In the spirit of truly feeling “at home” in Charleston, I’m reviewing some of my favorite “hidden gems” around town. You might not see these businesses on TV, none of them are tacky tourist traps, and most people from outside Charleston may not have heard of them.
With TV shows filming here and my city gaining various accolades in the public eye, here’s where the Lowcountry locals go!
It’s no secret that I like local races, especially those benefiting charities.
I’ve never participated in a Color Run, a Mud Run, a “Run or Dye”, or a Rock and Roll series- although I’m sure they’re fun. I’m much more likely to do a 5K race benefiting a local charity or a person in need, and I’ve never travelled far for a race, because we have so many with great causes here in Charleston.
With a strict running and racing budget, I like to keep my money as local as possible, which is why I’m a proud supporter of Eagle Endurance, LLC.
Eagle Endurance is a local race organization operated by Chad Haffa, a firefighter by trade who plans and organizes races out of love for trails and running. Once upon a time, the act of running didn’t take place on sidewalks, roads, tracks, or treadmills- but through the forests and on trails. Eagle Endurance strives to get the community involved in mostly trail runs and promote running’s original intention- to catch dinner or avoid being someone else’s dinner.
My first Eagle Endurance race was last year, the Francis Marion Dirt Dash 12K, and one observation I had is that Chad’s races are organized by runners, for runners. Eagle Endurance strives to make sure runners have a great experience, with excellent race swag, including shirts (Last year, I got a Ladies XS shirt that actually fits!) and medals (A wooden finisher’s medal for a 12K? I’ll take it!).
The aid stations for the longer runs have gels, water, food, and everything a runner could ask for- including the Nutter Butter cookies that are now infamous in the Charleston running community!
Chad’s worked extra hard on this year’s Francis Marion Dirt Dash, arranging hotel discounts for those travelling from out of town and planning an after party with drink specials at the Mt. Pleasant Mellow Mushroom. He’s also been mowing the race trails, making sure they are safe and ready for the runners this weekend.
The finisher’s medals for this weekend’s half are also pretty amazing:
Along with being well taken care of, you leave an Eagle Endurance race knowing your money went to a great cause. I’m doing the Francis Marion Dirt Dash half marathon on Saturday, and a portion of those proceeds support the Mount Pleasant Fire Department’s Wildland Firefighting Program. Clay is participating in the 5K race, and those proceeds benefit the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, 19 of 20 firefighters who died on June 30th.
If you’re in or near the Charleston area or want a good destination race, check out Eagle Endurance. Here’s a list of upcoming runs and races:
- September 7: Francis Marion Dirt Dash (5K, 12K, Half Marathon)
- September 19: Dead Men Tell No Tales group run (This group run is *free*- you pick your distance! Dress up like a pirate, run in Downtown Charleston, then join everyone at the Griffon for food and beverages).
- September 21: CrossBridge Pancake Run (5K/10K)
- October 19: River Otter 10K Trail Relay
- November 1: Carrera de los Muertos (6 mile evening fun run that is also *free*)
- December 14: Last Chance 50K Trail Run and Relay (50K solo run, 2-person relay, or 4-person relay)
- February 15, 2014: Almost 9 Miler trail run
- May 3, 2014: Wambaw Swamp Stomp 50-miler (50 mile solo run, and 2, 4, 6, or 10 person relay options).
All of these look pretty fun, and a few of them are even free, so I hope you’ll check them out!
As always, I’m dedicated to only reviewing products and services I believe in and personally like. I was not paid or compensated for this post in any way. I know Chad personally and truly admire what he does and firmly believe he and his crew deserve all the praise and thanks they receive.