Bob Spangler finishes his 50-mile run and raises money for island
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
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
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
“Unfortunately, our cries of injustice have fallen on deaf or uncaring
ears. These groups do not care about the traditional values
important to visitors and residents and don't care about us or our
families. Litigation, with all of its massive costs, seems to
our only hope. We all should be helping the best way we can
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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