By Tess Malijenovsky
Race enthusiasts are traveling from as far as Puerto Rico to participate in the Hunting Island Adventure Biathlon, a race unique for its paddle-run combination and pristine venue. People look forward to the camaraderie and competition of the sport, but its design makes this opportunity to compete a highly anticipated race.
On Saturday, March 10, at 11 a.m., more than 90 kayakers and standup paddle boarders will position themselves at the start line in the State Park lagoon, an impressive sight to see according to Jack Cunningham who’s been organizing the race since its inception eight years ago.
The race consists of a 5-6 mile paddle by way of kayak or standup paddleboard, followed by a 4.5-mile trail run. This is the first year the biathlon added the paddleboard category by popular demand. In fact, second place female winner of the Orange Bowl Paddle Championship in Miami, Heather Baus, is making her way to Hunting Island for the race.
However, the biathlon is for professionals and recreationalists alike. Forty percent of all participants are racing relay style with one person who paddles and the other who runs. There will also be teams where two people compete in a tandem kayak and must finish the race on foot together.
Not many races can compete with the Hunting Island Adventure Biathlon when it comes to its course design. Aside from the clear-watered lagoon walled by wild vegetation, the trails provide stunning scenery as well as shade. “Everyone checks out the beach and the lighthouse, but there are trails out there that are as pristine as it gets,” said Cunningham.
“The Sea Island Rotary Club puts on the race every year for two reasons,” Cunningham said, “to promote health and fitness in the community and to support local charities.” The rotary club donates all of the net proceeds to local charities dedicated to education and youth in the area, such as Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA), Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, YMCA, the CHOICES Program, and Junior Achievement.
Racers can pick up their packets at the race site (Parking lot J) at 9:15 a.m. race day. Peddle-powered kayaks are not allowed; PFD required. In lieu of T-shirt this year, racers will receive hats and high quality cinch bags. There will be a post race party following the award ceremony at Boondocks (1760 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island); food and beverages are free for race participants and at low cost for all others. If you missed the online registration period, you can still sign up on race day.
By Tess Malijenovsky