DFL 24 Hour Ultra: Run and Make a Statement about the Environment

The DFL 24 Hour Ultra is a locally grown ultra running race held at the Old Roberd’s Dairy Farm during Earth Day weekend.  The “DFL” in the name of the race stands for “Dairy Farm Love”. This race was born as a celebration of running in nature in one of Savannah’s most beautiful and, largest tracts of green space.

The privately owned, Roberd’s Dairy Farm, located at 2500 Tennessee Ave, Savannah, Ga. is literally a breath of fresh air in an ever burgeoning area of urban sprawl.  The DF is adjacent to Bonaventure Cemetery and, is backed by marsh that is fed by small tributaries extending from the Wilmington River. The DF, like much of Savannah, is an area of great historical significance.  It was one of the oldest and longest established dairy farms in Savannah, ceasing to operate in the early 1980’s. For movie lore lovers, a scene from Forest Gump was filmed at the Roberd’s Dairy Farm….young Jenny and Forest were filmed hanging out on one of the long reaching limbs of a live oak that is pretty close to being in the geographical center of the property.  The tree is affectionately known as the Forest Gump Tree. Others know the tree as the Sentinel as it seems to keep watch over the DF. Whatever name you may know it as, this beautiful live oak has been a part of the Savannah fabric for several hundred years. If that tree could talk, imagine the things it could say!

Sadly, the ever changing coastal marshlands are impacting the health of the Forest Gump tree.  The marsh is encroaching on the land where the Sentinel has stood firmly for centuries, breaching it’s long reaching roots with brackish water.  Remnants of giants that succumbed to the onslaught of the ever encroaching marshland pockmark the 166 acres of the DF land. These giants are now skeletal shells of what they were when the DF was more pasture than marsh.  The once proud Forest Gump tree seems to be in its last throes of life.

The Roberd’s Dairy Farm is a very special place in Savannah.  The Pegasus Riding Academy, “a therapeutic riding program providing safe, professional and ethical equine assisted activities for individuals with physical, mental or emotional disabilities” calls the DF home.  Peggi Noon is the wonderful soul that runs Pegasus Riding Academy. You always see her working at the DF, caring for the horses and the children that attend the academy.

Victory Gardens, a landscaping local company also calls the DF home.

Vertu Farms is housed at the DF too. Vertu grows organic food for local Savannah restaurants. It currently has a funding account to build a large green house. Click here to learn about the green house funding.

Artist Matt Toole has a studio at the DF. His artwork is quite impressive! Check it out here.

The Roberd’s Dairy Farm is owned by Christie and Brian Redmon.  Christie’s mother was one of the “Roberd’s” of the DF’s namesake. They are great stewards of the land, preserving nature and allowing responsible use of the land.

For information on the Old Roberd’s Dairy Farm (hosting an event there, history of the place…contact Star Kotowskie (manager of the DF) at
912.224.1596.

Today, the Roberd’s Dairy Farm is not just home to the beautiful horses of the Pegasus Riding Academy but to myriad wildlife species.  Really, get out there and check out the DF. You’ll soon realize how special this place is.

It is at this place, the Roberd’s Dairy Farm, that the DFL 24 hour ultra has been held for the past three years.  We hold this running event here because of the beauty of the land…because of the abundance of nature there…because of the wonderful people that own and protect this land…those that work and care for this land.  It is a place where you can commune with nature.

As John Muir mused, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

So, it is at the Roberd’s Dairy Farm.  

Come and celebrate nature with us April 20th!  The DFL 24 Hour ultra offers the following distances for running:

  • 3 hours
  • 6 hours
  • 12 hours
  • 24 hours
  • 12 and 24 hours of relay running.  Relay teams may have two to eight runners.

Every registered runner will have a prayer flag made for them and hung along the start|finish line.  After the race, we will transfer all of the prayer flags to the prayer flag project which is on a single track trail at the DF (which is part of the course).  Blank prayer flags will be available for runners and spectators to fill out if they would like.

All registered runners will also get a tank top.  Runners that complete their registered for timed race will get a finisher’s medal along with a personalized certificate with your name, race, date and how many miles you ran.

The top three male and females of each race will be awarded finisher medals, certificates and the award signifying the race they placed in.

Any runners that run 100-plus miles in 24 hours will get a beautiful buckle (see picture below). The runner that gets the most miles over 100 will get a buckle plus a signet ring with the DFL logo and their name and mileage inscribed on it.

For this year’s race we’re asking runners and/or general public to make a statement about the man-made perils of our environment with a piece of art you make and display and show at the race.  Think about the trash that is clogging up our waterways and killing wildlife. Think about the mountains of plastic that we are creating and polluting our streets, neighborhoods and forests with.  Think about deforestation, animal and plant extinctions exacerbated by man’s greed. Think about the chemicals we use in our yards, in our homes and on our crops. Think about the microplastics in our drinking water and found in the fish we eat.  Consider the future we are handing off to our children and their children and, what we are prepared to do now in order to make the hand-off to the children one that gives them hope and a future worth striving for and looking forward to.

Consider all of this as you think about the art piece you want to make and display at the DFL 24 Hour ultra during Earth Day weekend.

Come out to the Dairy Farm that weekend and run or watch amazing athletes run the two mile course through forests, pastures and marshland for 3 hours, 6, 12 or 24.  Enjoy nature at its finest at the Roberd’s Dairy Farm.

We’ll also have a slackline and bocce at the race for you to play around with. An night, we’ll whip out the projector and run movies on ultra running and extreme sports.

For race information go to: DFL 24 Hour Ultra

Here is a list of the wildlife seen at the DF:

Mammals

  1. Bobcat
  2. Coyotes
  3. Marsh rabbits
  4. Raccoons
  5. Red foxes
  6. Grey foxes
  7. Grey squirrels
  8. Armadillos
  9. dolphin

Birds

  1. Great horned owls
  2. Barred owls
  3. Green herons
  4. Great egrets
  5. Great blue herons
  6. Little blue heron
  7. Black crowned night heron
  8. Snowy egret
  9. Pilleated wood peckers
  10. Cormorant
  11. Mourning dove
  12. Red bellied woodpecker
  13. Red-winged black bird
  14. Red tail hawks
  15. osprey
  16. Crows
  17. Wood storks
  18. Bald eagle
  19. Blue jays
  20. Red cardinals
  21. Turkey vultures
  22. Mocking bird
  23. Grackle
  24. White ibis
  25. Brown pelican

Reptiles

  1. Eastern box turtle
  2. Snapping turtle
  3. Mud turtle
  4. Diamond back terrapin
  5. Alligator
  6. Corn snake
  7. Rat snake

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