Palm Desert Half Marathon, Relay & 5K

Sunday, February 18, 2024 • Palm Desert, CA • Course Map

With a flat and fast course that will give many experienced half-marathoners a chance to set personal record times, the New Balance Palm Desert Half Marathon, Relay & 5K Run/Walk takes runners through the streets of this oasis city in California’s Mojave Desert, within full view of the nearby San Jacinto Mountains to the west, the Little Bernardino Mountains to the north and the Santa Rose Mountains to the south.

More than 850 runners crossed the finish line in both the half marathon and 5K combined at the race’s 2016 running, with more than 590 of those finishers competing in the half marathon alone.

The race begins in Civic Center Park. Runners will turn right onto San Pablo Ave. after exiting the parking lot. Runners will take a left toward the College of the Desert before returning to San Pablo Ave. and turning left onto Magnesia Falls Drive. The stay on Magnesia Falls Drive is brief, as runners will then take a right onto Monterey Ave which they will follow north for approximately the next 4 miles.

Just past the 5 mile mark, runners will take a right onto Gerald Ford Dr. and left onto Gateway Dr briefly before going back down south on Dinah Shore and then onto Portola Road just past the 7 mile mark.

Runners will stay straight on Portola Ave all the way to the 11 mile mark, running through residential neighborhoods. Taking a right onto Magnesia Falls Dr.  with 2 miles to go, runners will head back into Civic Center Park back towards the finish line.

Though much of the race follows through residential neighborhoods and urban areas, there’s plenty of scenery especially in the distance, from the snow-capped mountains that look over the course and the desert flora and fauna along the way.

Both the half marathon and the 5K courses are certified by USA Track and Field, and while the course consists of a loop, there are a couple of short out-and-back stretches at the beginning and end of the course. There’s little change in elevation throughout the race, though — thanks to the course’s location in the desert — so runners don’t encounter significant uphill or downhill stretches during the race.

Windmills near Palm Springs, Calif. (Photo by Sam Howzit/flickr)

Windmills near Palm Springs, Calif. (Photo by Sam Howzit/flickr)

Race Weather & Climate

Set in the Southern California desert about two hours east of Los Angeles and just miles from nearby Joshua Tree National Park, the city of Palm Desert tends to experience dry and very hot summers and mild winter seasons, with little wet weather at any time during the year.

In February, temperatures average between 48°F and 75°F, while rainfall amounts average about 0.68 inches for the month.

On the day of the race (Feb. 18), the average low is 46°F and the average high is 75°F.

Course Map

See the race route map for the Palm Desert Half Marathon here.

Past Results

Starting Time

  • 7:00 AM – half marathon
  • 7:30 AM – 5K


  • $60 – $85 for the half marathon
  • $30 – $45 for the 5K


To reserve your spot in the late winter 2024 running of the Palm Desert Half Marathon, Relay or 5K race, register online at here.

Official Race Website

See more races in: February, California

2 comments… add one
  • Marcie November 12, 2016, 11:21 pm

    Do you allow strollers for the half?

  • Karin Obermeier January 27, 2015, 1:18 pm

    Question: Is there a group rate available? We have one half-marathon runner (14 years old) and possibly 3-4 adults for the 5K. Is there a minimum number to a group? What would the group rate be per person?

    Thanks very much! Karin


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