Running a race on the beach is a fairly rare occurrence, and running one at night happens even less frequently. Throw in a full moon, and all the makings of a unique event line up for next week’s Galveston Sand Crab 5K and 10K on Aug. 17.
The Sand Crab course follows the shore line from Apffel Park on the eastern tip of Galveston Island, heading toward Stewart Beach before making a turnaround at the 1.55-mile point for the 5K, or 3.1-mile marker for the 10K distance. The course is marked and lit by red lights, and runners are required to carry flashlights or wear headlamps to light their path.
The 5K and 10K start at 8:30 p.m., preceded by a Kid’s Mile at 8. Parents are welcome to run with their kids for the Kid’s Mile at no extra charge, and course marshals and other adults will also be on the course to keep everyone safe.
The Sand Crab is walker-friendly. The 5K and 10K are open to walkers, and have a two-hour time limit. For safety reasons, anyone who reaches the 10K turnaround after 9:30 p.m. will not be permitted to walk back.
Upon returning to East Beach, participants will be treated to a post-race party with music and beer from Galveston Island Brewing Company. Apffel Park’s usual parking policies will be in force, with a $15 fee per car. Limited parking is available outside the park.
Running on sand, either in a race or on a training run, can be a mini-vacation for weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees and ankles. Soft sand absorbs more impact, so there is only about a fourth as much impact on each footstrike as there is when running on pavement.
However, that forgiving surface adds a challenge to each forward step. A 2013 study estimated that running on loose sand required at least 10 percent more effort. That challenge show up in the times posted at previous Sand Crab races: 2018 marked the first time the winning time was under 40 minutes.
Online registration for the Galveston Sand Crab 5K and 10K is open at runintexas.com/gcrab.