Saturday, August 15, 2020 • Watkins Glen, NY • Course Map
A long, very gradual ascent of less than 250 feet in elevation from the start to the half-way point, followed by an equally gradual descent in the second half, await runners at the Catharine Valley Half Marathon, which takes runners through the green, lush park areas of the Catharine Valley Trail here in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York.
Run for the first time in 2009, when just over 115 runners crossed the finish line, the Catharine Valley Half is definitely a refreshing change of pace from big-city races, and one that race organizers encourage as a warm-up race for the Wineglass Marathon, which is run each October in nearby Corning.
More than 80 percent of the race course is made up of the cindered Catharine Valley Trail between the towns of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls, which is planned to eventually connect Watkins Glen State Park and Mark Twain State Park with 12 miles of trails over what once was the Northern Central Railroad and Chemung Canal towpath.
From the starting line at Watkins Glen High School, runners head out onto the trail and follow it southward all the way to the mid-point of the race just north of Millport, where they turn around and retrace their steps all the way back to the high school for the finish. The half marathon route is a USATF (USA Track & Field) certified course.
What this race lacks in crowds or energy, it certainly makes up for with the natural beauty of its surroundings.
Canopies of trees provide ample shade throughout much of the race course (especially because most of the race takes place along the trails), and the location offers plenty to take in after the race, from nearby parks with miles of hiking trails, waterfalls and camping to the wineries and breweries around the area.
Race Weather & Climate
Located among the area known as the Finger Lakes region in the central western part of New York State, Watkins Glen typically experiences some of its warmest weather of the year in August and sees relatively even precipitation throughout the late summer.
- Aug. 15 average low temp: 55ºF
- Aug. 15 average high temp: 79ºF
$55 and up for the half marathon
To reserve your spot in the 2020 running of Watkins Glen’s Catharine Valley Half Marathon, register online at RunSignUp.com here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Catharine Valley Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.