Beach Access and Park Issues
August 16, 2010

Hatteras islander will run 50 miles to raise
money for beach access and cancer patients

The Run for Hatteras Challenge is now underway.

Hatteras Island resident Bob Spangler has challenged himself to run 50 miles on Friday, Nov. 26.

The run will begin at the south end of the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet and end at the Hatteras Ferry Docks. 

Spangler’s goal in attempting this grueling effort is twofold. 

First, he wants to use this as an opportunity to increase public awareness of the fight to maintain access to the beaches within the seashore.  Secondly, he hopes to raise donations for two of his favorite non-profits. He has issued a challenge to the residents and visitors of Hatteras Island to donate $1 per mile completed, to be equally divided between the Outer Banks Preservation Association (OBPA) and the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation. 

The motivation to Bob in his own words:

“Although I'm not a native to this island, I've vacationed here for almost 30 years.  Seven years ago I moved to Avon and now call this my home.  In the past few years, I've seen the burdens placed on the residents and visitors of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands by the excessive and unwarranted beach closures enacted by the U.S. Government's Department of Interior agencies at the urging of environmental groups.

“Unfortunately, our cries of injustice have fallen on deaf or uncaring ears.  These groups do not care about the traditional values so important to visitors and residents and don't care about us or our families.  Litigation, with all of its massive costs, seems to be our only hope.  We all should be helping the best way we can to fight these unconscionable groups and their ridiculous actions."

If you accept Bob's challenge, you make your pledge on

Visitors, island residents, and businesses are accepting the challenge and issuing challenges of their own.

 John Couch, owner of the Red Drum Shopping Center in Buxton and president of the OBPA has pledged $5 per mile and has challenged all of the other service stations on the island to make the same pledge.  John also challenged his brother Stewart, president of Hatteras Realty, to make a pledge.  Stewart agreed and issued a challenge of his own to all of the realty companies on the island to make the $5 pledge.  Frank Folb of Frank and Fran’s Tackle in Avon, not to be out done by the Couch brothers, jumped on the wagon, pledged $5 per mile and challenged all the other tackle shops in Dare County to do likewise.

Bob Spangler, who will be 60 in October, has been an avid runner for more than 12 years.  If you've driven down Highway 12 at 6 o'clock in the morning, you've likely seen Bob making his way between Avon and Buxton.  A native West Virginian, Bob decided to "retire" to Hatteras seven years ago, after visiting the island for 30 years.  "Retire" to Bob means teaching chemistry and coaching the cross country team at Cape Hatteras Secondary School.

Actually, Bob's first retirement was from the U.S. Army.  Bob was an infantry captain with combat experience in the Vietnam War.  After the military, Bob put his undergraduate degrees in forestry and science education and master’s degree in environmental science to good use as a teacher for more than 20 years in public schools and colleges.

This past winter, Bob's love of running was interrupted b
y rotator cuff surgery.  He was counting the days until the doctor gave him a green light to resume his passion. 

Over the past 12 years, Bob has run numerous races in the 5 kilometer to 15-mile range.  He's completed four marathons, and one 50 mile run.

On the day of the run, you can follow Bob's progress online at the OBPA website, or Frank and Fran's website – The date of the run is subject to change, depending on the weather.

At the end of the run, you will be able to fulfill your pledge by either mailing a check to the OBPA, or by Paypal at the OBPA donations button on its website.

The OBPA is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit corporation.  Donations are tax deductible.

The Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, also a non-profit, helps island cancer patients pay for treatment and medications not covered by insurance and also helps them pay for travel for treatment off the island.

The training for a run of this distance, almost twice as long as a marathon, is extremely demanding, filled with potential injury, and usually favors the road and not the runner. 

"I'll do my best to complete the training and the run,” Spangler says. “Will you please help fight those who wish to remove us from our island?”


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