What is the meaning behind our race logos? That is a question I’ve been asked more than a few times. Well, there is always a lot of thought put into our race logos, that’s for sure. The Daufuskie Island Marathon is perhaps the one I get asked the most about.
With the Daufuskie Island Marathon, the symbols are quite striking. I mean, there’s the sea turtle, the hamsa, a horse and, the one well recognized, – the crescent moon and palmetto tree symbolizing the state of South Carolina’s flag. The hamsa, which I’ve taken a more stylizied form from the old world (middle eastern) symbol symbolizing the hand of G-d. In our part of the world, Southeast United States, it is a symbol used by the Gullah people for protection, keeping out evil spirits. I came upon this symbol when I first visited Daufuskie Island back in 2016.
We docked on the northwestern end of the island where the popular restaurant marsh side mommas was located. As we began our run from there, I saw a flat board nailed to a tree with a blue painted sketch of a human hand with an eye in the center of the palm. I was quite intrigued. So, when I got back home later that day I began to look into this and that’s when I began to learn about the rich Gullah culture of the Southeastern United States, specifically in the South Carolina and Georgia coastal communities. It’s a splendid beautiful culture. The Gullah artwork is so colorful and vibrant.
The horse that you see on the logo of the Daufuskie Island Marathon and Half captures the unique breed/strain of the Marsh Tacky. The Marsh Tacky is a horse of Spanish origin that easily adapted to the sultry swampy conditions of the barrier islands of South Carolina. Today, the marsh tacky is an endangered species that calls Daufuskie Island home.
Lastly, there’s the sea turtle that is prominently displayed on the DI Marathon and Half logo. Daufuskie Island is one of the most important loggerhead turtle nesting locations on the United States east coast. Loggerhead sea turtles and all sea turtles worldwide are endangered.
Run 4 a Reason Rough Runners supports the Daufuskie Island Conservancy with proceeds from the marathon and half as we believe in being good stewards of our coastal communities. As you more than likely know, sea turtles are some of the oldest living creatures on the planet. Their existence dates back millions of years. In the last two-hundred years humans have almost driven every species of sea turtle to the brink of extinction. The sea turtle will always be prominently displayed on all of our Daufuskie Island race medals as we stand with all of those that want to see this magnificent creature survive and flourish in our seas again.
Moving on from the DI Marathon, Run 4 a Reason Rough Runners hosts the Bronze Dragonfly 30 hour ultra. The logo for BDF is very symbolic of mental health, employing the semi-colon “;”. The semi-colon in mental health is the symbol to continue on, – always, no matter how hard it gets. The BDF logo also includes the dragonfly which is a symbol of transformation, rebirth, change, courage and happiness. It is not without reason that we hold the Bronze Dragonfly ultra at Lake Mayer in Savannah, Ga. After all, there is a statue of one of the matriarchs of the running community in Savannah in honor of this amazing woman, Julie Backus Smith. Ms. Smith struggled her whole life with mental illness and yet she championed so much good and well-being for Savannah, GA.
There is so much to say about this incredible human being. Ms. Smith was an educator, county commissioner, Telfair Museum Trustee, one of the founders of the Savannah Striders running club, was the first woman from Savannah to run the Boston Marathon (1979 and 1980). She volunteered at the Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy initiative on behalf of residents in need of health, housing and legal assistance.
That she struggled and lost her life due to mental illness is something that has had a profound impact on my wife (Kerry Dulina) and I. Personally, I struggle with mental illness. So, the symbol behind the Bronze Dragonfly ultra and the location where the race is held has special meaning to me. Ms. Julie Backus Smith, in so many ways is a hero of mine, although, I never had the privilege to meet her.
The rest of our race logos have tremendous meaning as well to us as you will notice in them a common theme of wildlife, green spaces…things that we love and cherish and, want to conserve. What a sad world it would be without an abundance of wildlife and green spaces in our communities. So, you will always see a lot of that in our race logos and awards.
I hope this kind of helps answer some of the curiosities of our races symbols on logos, medals and awards.
Take care, be well and keep exploring this great big beautiful world of ours and, let’s keep cities and wild places clean.