Conservation // 6 min Read

Palmetto Bluff Buffalo Run 2023: A Celebration of Endurance, Nature, and Community

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Dec 28, 2023

A Recap of the 2034 Buffalo Run

The Palmetto Bluff Buffalo Run celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sunday, December 11, 2023, drawing in a record-breaking crowd of over 500 runners. The event, nestled in the heart of Palmetto Bluff’s 20,000 acres of natural splendor, featured a sold-out roster of participants ready to take on the challenge of the 10K, 30K, or 50K trail race. As the sun rose over this picturesque Lowcountry setting, runners set out to explore some of the most scenic trails in the South, each course offering a diverse mix of single track, dirt road, and gravel road.

Winners Circle

The competitive spirit was palpable as runners vied for victory in their respective categories. The 10 K category saw John Duberley claim the top spot, while David Adams conquered the 30K. Maggie Weber emerged victorious in the challenging 50K category. The team competitions were equally fierce, with Team Lightning Legs taking the honors in the 30K relay and Team 65th Street claiming victory in the 50K relay.

A Run Through History: The Legend of Old Bill

The Buffalo Run isn’t just a race; it’s a living tribute to Palmetto Bluff’s rich history, embodied by the legendary buffalo, Old Bill. In the 1960s, Old Bill roamed Bull Island, owned by the Loomis family, and would frequently swim through May River, drift down Cauley’s Creek, and end up at the Bluff. The conservation staff would herd them away, but Old Bill was determined to make a permanent residence at the Bluff. Today, Old Bill is remembered as a Bluff legend, honored at Buffalo’s, a Wilson Village restaurant where his mounted figure rests atop the fireplace.

Just like Old Bill once roamed through Palmetto Bluff’s historic woodlands, runners now honor him by participating in the annual Buffalo Run. This connection to history adds a unique dimension to the event, making it more than just a race but a celebration of the land’s enduring spirit.

Navigating the Buffalo Run

The Buffalo Run commenced in Compartment 8 Field, a historical game plot built in the early 1970s as a wildlife feeding area. From there, runners embarked on a journey through diverse landscapes, starting with pine flatwoods, home to loblolly, slash, pond pines, and a dense understory of saw palmetto and fetterbush. This habitat provided shelter for nesting birds, white-tailed deer, and bobcats, creating an immersive experience for the runners.

The course unfolded with slight elevation differences as runners approached the longleaf pine hill, home to the northern long-eared bat and the hooded pitcher plant, among other species. Cemetery Road, aged more than 150 years, showcased the remains of the quail woods used by former Union Camp visitors and guides for hunting. The route continued, leading runners to the intriguing “Turkey Foot,” an intersection resembling a turkey foot when viewed from above.

As runners turned onto Whitehouse Road, they encountered the most challenging part of the track — over a mile of deep sand. This final stretch tested the limits of participants, pushing them to summon their remaining reserves of energy before triumphantly crossing the finish line.

Suggested: How to Prepare for the Buffalo Run

Buffalo Run 2023: Choose Your Challenge

The Palmetto Bluff Buffalo Run offered participants the freedom to choose their level of challenge with three competitive course options:

10K: One lap of the route

30K: Three laps of the route

50K: Five laps of the route

Runners also had the option to tackle the race individually or join forces with others as part of a relay team. The flexibility of the event catered to various skill levels, ensuring an inclusive and dynamic experience for all participants.

For those intrigued by the prospect of joining the Buffalo Run in the future, information about registration and further details can be found here.

Celebrating Achievements: The After Party

The Buffalo Run wasn’t just about the race; it was a celebration of achievements and the indomitable spirit of the participants. Those who registered before November 18th were rewarded with long-sleeve shirts, and all finishers, whether completing the 10K, 30K, 50K, or a relay, earned coveted Buffalo Run finishers medals. A special Buffalo Head Award awaited those who conquered the formidable 50K challenge.


The accolades didn’t end there. Overall, male and female winners in each race category and the winning relay teams were honored with the prestigious Bronze Buffalo Awards. As the race dust settled and the awards were distributed, the Buffalo Run After Party kicked into gear. Participants were treated to complimentary beer and a platter of buffalo wings, providing a fitting reward for their dedication and perseverance.

However, the significance of the registration fees extended beyond covering the costs of apparel and prizes. A portion of the funds raised from the Buffalo Run would be donated to support the research initiatives of the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, reinforcing the commitment to preserving the natural wonders of this extraordinary landscape.

Click here to make a donation!

Run Home to Palmetto Bluff: A Life Well-Lived

The Buffalo Run showcases the natural beauty of Palmetto Bluff and the community’s commitment to conservation and outdoor enjoyment. Beyond the race, Palmetto Bluff beckons as a place to call home, offering a unique fusion of luxurious living and a profound connection to nature.

After exploring the Lowcountry terrain of Palmetto Bluff during the Buffalo Run, participants were left with a deep appreciation for the Bluff’s history, inhabitants, and scenery. Palmetto Bluff stands as the gateway to a life well-lived, and the invitation is extended to all who seek a unique blend of luxury and nature.

To schedule a tour or plan a visit to Palmetto Bluff and discover the magic for yourself, click the button below. The team at Palmetto Bluff looks forward to welcoming you to this exceptional community, where every day is an opportunity to embrace the beauty of nature and the spirit of camaraderie. 

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