San Diego, California, may be known as America’s Finest City, but we’d argue it should also be known as America’s Finest Running Destination. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back half marathon traversing among San Diego’s 70 miles of beachfront or a challenging mountainside quad-burner, you’ll enjoy the city’s mild weather, coastal charm, and plenty of delicious restaurants to celebrate after your athletic accomplishments. Here, we round up the best San Diego half marathons both Californians and Southern California-lovers can run.
San Diego temperatures have an average high of 70 degrees and an average low of 50 degrees, so expect that you can run a half marathon there and train year-round.
Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon & 5K
San Diego is home to some of the most scenic ocean and waterfront views on the west coast. The Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon & 5K takes advantage of this by touring runners through Mission Bay as part of its notably flat and fast half marathon course – great for beginners!
Perfect for both first-time half marathoners and experienced runners chasing a PR, this great race offers a big city half marathon with a seaside vibe. Runners will start and end at Ski Beach in Vacation Isle, weaving around the waterfront of Mission Bay, passing by SeaWorld, and circling back along Sail Bay’s bike path.
Best of all? You’ll also be running for a cause, as proceeds from the event support Make-a-Wish San Diego. You can preview the course map here.
November 4, 2023 | Race info & signup
San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & Half Marathon
If you need some hype to push you to your fullest running potential, Rock ‘n’ Roll races are right up your alley. The San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon first added a half marathon distance in 2010, and the rest has been history.
Cheering crowds, live music, and more excitement await for participants, who start their race near Balboa Park—home to both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Natural History Museum—before winding through well-known neighborhoods toward the finish line in downtown San Diego. This is one of the most popular San Diego half marathons by registration count.
June 4, 2023 | Race info & signup
San Diego Beach & Bay Half Marathon 5K & 10K
The spring weather in San Diego is perfect for racing, with temperatures that tend to sit in the mid-60s, making this seaside half marathon especially pleasant.
Running the San Diego Beach & Bay Half Marathon is a great opportunity to plan the rest of your vacation. Throughout the course, which blends paved roads and waterfront park trails, you’ll tour past many of the city’s top destinations, including Tecolote Shores beach, SeaWorld San Diego, and the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park.
April 23, 2023 | Race info & signup
San Diego Half Marathon & 5K
This race is for baseball fans, too! The course for the San Diego Half Marathon & 5K begins and ends near Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.
Departing from the heart of downtown San Diego, runners will proceed northwest to Harbor Island, looping the island and taking in the sights of the U.S. Navy ships docked in the harbor. The course then crosses through Liberty Station, a popular mixed-use district featuring restaurants, theaters, and shopping along with residential areas
Not feeling quite up to a half marathon? Grab a friend and conquer the course as part of a two-person relay team.
March 26, 2023 | Race info & signup
America’s Finest City Half Marathon & 5K
This popular tour through America’s Finest City also offers a tour through American history.
The race begins at Cabrillo National Monument, which commemorates the shoreline landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to set foot on what eventually became the United States’ West Coast.
The course also carries runners through Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, which is built upon the former site of one of the nation’s oldest military outposts, and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which last shone its beacon in 1891.
Don’t get us wrong, though—this historic run is far from fussy. Participants will enjoy cheerleaders, belly dancers, and the occasional celebrity sighting (think: Oprah Winfrey) as they cruise through their race.
August 20, 2023 | Race info & signup
T9 Mermaid Half Marathon – San Diego
Ariel wannabes are welcome at the T9 Mermaid Half Marathon – San Diego, which takes its place as part of a five-race series celebrating these magical aquatic creatures.
You may well be ready to trade your feet in for fins by the end of the course, which proceeds around Mission Bay to Fiesta Island, a recreational destination filled with parks, beaches, and the whimsically named Enchanted Cove. From there, runners will soak in a variety of seaside sights, including Playa Pacifica Park, Mission Bay Park, and De Anza Cove Park.
While you may not be guaranteed a mermaid sighting along the way, you will earn some mermaid-themed swag at the finish line.
February 25, 2023 | Race info & signup
Liberty Station Marathon Relay & 5k
Built over the grounds of a former naval training center, Liberty Station is now a San Diego destination filled with eateries, shops, museums, and waterfront bike paths.
Military members, both active and veteran, are still celebrated as part of the race, with both special pricing and teams available. The race also benefits the Chelsea King Invitational Mile, an event held for elementary-aged children in San Diego County.
Half marathon teams should expect to complete 5 laps of 2.62 miles through Liberty Station Park. A variety of team sizes and skill levels are available, making this race accessible (and competitive!) for runners of all types.
May 13, 2023 | Race info & signup
San Diego Resolution Run
What better way to tackle your new year’s health and wellness goals than by accomplishing a January half marathon?
The San Diego Resolution Run is a tribute to both fun and fitness. Runners will enjoy mild weather and oceanic views as they wind around Mission Bay. With a total elevation gain of 235 feet for the entire half marathon course, this half marathon is flat, fast, and first-timer friendly.
January 13, 2024 | Race info & signup
Black Mountain 50K 25K & Half Marathon
This half marathon is not for the faint of heart. During the Black Mountain Half Marathon, runners will climb nearly 2,000 feet over the course of the race, which starts and finishes at Hilltop Community Park.
All runners begin by climbing Little Black Loop trail and taking on the single-track trails offered in Black Mountain Open Space. The half marathon then splits off to descend Miners Loop trail and Ahwee trail before climbing single track and jeep trails to the 1,554-foot summit. This race is technical and challenging, but well-stocked aid stations and volunteers help motivate you to the finish.
Feeling speedy AND invincible? Cash prizes of $1,500 are available for those who can run a sub-4 hour 50K, with an additional $500 offered for breaking the current 50K course record of 3:50:34.
June 17, 2023 | Race info & signup
Sycamore Canyon Trail Race
If you like your half marathons quiet and scenic, the Sycamore Canyon Trail Race is what you’re looking for.
Boasting a half marathon, 50K, 100K, and relay options for the two longer distances, this race is run as loops through the 2,272-acre Sycamore Canyon Preserve.
Half marathoners will complete two approximately 6.6-mile clockwise loops. The course’s semiarid wildlands lined with coastal sage scrub are scenic and serene, but organizers warn runners to stay alert—course hazards may include “mountain lions, rough terrain, rattle snakes, sharp cliffs, and drop offs.”
February 25, 2023 | Race info & signup
The Peak 50K, Marathon & Half Marathon
A single-track race with spectacular views, The Peak 50K, Marathon & Half Marathon climbs 6,512-foot Cuyamaca Peak, the second highest in San Diego County.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the 50K offers a total elevation gain and loss of 10,000 feet, but the shorter distances are no joke, either. For the half marathon, runners will climb the Conejos Trail—a gain of 2,200 feet—to the peak before a “quad-pounding” descent to the finish line.
July 15, 2023 | Race info & signup
2023 San Diego Half Marathon Calendar
San Diego Resolution Run | January 13, 2023
San Diego 50 and Trail Marathon | January 28, 2023
T9 Mermaid Half Marathon – San Diego | February 25, 2023
Sycamore Canyon Trail Race | February 25, 2023
San Diego Half Marathon | March 26, 2023
San Diego Beach & Bay Half Marathon, 10K & 5K | April 23, 2023
Liberty Station Half Marathon, Relay & 5K | May 13, 2023
La Jolla Half Marathon | May 20, 2023
Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego | June 4, 2023
Black Mountain 50K, 25K & Half Marathon | June 17, 2023
The Peak 50K, Marathon & Half Marathon | July 15, 2023
America’s Finest City Half Marathon & 5K | August 20, 2023
Pacific Beach Half Marathon & 5K | October 7, 2023
Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon & 5K | November 4, 2023
Silver Strand Half Marathon | November 12, 2023
San Diego Holiday Half Marathon | December 16, 2023
The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego and San Diego Half Marathon are the most popular half marathons in San Diego.