The Outer Banks,
- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
I have participated in the Flying Pirate Half Marathon for the past 3 years, the last 2 doing the challenge which includes the 5K on Sat and the half marathon on Sun. Both are well-organized and a fun atmosphere. There are several really great race hotels associated with the race which offer great deals for a beachfront stay.
The expo is on Friday and is a nice size for a small, local race. The 5k on Sat is a fun event that doesn't take itself too seriously. . Start/finish are at the Wright Brothers Memorial for those of you that enjoy a bit of history. Participants are encouraged to dress in pirate attire for the race. It's a great family event with people of all ages participating. The course is mostly a loop and is the kind of flat you only find at the coast. Medals are sweet and have included a spinner the past two years.
The half marathon takes place on Sunday morning in a different area of Kitty Hawk. It's a point-to-point course, mostly road with the last 5k on a soft trail. Race shuttles are provided to get you safely to the start and finish which is great when you're visiting the area. The half starts in waves and is well organized. The course starts out on the road and winds through several neighborhoods along the water. Folks are often out in their driveways or waving from their balconies as the racers go by. A few go above and beyond...one lady was passing out banana bread and another family was mixing drinks that involved orange juice and an adult beverage. Official aid stations were about every 2.5 - 3 miles or so with at least 2 that included gels.
The half course includes part of the 5k and has racers winding around the Wright Brothers Memorial as well. Mile 9 includes a stop for judging if you're running in pirate costume. The last 5k is where it gets really interesting. It's along a gorgeous trail system, but includes some small elevation changes that probably aren't that big of a deal unless you're at the end of a half marathon. It drops to single track in some areas which was frightening the year I was on PR pace and trying to pass other folks to make it in on time. Oh...and there are the hills at mile 12.5. But....once you conquer those, it's all downhill to the finish at the Y.
Post-race party is always nice with music and food. Swag is really good....a cotton shirt for the 5k and a tech shirt for the half. Half finishers also get a hat at the finish. For those who take on the Double Dare challenge, you receive a medal at the 5K and two at the end of the half.
All in all, the fam and I have really enjoyed each year at this race. There are quite a lot of things to do in the area...Jockey's Ridge (largest sand dunes on the east coast) where you can fly kites or take hang gliding lessons, several historic light houses, a small NC aquarium, paddleboarding, kayak/canoeing and several great small local restaurants.