation homes and cottages, some small enough for one or two couples and some large enough for groupa of 20 or more. Therefore we encourage all entrants to make a Spring Break Vacation out of it and help build this event into a Badwater Family Reunion - with new members welcome! Bring your family and friends, bring a bunch of members of your running club, or find housemates through Facebook: It will be a fun bonding experience and a real get-away-from-it-all!

Here is the "event" page for Badwater Cape Fear on Facebook. Use it to connect with fellow Badwater Cape Fear runners and perhaps carpool or share houses!

Once the remarkable beauty and quaint southern charm of this area are experienced once, we anticipate that most BADWATER® CAPE FEAR participants will make this race an annual pilgrimage and that many will incorporate a family vacation as well. Bald Head Island is really that fantastic!

All rookie entrants in the race will recive a "Bald Head Island Welcome Kit" from in the mail us that includes maps of the island, detailed information about the various home rentals available, and much more. They will be mailed daily, as registrations are received.

It is, however, also possible to stay in Southport as an alternative. Just factor in the time required for taking the ferry back and forth and that each round-trip ticket costs $25.

Hampton Inn in Southport has extended a special rate and the hotel manager will be at the event as a volunteer. The weblink for the discounted rate will be provided to all race entrants.

We particularly recommend the following management companies who have reached out to and met with us. Please reference "Badwater" when contacting them and booking rentals.

Best of Bald Head: Wendy Wilmot Properties

Bald Head Island Limited Property Management
Offering a 20% discount for select accommodations booked through Bald Head Island Limited Property Management

Seabreeze Rentals
Only a two-night minimum

Click here to visit the Bald Head Island Chamber of Commerce links to the managers of the hundreds of home and cottage rentals available on the island.

Again, it is technically possible to stay on the mainland instead of on Bald Head Island, traveling back and forth via passenger ferry from Southport, but keep in mind the following:

1) Careful home rental selection on BHI for a small group of friends or a family would likely be cheaper than staying in hotel rooms in Southport and having to make multiple trips to BHI on the ferry.

2) There are really neat pre-race and post-race events on Friday and Sunday which nobody will want to miss! Also, Racer Check-In on Friday is mandatory.

3) The whole concept of the event is a Spring Break Vacation and Badwater Family Reunion, but you have to be on the island to really partake in all that!

4) Rough water, wind, and/or weather can cancel ferry crossings, so there is a very small chance that the 600am ferry on race day won't run.

Want to Race?