5 Oceanfront Half Marathons You Can Run in 2020-21
In-person races in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi + South Carolina this winter and spring
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Cocoa Beach, Fla. | Sunday, November 22, 2020
Run entirely on the sands of Cocoa Beach in the region known as “Florida’s Space Coast” — it’s located just south of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Kennedy Space Center, where you can see old rockets and space artifacts that once were launched into orbit from here — this half marathon starts exactly at sunrise (6:37 a.m.) and is timed to coincide with low tide, so you’ll have the biggest beach possible during the race. Shoes are optional, as there’s a “barefoot division” you can enter.
$83 and up | Sign up here
Gulfport, Miss. | Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020
The scent of the sea will be your constant companion at this race along the Mississippi Gulf coastline between Pass Christian and Biloxi, a fast and flat point-to-point course filled with plentiful views of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the white sand beaches along the shoreline and gorgeous historic homes. The race starts just after sunrise, so you’ll get to see the sun come up as you make your way between the start in Gulfport and the finish line in Biloxi, passing by homes fronted by beautifully landscaped gardens just off the beach. Expect very little elevation change — from the starting line at about 12 feet above sea level, the course never rises higher than about 25 feet. And this year brings a special treat — Des Linden and Grayson Murphy plan on being there to run it with you.
$110 and up | Sign up here
Clermont, Fla. | Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021
A gorgeous end-of-winter (for Florida) run along the park roads and trails within Lake Louisa State Park, just outside Orlando. You can choose among the half marathon, 10K or 5K at this race, which unfolds among the three lakes and 20+ miles of trails inside the park, home to wildlife including “deer, bobcat, gopher tortoises, fox squirrel and flighted creatures like bald eagles and osprey.”
$30 and up | Sign up here
Gulf Shores, Ala. | Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021
Run mostly through Gulf State Park, a 6,500-acre state park along the white sand beaches of Alabama’s Gulf Shores area, this race offers up a fast (and very flat) route along the paved trails inside the park. The route for the full marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifying course, while the half marathon follows a single loop around the park and finishes with a stretch over a pedestrian bridge, followed by the final mile along Beach Boulevard.
$75 and up | Sign up here
Folly Beach, S.C. | Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021
A run to — quite literally — save the Morris Island Lighthouse just off the Folly Beach Pier here on this small beach near Charleston, S.C. The race began several years ago as an effort to raise money to preserve the lighthouse, which is surrounded by water on all sides thanks to erosion, from being lost to the sea. You’ll start and finish the race at the pier, and run the route entirely on city streets with views of the ocean just over your shoulder.
TBA | Sign up here