Sunday, September 24, 2023 • Salem, MA • Course Map
Set for its 16th annual running through the streets of this Massachusetts city known as “the Witch City” for the infamous witch trials that took place here back in the early 1690s, Salem’s Wicked Half Marathon takes runners on an out-and-back course that unfolds largely along the waterfront of Beverly Harbor, Salem Sound and Marblehead.
Just over 830 runners and walkers crossed the finish line at the race’s 2013 running, which starts in Salem at the Bentley School on Memorial Drive, overlooking Collins Cove. From there, the course then takes runners south along Memorial until it becomes Essex Street, and then follows Essex south all the way to the intersection with Hawthorne Boulevard, where runners turn left and head south.
There’s another couple of quick turns — a right on Derby Street followed by a left onto Lafayette Street — and then runners get to run a long, straight stretch through downtown Salem along Lafayette, passing by Palmer Cove Park and the campus of Salem State College along the way.
This stretch of the course has some rolling hills, but really no major uphills or downhills, organizers say (those don’t occur until later in the race, in the loop section around Marblehead).
After the stretch through neighborhoods with historic New England homes on either side of the road, the course brings runners down into the neighboring town of Marblehead, whose history dates all the way back to the 1620s as a center of commercial fishing and yachting, as well as in the development of what would later become the fleet of the U.S. Navy.
Runners will make their way along a loop section that circles around Ocean Avenue and Harbor Avenue, past the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and the boats sailing out on Lady’s Cove on the way back in to Marblehead.
The last five miles or so of the course are exactly like the first five, as runners make their way back toward Salem Willows where they started, west and then north along Lafayette Street all the way to the turn onto Derby Street, where runners make a right and (instead of turning left on Hawthorne to head back to the school) they keep going straight along Derby, for a loop along the opposite side of the peninsula all the way up to Salem Willows Park.
The course then curves back around along the edge of the park to bring runners back to the Bentley School for the race finish.
Race Weather & Climate
Nestled along the coast of Massachusetts Bay, just over 20 miles northeast of Boston, Salem typically sees mild to moderately warm weather in September, which has brought record temperatures here as low as 34°F (in 1989) and as high as 96°F (in 2007).
On the day of the race (Sept. 24), the average low is 55ºF and the average high is 73ºF.
- 6:00 AM – walkers start
- 7:00 AM – runners start
Course Time Limit
4 hours from the 7:00 AM start
- $45 – $65 for the half marathon
To reserve your spot in the 2023 running of Salem’s Wicked Half Marathon, register online at RunSignup.com here.
Official Race Website
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