November 29, 2010

Bob Spangler finishes his 50-mile run and raises money for island non-profits


Bob Spangler’s 50-mile run from Oregon Inlet to Hatteras Inlet on Saturday, Nov. 27, began well before daylight – at 4:09 a.m. at the south end of the Bonner Bridge.

It ended 121/2 hours later at the Hatteras Inlet Ferry Docks, just as the sun was setting in the western sky.

Along the way, Spangler, a 60-year old resident of Avon and science teacher at Cape Hatteras Secondary School for Coastal Studies, was urged along in each village by his fans – friends, supporters, and colleagues and students from the school.

Signs in front of many businesses had been heralding his run all week.  “Run, Bob, Run” was on message boards all along Highway 12.

And for his effort, Spangler raised more than $4,000, which will be divided between the Outer Banks Preservation Association and the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation.

Pledges were still being made over the weekend, and money was contributed in donation jars at tackle shops.

Spangler’s goal was to use the run as an opportunity to increase public awareness of the fight to maintain access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches.  And he wanted to raise money for two of his favorite non-profits – OBPA and HICF.

Before his run, Spangler said:

“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."

Spangler’s inlet-to-inlet run was originally planned for Friday, Nov. 26, but was postponed a day for weather.  The forecast for Friday was for a chance of thundershowers with a stiff southwest wind, which Spangler would have had to run against for much of his trip down the island.

Saturday morning was cooler but more hospitable.

When Spangler started at Oregon Inlet, winds were northwest at 20 mph and the temperature was 55.  That put the wind chill at 35 degrees.

Spangler started running through Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in the dark but watched the day dawn to the east.

He arrived in Rodanthe at 6:40 a.m. – just before sunrise and 20 minutes ahead of schedule. He had coffee at Island Convenience and continued through the villages.  By then, the temperature was down to 48 degrees.

Spangler got to Avon an hour early, where he stopped at Frank and Fran’s tackle shop and greeted more fans.

“Bob got off to a fast start, possibly due to the strong backwind, and probably due to a little adrenalin,” said David Scarborough of OBPA who orchestrated behind the scenes for the race.

“He thinks the slower finish may be due in part to the fast start,” Scarborough added. “He hit the wall between Avon and Buxton and slowed his pace to a walk for much of the remainder of the run at doctor’s advice.”

Dr. Al Hodges of HealthEast met Spangler at Frank and Fran’s, at Cape Hatteras Secondary School in Buxton, and several other stops along the way to monitor his physical condition. 

After his early arrival in Buxton, Spangler slowed down to a walk for much of the rest of the run.  However, he arrived at the Hatteras Inlet Ferry Docks, just 30 minutes behind his 12-hour goal and just a few minutes before sunset.

After the race, Hodges administered an EKG at the Hatteras HealthEast center, and everything checked out just right for a 60-year-old man who had just run 50 miles.

Also looking out for Spangler along the way were Paul and Kim Gillikin, who provided support that included Gatorade, water, fruit, and snacks, as well as dry clothing at strategic locations.

“Bob was really encouraged by the friends and former and present students who showed up along the way to cheer him on,” Scarborough said. “Many joined him during the run, some for several miles. Many in the group that accompanied him across the finish line had started in Buxton.”

Spangler was out and about early Sunday morning, Scarborough said, and “you would have never known what he’d done the day before.”

“His enthusiasm was still on high, and he was still trying to consume calories to replenish,” Scarborough added. “His legs are sore, but all of those who made bets he wouldn’t make it back to work Monday morning will lose!”

Indeed, on Monday Spangler replied to a “thank you” e-mail from the cancer foundation.

“I enjoyed the run, and there is talk about next year and making it a larger event. Who knows?”

Click here
to see a slide show of Bob Spangler’s 50-mile run down Hatteras Island.

 Comments are always welcomed!

     Subject :

     Name :  (required)

     Email :  (required, will not be published)

     City :   (required)    State :   (required)

     Your Comments:

May be posted on the Letters to the Editor page at the discretion of the editor.