Sunday, December 13, 2020 • Gulfport, MS • Course Map
Set for its 5th annual running this year along the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico between Pass Christian and Biloxi, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon and Half Marathon feature a fast and flat course for nearly the entire race and plentiful views of the ocean throughout, as well as gorgeous historic homes.
More than 2,500 runners crossed the finish line in all three races combined last year, including more than 1,400 finishers in the half marathon alone, for a course that begins in Pass Christian (for the full marathon) and reaches its mid-way point in Gulfport (where the half marathon begins) and runs all the way to the finish line in Biloxi at MGM Park, the home of the AA-level minor league baseball team the Biloxi Shuckers.
In between the starting line and the finish line, the half marathon traverses the same route as the full marathon — a Boston qualifier and USATF-certified course, by the way — as it runs for 10 miles all along the Gulf Coast shoreline, whose white sand beaches are some of the most popular anywhere in the country.
You’ll get to take in the salt air and the sun rising over the water (the race starts just after sunrise this time of year) as well as plentiful trees and gardens just off the beach along the route, as well as the city streets of Biloxi by the time you reach the final few miles of the race.
There’s very little elevation change throughout the course — from the starting elevation of about 12 feet above sea level, the course never rises above about 25 feet, so you can expect flat terrain throughout.
The first 10 to 11 miles are all white sand beaches on your right and plenty of beautiful homes on your left, while the final three miles wind through Biloxi to the finish line at the ballpark, where you’ll be able to hang out in the outfield and enjoy the post-race refreshments.
If you get the chance while you’re in town, there’s plenty to see and check out — the Gulf Islands National Seashore lies several miles off the coast of Gulfport, and you can take a ship excursion there to see islands like West Ship Island, where you can also visit the beaches and perhaps even see dolphins jumping in and out of the water.
This is also one of the nation’s great spots for seafood, and a drive to New Orleans (or the casinos of Biloxi) is just a couple hours away.
All photos courtesy Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon
Race Weather & Climate
Located about 160 miles southeast of the state capital Jackson and roughly 80 miles northeast of New Orleans, La., Gulfport is known for its humid, subtropical climate with mostly mild weather in December, though cold spells do occur. It’s the city’s third-driest month of the year, and snow (though rare) occasionally falls.
- Dec. 13 average low temp: 46ºF
- Dec. 13 average high temp: 64ºF
Course Time Limit
7 hours, which means you’ll need to keep a pace of 16 minutes per mile
see event website
To reserve your spot in the 2020 running of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K race, visit the event website below.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, as well as anything you learned about the race that you think other runners/walkers should know.