The Battle of Mobile Bay February 16, 2013 - Becky Ryder
The Battle of Mobile Bay is a unique race that is held on Dauphin Island, AL each February. It begins at historic Fort Gaines and runs through a residential area and returns to Fort Gaines. The race is started with the firing of a cannon (more on that later) and there were just over 300 finishers.
Hollie and I have a small travel trailer which we towed down to the island on Friday, staying at the village owned campground which is adjacent to the bird sanctuary and the sea lab. This is a really old campground and is very popular with snowbird retirees wishing to escape the winter weather. We met quite a few and on Saturday night a group met at the campground rec center to play various string instruments and sing ballads and Americana songs. Some of the musicians were quite talented.
Back to the race---I managed to nearly miss the start. I was doing my warmup and decided to put my extra clothes in the truck. I was about 30 yards from the start when the cannon, which was aimed directly at me, was fired. I just stood there and waited for the racers to get to me and then I jumped in the race. Technically, I did not run the entire distance, but when I looked at the results and saw that my "advantage" did not make a difference in my age group place, I did not make a confession to the race director.
We have done this race 3-4 times and Hollie has won the male race walk division each year. I have won either the Senior Master award or my age group. This year, I am coming off an injury so I was happy to win the age group.
The post race goodies are quite nice. They had red beans and rice, hot dogs, cookies, bananas, soft drinks and beer.
After the race, we went to the Lighthouse Bakery for coffee and pastries. If you are ever on the island, this place is really good. They serve a variety of breads, cookies, pastries and also make sandwiches. Once we had our fill there, we went for a walk in the bird sanctuary.
We stayed Saturday and Sunday night which meant I was able to do a Sunday recovery run through residential areas. Hollie biked about 25 miles. We had hoped to hear more music on Sunday night, but the group did not meet. We probably would have stayed over through Monday night, but rain was predicted so we returned to Hattiesburg on Monday.
This is a race that I would highly recommend. Dauphin Island is a very interesting place, with quite a bit of available activities, ranging from birdwatching to beach combing to fishing or simply relaxing. Of course a visit to the Sea Lab is also a must do.
This is a link to some of those activities. http://www. dauphinisland.org/index.html
Here is a link to race results: http://www.pcpacers. org/results/12-13/bomb.html