2024 Daufuskie Island 100|50 and Relay Recap

Whitney Dutton, 1st place overall: 21:35:56

Gosh, where to begin? The Daufuskie Island 100 | 50 and relay has finally come and gone and boy, was it a doozy! The logistics for this race are very challenging from both a race director and runners’ perspectives.

Daufuskie Island is a bridgeless island meaning everything has to be carted over by boat. The island, although having a human presence for at least 6000 years, is sparsely populated with only 300 full time residents living on it. There is only a one pump gas station with a convenient store on the island. Street lights are mostly absent on the Daufuskie Island. Most of the road signs (if available) are eroded severely and have moss growing on them. Only about half of the roads on Daufuskie Island are paved with the other half, hard-packed unpaved dirt.


Daufuskie Island is like in a time-warp. The moment you step onto the island you feel like time has stopped there or perhaps runs on a different, slower time frame from anywhere else in the US. The vibe of Daufuskie Island is definitely a “It’s 5’O clock somewhere” atmosphere. Everything on Daufuskie is run on ‘island time’, meaning, “we’ll get to it when we do” mentality. There is no rush time on the island. Only the runners rush there.

Due to limited human presence, nature abounds on Daufuskie! A run through the island will give you wildlife viewing opportunities unlike you’ll see any where else in the Southeast US. Loggerhead turtles nest on the pristine beaches of Daufuskie. The infamous Daufuskie Island Fox squirrels are always a delight to behold throughout the island. The fox squirrels are giants among the squirrel family especially when compared to the common grey squirrels (which also inhabit the island). The Fox squirrels are about twice the size of the greys. The island is also home to numerous alligators, snakes, armadillos, raccoons, bobcats and a wide array of bird species. Dolphins are regularly seen bobbing up and down in the surf. The beaches are filled with sand dollars and sea stars. There are also way too many of the hellish fiends known locally as sand gnats that can make standing still on Daufuskie quite miserable. The sand gnats will engulf you in a dark cloud of horrendous annoyance.

On this backdrop of human history and wildlife abundance on Daufuskie Island is where the Daufuskie Island 100 | 50 and relay comes into play!

Forty-two hearty, strong-willed runners showed up and ran their hearts out on the 16.86 mile course that traverses 90% of the island, including an 2.5 mile out and back on the beach. Runners came from nine different states: TX, TN, MI, GA, FL, NC, SC, OH, VA and one runner from Great Britain. Of those runners, 13 set out to run 100 miles and eight finished. There were also fifteen 50 mile finishers and, four three-member relay teams competing.

Kerry and I caught Island Head’s ferry from Broad Creek Marina in Hilton Head Island and made it to Daufuskie on Thursday, February 29th with all of the race gear and food. Island Head also ferried over most of the runners to and from Daufuskie. Michael Withrow of Island Head and his team were so indispensable! They made sure everyone (along with their gear) got to and from the islands safely and efficiently. The boat ride was the beginning of an adventure filled weekend! The forty minute boat ride gave us many opportunities to spot dolphins which is always such a treat for me. The ferry took us to within a few hundred meters of the race start|finish at Freeport. Freeport, in case you didn’t know, is the heart and soul of Daufuskie Island.

On Friday morning, March 1st, we began marking the course and setting up base camp at Freeport. That task took most of the day to complete, making it more of a laborous endeavor due to the heavy rains washing over the island. By the time we finished marking the course we had to start the pre-race briefing at the Old Daufuskie Island Crab company which resides on the Freeport premises. At the pre-race briefing we met with the runners and went over the course, logistics, bag drops and such. You could feel the nervous excitement among the runners. The feeling I felt was like the ones I’ve felt just before I’ve undertaken an expedition. I love those feelings of anticipation, nervousness and, a little fear all bundled tightly together like a tasty burrito. 😉

After a final test of the timing system we tried to get some meaningful sleep before the start of this 32 hour adventurous race.

The race starts at Freeport, takes runners up the interior of the island, down to Bloody Point beach and up and through the Melrose neighborhood on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island. The course looks kind of like a distorted cave art painting of an odd shaped dog.

The Daufuskie Island 100|50 and relay started on time at 7:00 am with tens of thousands of sand gnat fans chasing the runners annoyingly along the way. The more you move the less the sand gnats bug you.

There were three aid stations on the course. The Rough Runners crew rotated in and out of the aid stations ensuring the runners had plenty of food, fuel, hydration and continuous encouragement to the runners. I could not be more proud and grateful to our amazing RR crew and volunteers! They did everything they could to ensure the runners had what they needed to help them complete their running goals for the race. It was a labor of love by the RR crew and volunteers like I’ve not witnessed before. When I say that we have the best crew and volunteers I whole-heartedly mean it! The race crew and volunteers were: Jason Edenfield, Bren Tompkins, Joe Buckler, Kevin Jones, Kurt and Barbie Hahn. All of these folks had one common goal which was to help the runners achieve their running goals. I am forever in their debt.

During an ultra running event you never know how things are going to turn out. There is just so much distance, time and geography to contend with and sometimes things jive and sometimes they don’t. Early on, though, Mrs. Whitney Dutton, took command of her race and trudged forward, knocking out mile after mile, always with the most pleasant of attitudes and beautiful smile. The rain, sand gnats, wind, beach, thick fog and immensely dark night did not deter her from reaching her goal. Mrs. Dutton finished the Daufuskie Island 100 in an impressive 21 hours and 35 minutes!

Mr. David McLennan finished his 100 mile excursion in 25 hours and 29 minutes. I caught up with David on the beach where I witnessed him high-fiving his kids who were playing on the beach as their father ran a crazy amount of miles. That was a very touching moment.

Peter Gustafson crossed the finish line at 27 hours and 35 minutes, making this his first 100 miler! It was so awesome watching him finish his race and fulfill his goal!


Not long after Peter’s finish, Mrs. Rita Coughlin clinched her second Rough Runners belt buckle, crossing the finish line at 28 hours and 44 minutes. It was such an honor to witness another 100 mile finish by this amazing lady!

Mr. Alberto Vargas, who has also run the CGG 155 mile point to point ultra we host showed up and kicked butt at Daufuskie, finishing his 100 in 29 hours and 5 minutes.

Maria Joyner and Sarah Lennicx finished close to one another with an impressive finish time of 29 hours and 33 minutes. This was Sarah’s second hundred miler with Rough Runners. A few years ago, Sarah ran and won the CGG 100 mile race.


The final 100 mile finisher was none other than running legend, 71 year old, Jim Miller with a finish time of 29 hours and 47 minutes. Mr. Miller had also just run a 100 miler just the weekend before! Jim ran his 100 in honor of a little girl fighting cancer. What a heart of gold!

On the 50 milers end, Mr. Mike Mott crushed it with a finish of 8 hours and 29 minutes. Interestingly, Mr. Mott told me upon finishing his race that this was his longest run ever and his last longest run ever. Several hours later I ran across him at aid station 2 where he was picking some supplies he had left there and told me that he thinks he can knock 20 minutes of his time next time around. I think Mike caught the ultra bug, eh? 😉


Hilton Head Island resident, Mrs. Jennifer Knapp took second place overall in the 50 miler and 1st place female. Mrs. Knapp is a seriously strong runner! She finished strong and chatted with me afterwards like it was nothing. She hung around encouraging and cheering on her running buddies, Katie Nicknish and Laura Peters who finished their respective race at a very respectable finish time of 10 hours and 49 minutes.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Savannah’s own, Tyler Barrett, on another exceptional strong performance with a finish time of 10 hours and 57 minutes. Mrs. Barrett is an amazing human being. She is a fire fighter, a race director, an extremely strong, fit athlete. She is tough as nails with a heart of pure gold. She’s a first responder and one of the most admirable humans I’ve ever met.

The Daufuskie Island 50 mile relay turned out to be a big competitive hit! I love relay running. I am so happy that runners embraced the 50 mile relay of the Daufuskie Island 100 ultra. The race had four teams: The Belly Brigade captained by incredible runner, Matthew Scott Owenby. He put together a dream team of sorts with Ronald Vargas and Jessica Solomon. The 50 mile relay was very competitive between the Belly Brigade and the 1st Imperial Beach Boys. In the end, though, the 1st Imperial Beach Boys powered through to a first place finish of 7:04:56. The Belly Brigade finished in 7:13:38. Sisters with Blisters finished strong with a 9:08 finish time. And, Kelly’s Crew finished in 12:14.

Ultra running is hard. It brings out the best of humanity, in my opinion. Ultra runners are some of the kindest, most hard working, driven over achievers I have ever encountered. These folks not only do hard things, – they also give back a lot! They train hard, play hard and hang around and cheer everyone else running, helping and encouraging others to achieve their own goals. When I say that ultra runners are the best of humanity I thoroughly mean it. I love being around ultra runners! They inspire me so much! Their kindness, drive and positivity makes race directing so fulfilling to me.

The runners at the Daufuskie Island 100 | 50 and relay ran a total of 1700 miles around Daufuskie Island. That’s pretty amazing, eh? That’s like running from Savannah, GA to Denver, CO!

The inaugural Daufuskie Island 100 | 50 and relay is coming back next year! We will be offering the following distances: 100 mile solo, 50 mile solo, 50 mile relay. The date for next year’s race is set for March 29, 2025. The race will again begin and end at Freeport. Island Head will again be the official ferry company for the race.

We are requesting feedback from all of the inaugural Daufuskie Island 100 | 50 mile and relay runners on how and where we can improve their running experience on this beautiful and enchanting island. One of the things we kept hearing from the runners was that they loved the beach section of the race. So, we are looking into how we may be able to add more beach distance without altering the course significantly.

For all of you that ran Daufuskie Island with us this past weekend, please know that you each will forever hold a special place in our hearts as the first to accomplish this ultra! I am so inspired by each of you. You each bring a unique strength that is so very admirable.

My heart was so fulfilled at witnessing each of you meet and succeed at your running goals this past weekend. Thank you all for coming out and running Daufuskie Island with us! This race has been in the works for the past three years. I am so grateful to each of you that came and ran it! I hope that each of you are proud of what you accomplished at the Daufuskie Island 100|50 and relay. Your running journey inspires not just me but so many others too! Keep doing what you guys do so well! You all are great humans that fill my heart with tremendous joy and fulfillment.

Results: https://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=103214

Facebook Daufuskie Island 100 Group

Daufuskie Island 100 photos

Take care, be well and run happy!

much love…

Rough Runners.