There are six states that make up New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The region was christened for the region in 1614 by Captain John Smith and still carries the name today. The New England region is home to some of America’s finest half marathons specifically because of its world-renown seasons. Half marathons in New England in the spring bring newly blossomed leaves and temperate coastal breezes. Fall New England half marathons bring auburn foliage and crisp air. The toughest part of spring New England half marathons? Training through the New England winter. The best thing? Pretty much everything else. We’ve compiled a list of the best New England half marathons you should have on your calendar this year.
1) Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon • Hampton Beach, NH
Just an hour north of Boston sits Hampton Beach, a beach town with a year-round population of 2,500 with an under-the-radar lively and picturesque boardwalk. This is the home of the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon. What we love about it: the race leans deeply into New England culture.
Not only is the entire 13.1 along an iconic looking New England coastline, but there’s a music-centric afterparty (sometimes with Elvis impersonators), craft-beer from Smuttynose Brewing, clam chower, and lobster rolls.
You’ll be running alongside 6,000 other runners and, as a reader of the Half Marathon Guide, you get 10% off using code HM10.
2) Providence Marathon & Half Marathon • Providence, RI
Providence is the unsung multi-faceted New England city you didn’t know you needed a half marathon in. While Boston gets lauded as a university epicenter, Providence is home to the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University which, the Providence Marathon and Half Marathon give runners a glimpse at both. You’ll spend much of the first few (and last few) miles of the course along the Seekonk and Providence Rivers at this race, which includes stretches through downtown Providence and two bridge crossings — one on the way out and on the way back. The race is praised for being exceptionally well run and scenic. Providence is only an hour from Boston and three from New York and makes the top of our list of New England half marathons worth running.
3) Hampton Half Marathon & 5K • Hampton Beach, NH
Come out for a cold, wintertime run along the windswept Atlantic Ocean coastline of New Hampshire’s beachfront towns at this race, which takes runners from Ashworth-by-the-Sea just north of Hampton Beach, along a route that passes alongside the sandy beaches near the area’s summertime resort hotels.
4) Twin Lights Half Marathon • Gloucester, MA
The sounds of seagulls calling in the wind and the waves rushing in along the shoreline will be familiar sounds by the time you reach the finish line at this race, which runs along the Massachusetts North Shore coastline.
5) Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon • Middlebury, VT
The rolling green hills, quaint downtown streets and college town atmosphere of this small city in central Vermont — parts of the race run through the Middlebury College campus — are just a few of the charms of this event, nicknamed “The Sweetest Half.”
6) Maine Coast Half Marathon & 5K • Biddeford, ME
The course for this race is filled with the scenery that makes this small coastal Maine town’s population swell every summer, from the rocky shoreline of Fortunes Rocks Cove, Horseshoe Cove and Biddeford Pool to the gorgeous oceanfront homes and cottages along the roads that wind along the shoreline.
7) Mystic Half Marathon • Mystic, CT
You’ll run through a piece of America’s maritime history at this race, which unfolds through a place with gorgeous views of the Connecticut coastline, and where you’ll get to see historic ships sailing in the Mystic Harbor as you run the course.
8) Steel Rail Half Marathon • Lanesborough, MA
You’ll run along the gorgeous, tree-covered hills and woodlands of Berkshire County in western Massachusetts at this race, which follows a point-to-point route along the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, whose 10-foot-wide path is paved and flat throughout and features only three turns.
9) UConn Health Half Marathon • Simsbury, CT
You’ll run between tree-lined roadways and wide-open farm fields here — no doubt part of the reason why famed Runner’s World columnist Bart Yasso selected this race a few years back as one of his favorite races across the country.
10) Mad Half Marathon • Waitsfield, VT
Rolling country roads along a route that alternates between the quaint streets of this small central Vermont town and the countryside framed by the nearby Green Mountains await runners at this race, run through an area well-known as a wintertime ski destination.
11) Blueberry Cove Half Marathon • Tenants Harbor, ME
Run through a Maine town where boats are said to outnumber cars at this late summer race, which starts at Blueberry Cove Camp and follows winding back roads, with views of the ocean crashing against the rocky shoreline.
12) Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Half Marathon • Bar Harbor, ME
You’ll get to run this race through the grounds of a U.S. national park — at Maine’s Acadia National Park, making this the only race of its kind anywhere in the U.S. — at a time when the autumn leaves are turning brilliant shades of orange, red and gold.
13) Jamestown Half Marathon • Jamestown, RI
With its rocky shorelines, historic lighthouses and windmills that still stand as a reminder of the small coastal towns and villages of New England’s past, Jamestown and Conanicut Island make for a beautifully picturesque course.
14) Hartford Half Marathon • Hartford, CT
The vibrant colors of fall are on display for runners, walkers and relay participants all through Connecticut’s capitol city at this race, which features a mostly fast and flat course and features a stretch along the riverfront, including a run through the city’s Great River Park.
15) Amica Newport Half Marathon • Newport, RI
The beautifully scenic rocky coastline of southern Rhode Island forms the backdrop for this race, which takes runners on an out-and-back course along this town on Aquidneck Island, and features views of the water for nearly the entire race route.
16) Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon • Boston, MA
Run by the same athletic organization that stages the fabled Boston Marathon each April, the B.A.A. Half is a much younger sibling of its 26.2-mile-long counterpart, starting from Franklin Park and heading through the city all the way to Roberto Clemente Field in the Back Bay Fens neighborhood near Fenway Park.
17) Cape Cod Half Marathon • Falmouth, MA
Hailed by publications like Runner’s World as one of the country’s most scenic marathons, thanks to a course that unfolds along the shoreline of southern Cape Cod, this race features stretches along the beachfront and finishes in front of at Falmouth’s Town Hall Square.
Our favorite is the Providence Half Marathon in Providence, Rhode Island taking place May 7, 2023.
The Boston Athletic Association half marathon is the most popular in New England. Registration is capped at 9,000.
This content was produced in partnership with Ventures Endurance.