Every state in the southeast is famous for something. Most United States Presidents have been born in Virginia. Georgia is home to the most major golf championships in the country. South Carolina is the nation’s largest producer of peaches. Michael Jordan was raised and found his earliest start in basketball at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Florida is home to the world’s very first Disneyland Park – Magic Kingdom. Forrest Gump was from Alabama. In this article, we’ll round up some of the best half marathons in the southeast.
Why pick to run a half marathon in the southeast? While in the southwest states, the year round climate is hot and dry, representative of a desert climate. The southeast sees the same temperatures but with a subtropical humidity. The southeast is great for training year round. They are home to half marathons that give runners versatility of running a race close to the water or through tropical palm tree lined streets.
2023-2024 Calendar of Southeast Marathons
- Tuscaloosa Half Marathon in Tuscaloosa, AL | March 25, 2023
- Charlottesville Half Marathon in Charlottesville, VA | April 1, 2023
- City of Oaks Half Marathon in Raleigh, NC | November 5, 2023
- Richmond Half Marathon in Richmond, VA | November 11, 2023
- Outer Banks Half Marathon in Nags Head, NC | November 12, 2023
- Kiawah Island Half Marathon in Kiawah Island, SC | December 9, 2023
- Key West Half Marathon in Key West, FL | January 2024
- Charleston Half Marathon in Charleston SC | January 2024
- Big Beach Half Marathon in Gulf Shores, AL | January 2024
- Hilton Head Half Marathon in Hilton Head, SC | February 2024
- Skidaway Island Half Marathon in Savanna, GA | February 2024
- Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC | March 2024
Charleston Half Marathon in Charleston, SC
Southern charm meets New England-esque architecture in the coastal city of Charleston. You’ll be well-positioned to invoke a higher power during mile 12 of your half marathon in the Holy City. It received its nickname because of the numerous churches dotting its downtown area.
This course is generally flat, as you run past historic sites such as Hampton Park, the Citadel, the Battery, and plenty of breathtaking water views. The low country is prime for your next pr.
A notable feature of this historic area—the downtown streets can be fairly narrow, particularly when crowded with spectators. Racers will want to watch their step and be careful when navigating other runners. The Charleston Half Marathon is often considered one of the best half marathons in the southeast and a great way to kickstart your new year.
Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC
Enjoy a runner’s seaside getaway during the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. The half marathon has been recognized as one of the “10 Great Winter Marathons” by USA Today.
The out-and-back half marathon course starts and finishes near Pelicans Ballpark and Broadway at the Beach. Half marathoners can expect a flat and fast race that combines the best of city running—touring through downtown’s Market Common entertainment district—with long stretches of coastal beauty.
The oceanside portion of the course is among runners’ favorites. As half marathoners pass by attractions like Family Kingdom Amusement Park, towering seaside hotels, and, of course, sprawling views of the Atlantic.
After the race, all participants are invited to party in the park, sprawling out on the outfield grassy lawn for a post-race celebration.
City of Oaks Half Marathon in Raleigh, NC
Raleigh is nicknamed the “City of Oaks” in honor of these stately trees. The trees grow in abundance around this capital city.
Like the oak tree, this longstanding event better known as Raleigh’s Hometown Race, draws an average of 5,000 participants across all events. Runners are treated to a thorough tour of the city as they take on this out-and-back looped course.
Now beginning and finishing in Raleigh’s revitalized downtown Smoky Hollow neighborhood. Runners will be treated to tons of local course entertainment as they embark along the routes also passing by the North Carolina state capitol building, through historic neighborhoods, NCSU’s historic bell tower and skyline views along the Boylan bridge. The City of Oaks is one of the best half marathons in the southeast state of North Carolina.
Kiawah Island Half Marathon in Kiawah Island, SC
Run through a golfer’s paradise during the Kiawah Island Half Marathon. As one of the best-known golf destinations on the Eastern seaboard, Kiawah Island has played host to the 2012 PGA Championship and has twice hosted the Ryder Cup.
The half marathon is flat, fast, and scenic, offering racers the same gorgeous views of oceanside forests, marshlands, beachfronts, and waterways available to the resort’s golfers. You’ll probably move through the course a bit faster!
This point-to-point course begins at Kiawah’s West Beach Village, first weaving through the island’s interior roadways and past Turtle Point Golf Club. The second portion of the half marathon leads racers toward the shoreline. They’ll pass Osprey Beach and Vanderhorst Plantation before turning onto Ocean Green Drive around mile 10, making their way back to the finish line in the village.
Hilton Head Half Marathon in Hilton Head, SC
Enjoy peaceful and scenic harbor views during the Hilton Head Half Marathon, run during the temperate South Carolina winter.
The half marathon is largely flat and fast. There is one significant hill over the Broad Creek bridge, which runners will cross twice during the course. Otherwise, expect a quiet and enjoyable run beginning from Jarvis Creek Park and proceeding along paved roads and bike trails.
This is a great choice if you enjoy running for a cause. The race benefits both the Hilton Head Regional Medical Center’s “Strive to Excel” program and the Hilton Head Island Children’s Memorial Garden.
Outer Banks Half Marathon in Nags Head, NC
This half marathon is the perfect way to explore a quietly stunning North Carolina area. Replete with unspoiled coastline, the large sand dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State park, and the challenge of running the Washington-Baum Bridge.
This point-to-point race will keep you on your toes. Runners begin with 8 flat and fast miles through Jockey’s Ridge State Park—a popular hang gliding destination—before winding through residential and commercial areas that afford views of Shallowbag Bay.
The course presents its most significant elevation challenge as runners spend a mile crossing Washington-Baum Bridge, which connects Nags Head to Manteo, and where they may spot fishing boats making their way out to the ocean. Half marathoners will rejoin marathoners at the finish line near the Maritime Museum in quaint downtown Manteo.
Tuscaloosa Half Marathon in Tuscaloosa, AL
Roll Tide! Collegiate football fans know Tuscaloosa best as the home of the University of Alabama’s football team, which plays at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Runners will get to know this bustling college town during the annual Tuscaloosa Half Marathon, an out-and-back course that tours participants from Government Plaza in the heart of downtown to nearby sights like the Black Warrior River, the Tuscaloosa RiverWalk, and even portions of the University of Alabama campus.
Expect to encounter some rolling hills later in the course, but you’ll recover that time around mile 12, where the course declines steeply down 7th Street to give you the boost you need to cross the finish line in fine form!
Big Beach Half Marathon in Gulf Shores, AL
If you like big beaches and you cannot lie, you’ll particularly enjoy this coastal run through Gulf Shores and Gulf State Park.
The course is a flat, fast, out-and-back race that will take you twice through Gulf State Park—a gorgeous gem of a park that features two miles of sandy beaches looking out onto the Gulf of Mexico.
The start and finish line for the event is at The Hangout, a popular family seafood destination that also plays host to both the pre-race buffet and after-race party.
If you’re training for Boston and want to enjoy a scenic shoreline qualifier, note that the full marathon is a Boston qualifying course. Not often known for it’s beaches, the Alabama gulf hosts one of the best half marathons in the southeast.
Richmond Half Marathon in Richmond, VA
Explore Virginia’s capital city during the Richmond Half Marathon, which adds Southern charm to the big-city marathon experience.
With only a couple rolling hills, race organizers note that this paved course is friendly to first-time half marathoners and fun for all.
Highlights of the half marathon course include running through Joseph Bryan Park—a 262-acre park featuring hardwood forests, ponds, streams, and an azalea garden—catching sight of the Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center, the former home of the Richmond Braves baseball team, and crossing the campus of Virginia Union University.
Charlottesville Half Marathon in Charlottesville, VA
Named one of the country’s top destination marathons by the New York Times, the half marathon offering of this popular race is a luscious tour of the green rolling hills of northern Virginia.
The out-and-back half marathon course, run on a combination of pavement and gravel, begins at Knight’s Gambit Vineyard outside downtown Charlottesville. From there, participants will enjoy a scenic and peaceful race that includes views of Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains as they tour past vineyards and farmland.
With a course limit of 3.5 hours, note that neither the full nor half marathon are suitable for walkers, but organizers do encourage walkers to participate in the 8K. Charlottesville is an often overlooked city for some of the best half marathons in the southeast.
Skidaway Island Half Marathon in Savannah, GA
Billed by organizers as “the race the locals want to run,” the Skidaway Island Half Marathon is a great choice for visitors to Savannah, too.
The course gives racers a chance to explore The Landings, an exclusive neighborhood on Skidaway Island not typically on tourists’ radars. Both the half and full marathon start and finish at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, the University of Georgia’s renowned marine science research center.
Runners will enjoy gorgeous scenery, marsh and river views, and glimpses of stately homes and the Landings Golf Courses. While the course is open to traffic, the neighborhood’s quiet atmosphere means that you’re more likely to simply share the road with a golf cart or two, without any worry about encountering a busy intersection.
Key West Half Marathon in Key West, FL
Spend your winter racing in the Florida Keys! This out-and-back half marathon is flat and fast, featuring oceanfront views for nearly the entire course.
Runners will circle portions of this easternmost island of the Florida Keys, crossing into Key West’s Cow Key Channel to Stock Island and back, before running around the Key West Golf Course and Country Club.
Notable highlights of the course include passing landmarks like the historic Key West lighthouse, first lit in 1849; the Hemingway Home & Museum, home of the famous author Ernest Hemingway; and “old town” Key West, which holds the distinction of begin the southernmost point in the United States.
This content was produced in partnership with Capstone Races.