10 Half Marathons That Finish on the Beach

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Dreamstime

I’ll never forget the first time I ran the half at the 26.2 With Donna National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer in Jacksonville, Florida, a few years back.


The race overall was fantastic from start to finish, but the best part for me was a mile-long stretch along the Jacksonville beach in the race’s second half. Running with the waves on one side and sand dunes on the other, and wind blowing all around, made for a magical experience.

That’s what all of these races below have going for them, and you’ll no doubt have a memorable race whether it’s your 10th or 50th race, or the only half you ever run.

1) Anthem Half Marathon • Virginia Beach, VA

An easy and fun event for earning a new PR, this fast and flat race is held around St. Patrick’s Day, so plenty of runners don their best green attire and race parallel to the beach for 13.1 miles. Its final mile takes runners along the beach boardwalk for an ocean view as they cross the finish line.

Late March • Complete race info »

2) Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon • Myrtle Beach, SC

By the middle of October, mornings here often bring great running weather. This fast and flat half tests your summer conditioning with a point-to-point course with minimal turns, allowing runners to soak up five miles of oceanfront views. Pack a towel in your gear bag for the post-race beach party.

Mid October • Complete race info »

3) CoDel Half Marathon • Dewey Beach, DE

Part of the Coastal Delaware Running Festival, this out-and-back race sends runners north for just over five miles that feature views of the Atlantic from the Rehoboth Boardwalk. The second half wanders through seaside towns and finishes at the Hyatt-Lighthouse Cove waterfront complex.

Early May • Complete race info »

4) Shoreline Half Marathon • Ventura, CA

Don’t forget sunscreen for this oceanfront race, which features miles and miles of the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. Though most of the course is run along a bike path, there are sections of beachy boardwalk as well. At the finish line, you can cool off by soaking your tired legs in the Pacific while you down street tacos and beer at the post-race party.

Mid July • Complete race info »

5) Mountains 2 Beach Half Marathon • Ojai/Ventura, CA

This point-to-point course takes runners through 13.1 miles of some of Southern California’s most gorgeous terrain, as runners wind their way through Ventura’s westside valley towards the ocean. As they make their descent from the mountains, runners go through Pierpont Beach and finish along the Ventura Promenade.

Late May • Complete race info »

6) Bay to Brews Half Marathon • Newport, OR

This double-loop course takes runners along the bay, through the forest, and along the beach path of South Beach Park near Newport. There is a stretch in the middle that climbs over 200 feet in elevation — remember to incorporate hills in your training! The post-race party is held at Rogue Ales & Spirits, where you can celebrate with a beer and a bowl of Mo’s clam chowder.

Mid October • Complete race info »

7) Run Ocean Isle Beach Half Marathon • Ocean Isle Beach, NC

This sleepy oceanside town provides a beautiful backdrop for this large loop race, the first three miles of which bring runners inland with a scenic bridge crossing over the water. Next you’ll head back towards the Atlantic and run a loop the length of the island. The finish line is just a block away from the water, where runners can dip their toes (or whole bodies) into the ocean.

Early October • Complete race info »

8) A1A Half Marathon • Fort Lauderdale, FL

Starting three miles inland, the Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon course gets better by the mile. Runners head east towards the Atlantic before making a detour through Birch State Park, and after they finish mile 8 they’ll begin their journey home along A1A with the beach just over their left shoulders.

Mid February • Complete race info »

9) ORC Seaside Half Marathon • Seaside Heights, NJ

This could be the next place for you to PR. Starting from the famed Beachcomber Bar & Grill, runners head south into Seaside Park, along the bay, back to the boardwalk, and then through Seaside Heights. Though this race was first run in 1977, this year’s course is brand new, with more miles with water views and all-new places to cheer on fellow runners.

Mid October • Complete race info »

10) Maui Valley to the Sea Half Marathon • Kihei, HI

It goes without saying that just about any race in Hawaii will have gorgeous scenic views, and this race is no exception. Runners begin in Iao Valley Needle State Park and race downhill towards the Humpback Whale Sanctuary in Kihei, with the Pacific Ocean on their right during the final miles. It’s no exaggeration to say this is a half unlike any other.

Mid March • Complete race info »

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