Crossing the finish line at Storm the Beach.

Maybe Storm the Beach is a race, but it’s a race with a very different feel. To be sure, it is a race; everyone wears a timing chip, race results are posted—although they haven’t been posted yet.

But what makes Storm the Beach so special is that it is so focused on family and groups that how fast anyone runs the race becomes secondary to accomplishing something as a team.

There were three races run this morning—a 5-miler, 3-miler and a one mile fun run. Everything begins and ends at Jennette’s Pier. The course is completely on the beach, and running three or five miles on sand under any circumstances is tough. Add in a about a dozen obstacles and it becomes downright exhausting.

This is a race that’s all about fathers helping a son haul a 50 pound sack of sand to the top of a frame; women who have overcome breast cancer dressing in pink and declaring they can beat any hurdle; it’s about a family running together and coming to the finish line holding hands.

The obstacles are designed for fun—how serious can you take hopping along in a burlap bag or running into the surf with a whack-a-doodle, but it still take considerable effort to complete the course, and it was surprising how many people who started finished.

There were some people who were pushing themselves to see how fast they could run the course—which is fine. At one point it appeared as though a man and a woman were vying for the lead. 

But the day really was about family and friends and accomplishing something special.

Sponsored by the Outer Banks Sporting Events—the same folks who do the Marathon in November—the money is going to a good cause—the proceeds are shared evenly between the Outer Banks Relief Foundation and the Dare Education Foundation.