Kous Kouri Race at Grayton Beach State Park Nov 30

November 14, 2019 by Manny Chavez

There are lots of foot races that take place in SoWal, but few offer the communion with nature experienced by runners participating  in the Grayton Beach Kous Kouri 8 & 4 Miler to be held this year on Saturday, Nov. 30 at Grayton Beach State Park. This run is a genuine TRAIL run beginning and ending near the main pavilion at the park.

Runners will take off at 8 a.m., head north on asphalt, cross Scenic 30A, and then, the FUN begins. The 4-miler will take runners through a mostly pine-straw or oak leaf-covered trail with majestic slash pines and oak canopies that are truly postcard-ready in their beauty. Participants should get set to traverse over tree roots, rocks, sand (or mud if the weather has so dictated), but mostly this is a fun run that has been enjoyed by individuals and families since its inception two years ago.

Race director Bill Gibson (checking out the trail above), himself a runner (he won’t be running this one as his directorship will take up all his time and energy), is proud of the event and can’t say enough about the support he has received from the SoWal community.

“We have three levels of sponsorship with Beau Interiors as the main sponsor. We had 66 race participants last year and we expect around 150 this year,” he explains.

Word of mouth has helped spread the word. As race participant Bradley McCoy, who ran last year’s race puts it: “My family spends Thanksgiving on the beach (we live in Bardstown, KY) and we wanted to explore some new races while visiting the area. GBKK was my first off-road race and I loved it! The people were kind and it seemed more like a fun family gathering than a race. You can’t beat  the scenery and the unique hardware (swag bags) the finishers receive. I look forward to running this race many years to come.”

The 8-Miler course starts off at the same time as the 4-miler and continues where the 4-miler turns around. The remaining course can be a bit more challenging with more sand, tree roots, a potential creek or two to traverse, but is still picturesque throughout. The path takes you near the north end of Western Lake and snakes around the park property with a water stop set up at the half-way mark. The pace for this race is best described as “conversational” with no PB’s (personal bests) as stated goals.

According to Race Director Bill, 100 % of the race proceeds will once again benefit the Streethearts, a rescue program for children living on the street in Cap-Haitian, Haiti. Streethearts is dedicated to ending the population of homeless children in Haiti.

Emily Davis, Director of Development at Streethearts, has this to say: “When Bill came to us with the idea of starting the Kous Kouri race, we were ecstatic that a fundraiser could include something so near and dear to the Streethearts story. We are so grateful for the continued support from the Grayton Beach community! Good luck and thank you for your support of our kids and staff in Cap-Haitien, Haiti!”

Following our interview, Bill decided to test-run a short portion of the 4-miler wearing his flip-flops…now  THAT’s a dedicated runner!

“Kous Kouri,” the name of the race, loosely translates to “trail running” in Haitian Creole,” explains Bill.

Registered runners will have a great post- race shindig to look forward to with the Grayton Beer Brewpub offering up chicken gumbo and two beverages of their choice (beer or non-alcoholic beverages). Race bibs will have three tabs across the bottom which can used to partake of these fine offerings….so don’t forget your bib! The awards ceremony will take place at the Brewpub with overall male and female winners taking home a $100 gift card Grand  Prize (for the 8-miler) and $50  gift card for the 4-miler. Age group awards for both males and females will also be given.
This race is a great opportunity to enrich your environmental self….a fun-run you’ll cherish and want to do all over again!

To register for the race, or for further information, go to 2019 Grayton Beach Kous Kouri 8 & 4 miler on Facebook. Entry fee: $30 (4-miler) or $50 (8-miler). Packet pick-up will be at the Grayton Beer Brewpub (170 E. County Hwy. 30A) on Friday, Nov. 29 from noon to 6 p.m. or on race day at the Grayton Beach State Park pavilion (next to starting line) from 6:30 a.m.-7:45 a.m. To be guaranteed a race shirt at packet pick-up, entrants must be registered by Sunday, Nov. 17.



Manny Chavez's picture

Manny has been a working photojournalist his entire career and is now writing stories/taking pix for He and his wife Kris live in Seagrove and have “seen a lot come and go.” Lots of stories have been told, with lots more to come!

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