Overall Rating
Overall Rating (29 Reviews)
3.7
(29 Ratings)  (29 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1.7
SCENERY
3.2
PRODUCTION
3.7
SWAG
3.9
Race through historic Charleston, celebrate with Shrimp and Grits, and explore everything the #1 City in the U.S. has to offer! This year’s Charleston Half Marathon® is a scenic 13.1-mile run that will showcase the beauty and the history of the Lowcountry, featuring Hampton Park, The Citadel, The Battery, Iconic … MORE
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Recent reviews

    ofshadowsgrey FIRST-TIMER '23

    Half course was really nice the first 6 miles running through downtown Charleston then it was straight 6 mile run through an industrial area. Course was flat and on paved … MORE

    Half course was really nice the first 6 miles running through downtown Charleston then it was straight 6 mile run through an industrial area. Course was flat and on paved road.
    Finish line and post race party was a mess. It was very cold (in the 30s and windy) and I saw 5k runners had Mylar blankets and was in need of one at the finish line but nothing. Some volunteers handing out medals and water bottles being a free for all. Everything was a line, getting food, swag, shuttle, and no way of know where the start or end of a line was. Instead of having runners get their swag and food tickets at packet pick up, runners had to get it at the post race which is probably was it was so chaotic. I got my swag and left because I was not going to keep going from line to line.
    Parking was a mess. The venue was too small for the amount of runners and spectators there. My family came to cheer me on and had to park a mile away from the venue and they arrive at 6am.
    Small changes would make a big difference but I definitely would avoid this race company. Other runners told me that this race company has not done well with other races they have organized.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    emelia.pitlick FIRST-TIMER '23

    The first half of the route was in scenic downtown Charleston, then it snaked up into industrial North Charleston. There were cheer squads along the route, but it was very … MORE

    The first half of the route was in scenic downtown Charleston, then it snaked up into industrial North Charleston. There were cheer squads along the route, but it was very boring. The water and aid stations were as advertised and fully stocked. The weather wasn’t great, cold and very windy. But at the finish line they had stocking hats – which was a lifesaver. Especially for having to wait in line 35+ minutes of bag check! With a few adjustments this could be a great race.

    DIFFICULTY
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    PRODUCTION
    3
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    DrewNYC FIRST-TIMER '23

    It was a chilly and windy weekend in Charleston this year (2023). This is traditionally a long holiday weekend for most people and this is a beautiful city to visit … MORE

    It was a chilly and windy weekend in Charleston this year (2023). This is traditionally a long holiday weekend for most people and this is a beautiful city to visit for a mid-January break.

    With my registration I paid the extra $10 to have my race bib mailed to me in advance. It didn’t arrive until the week prior to the event–which was fine, but I was getting nervous about whether it would arrive or not. I was also nervous because I hadn’t received ANY emails about the race. Nothing since the registration confirmation email, which seemed odd.

    This is a race that ends in a different location than the start (more on the return trip in a moment). The start was a short walk from my hotel (Marriott). In my opinion they needed a few more port-o-potties for the size of the crowd. It didn’t look like the start corrals were clearly marked. This is less of an issue for me as I start at the back.

    The course was mostly flat. There was an uphill towards the end (of course!) at mile 11. The scenery was a mix of some beautiful parts (as you would hope with Charleston) and industrial & not so beautiful parts. You get that with a lot of races, but I expected more beauty with this race. The aid stations were fine with it being a cold day. If it had been hot they likely would have needed one more aid station and tightened the distance between them. Some parts of the course were tight. The road was open to traffic going in the opposite direction for a good portion of the course (something that I don’t love).

    The race day fell apart, however, after crossing the finish line. I had no clue about what to do or where to go. Some runners found heatsheets but I don’t know how! It would have been nice to get one since it was cold. There was a volunteer giving out water but it was unclear where to get the traditional post race food (pretzels, etc). People were going in two different directions and I followed the larger group. Got dumped out in a field and there were lines everywhere. It was unclear what each line was for! Since I had my bib mailed to me, my priority was to get my race shirt. I figured out which line that was and got on that. There was no monitoring of the shirts or free gift (branded drink glass) tables. People were taking multiple. I hope that everyone who was entitled to a shirt and gift were able to get them. There was also a winter hat (that said Charleston Marathon even though there was no marathon this year). After waiting on that line I decided I was uninterested in the other lines. From what I could gather–1 line was for getting food and drink tickets, 1 line was the traditional post race food, and 1 line was to go and get the shrimp & grits and drink. I could be wrong, though!

    Once I decided to leave, I jumped on another line for the shuttle bus back to the start. It was a long line with empty school buses nearby. There was an issue with getting the buses out of the area. They had to backup and maneuver around to get free. A runner actually got off one of the buses to try to direct traffic and getting things moving!

    Swag: nice medal plus a long sleeve technical t-shirt in light green. There was also the branded drink glass and the winter hat, too. So the swag was nice!

    The finish line area could have been great. If they can improve that one component, I would increase my overall rating of the race.

    DIFFICULTY
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    2
    SCENERY
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    4

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    Tailhook007 FIRST-TIMER '23

    It was a beautiful, chilly yet windy day. The first of a double half marathon over two days. The pre-race pick up was at a beautiful venue Firefly Distillery… great … MORE

    It was a beautiful, chilly yet windy day. The first of a double half marathon over two days. The pre-race pick up was at a beautiful venue Firefly Distillery… great drinks! Easy and convenient though only one-way in and out… for pre-race activities… more on access in a bit!

    I’m not sure what it is but these folks like to cram everyone into the start line areas. Although they’ll give you a link to reserve a spot for packet pick up… they don’t factor in the spectrum of runners… I’d rather they give you a corral assignment based on your expected finish time.

    It was tight running the first 1/4 through a high school and then let out on the street… the first 6 miles were gorgeous with low country nature, canopy live oaks, the Citadel and running through downtown to the batter along the water, amazing homes and shops… then 7 miles of industrial/commercial zones.

    Along the way, the water stations could have been better distributed.

    At the finish, it was in a word MELEE!!!

    It was a short throw from the finish, getting your medal then looking for a heat blanket. It was in the 40s at the finish. There were no volunteers to hand them out though I saw several runners donning them. From there it was into the masses… on the road and it was a chore to get into the entrance of the Firefly distillery and a long walk to get post-race nutrition and gear bag. Once you got to the area where the post-race festivities were… buses that would used for gear check were not properly marked. People were walking around for tens of minutes to figure out which bus had their gear… the best way to figure what line you needed to be in was to look at other racers’ bib numbers!

    These same buses were used to ferry racers back to the start line…

    Now back to the one way in / out… the distillery had two locked gates at the back of the property enough really for one car to go through… and behind the property, construction was happening. The race production team really should have considered the amount of runners… over 2000 and understood the venue could not support the runners… families… etc. navigating the property.

    The buses had to back up into traffic on the back side of the property since they set up the finish line right at the main entrance!!! Doh!!! Because the property could not support the traffic people had to park a half mile away and walk thus creating a HUGE safety issue for families trying to meet up yet having to navigate the one way road and cars attempting to enter and exit. It took me 30 minutes to move a 1/4 mile… I skipped the post-race nutrition and beverage as the lines were ridiculously long and I could see the traffic fiasco hampering my exit.

    I ran a capstone race in Raleigh in November’22. It was much of the same.. decent scenery but the production was not thought out and does not consider safety and focus on runners…

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    rma2001 FIRST-TIMER '23

    I signed up for the marathon last year and they canceled it the week before and since they didn’t have a full anymore they gave us free entry to the … MORE

    I signed up for the marathon last year and they canceled it the week before and since they didn’t have a full anymore they gave us free entry to the half. They offered bib mailing for $10 so I did that to save a hotel stay. They said to pick up your shirt at the finish. There weren’t any workers at the t shirt table and people were just grabbing shirts (people that clearly didn’t run). Gave up on that and went to get on the shuttle back to the start. Absolute cluster. Huge line but I lucked out and got on the last bus of 4. Took about 30 minutes to just get out of the parking lot (small road with one way in and out).
    The course is flat but other than about 2 miles in historic Charleston it was just boring industrial areas.
    The after party was just lines everywhere with no real direction. If you have nowhere to be and like standing in lines this is the place to be. I’m doing another Capstone race and my hopes aren’t high. I’d avoid this event if they keep the same course (ends and Firefly Distillery).

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    bwdarrington FIRST-TIMER '20

    The first half of this race is exactly what you would hope for from a half marathon in a beautiful location like Charleston. Beautiful views of the water, houses, and … MORE

    The first half of this race is exactly what you would hope for from a half marathon in a beautiful location like Charleston. Beautiful views of the water, houses, and downtown. However, the second half is far below average for a course. I can’t really stress how horrible the second half was. Industrial, construction zones. Not to mention the course was a half a mile long.

    Swag and expo were good, and Charleston is always fun to visit. I would recommend it, but I hope they can improve the course.

    DIFFICULTY
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    shoelessdun FIRST-TIMER '20

    Packet pickup is downtown and parking and traffic on the Friday before the race can be crazy. Give yourself lots of time and be patient with finding parking, even in … MORE

    Packet pickup is downtown and parking and traffic on the Friday before the race can be crazy. Give yourself lots of time and be patient with finding parking, even in the designated garage. Packet pickup once inside is a breeze and it’s a full blown expo with lots of runner supplies available for sale.

    Nice shirt giveaway, this year it was a black tech long sleeve. Medals were great, especially if you’re lucky enough to place in the top 3 in your age group (see my photo).

    No shuttle needed if you’re doing the 5k and if so, plentiful parking all over the place near the start. Note that all 3 distances start in different locations, but all 3 finish in the same spot. Everyone except 5kers will have to catch the free bus shuttle back to the start (and you’ll be hot and sweaty while doing it!).

    5k course is all flat and fast…nothing at all to look at. You run through the warehouse/shipping district and then through a small neighborhood. Nothing to see really. Expect a good crowd of runners.

    Post race food was gross (shrimp and grits were so disgusting). I took one bite and spit it out. They do have at least a half dozen food trucks though that you can buy from. Registration gets you a couple can Palmetto Brewing Co. beers and Ketel One had a free tasting station set up (one taste per person). Post race seating is limited, so grab a spot and make some new friends! There is a huge lawn on which you can sit to enjoy the live band, and they are a good party band for sure.

    One thing worth noting, they only announce the overall winners for each distance and it’s sorta done at random times. Check in at the info table, but I really think they were just winging it in terms of what times awards would be announced. Strangely, I didn’t even see an awards podium anywhere.

    This race is put on by Capstone races…no free photos of you running here. You’ll have to pay some high prices for the pro photos that they take of you, but they do post a Youtube vid of the finish line so you can see yourself cross it.

    Bids are customizable as long as you register early enough. Be aware…this race can be on a very, very humid day so train and prepare accordingly.

    This is the flagship race for Charleston, an amazing vacation destination with tons of microbreweries, history, and incredible eateries. This is a race I will do every single year for sure. Race is held in January every year and sign up the week after the race for the next year and you get a serious, serious discount…a truly great value if you sign up way early.

    DIFFICULTY
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    5
    SCENERY
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    4
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Stephanie Peagler
    stephp1508 FIRST-TIMER '20

    This is a very flat race other than the overpass you go over later in the race. The food and drinks after the race plus live band makes for a … MORE

    This is a very flat race other than the overpass you go over later in the race. The food and drinks after the race plus live band makes for a great after race experience. Race swag is awesome, this year we got a nice medal, long sleeve shirt, and blanket. This is a must do race and you can see some very beautiful parts of Charleston.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    5
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    4
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    5

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    cmbrln7 FIRST-TIMER '20

    There is so much to like about this race! Nice swag, flat course, sufficient aid stations, went off without a hitch. The first 8-9 miles are fabulous as you run … MORE

    There is so much to like about this race! Nice swag, flat course, sufficient aid stations, went off without a hitch. The first 8-9 miles are fabulous as you run through the Citadel, battery, and gorgeous historic Charleston. The last few miles are in an industrial area and not scenic at all. However, the race ends at a beautiful park and the after party was nice with free food, drinks, and if you want more there are plenty of food trucks. I unfortunately had tendinitis issues flare up and by mile 10 or so just wanted to be done!

    Spend a few days being a tourist in Charleston. You won’t be disappointed!

    One downside, which wasn’t an issue for me, but you told ave to be at mile 10.3 within 2:45. I was told that these runners were picked up and drive in a bus to 10.3 and allowed to finish and get their medal. I don’t like this for 2 reasons. 1 – they didn’t finish the half and got a half medal. 2 – if their results are counted, they have their finishing times faster than the people how ran the whole thing!

    DIFFICULTY
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    5
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    5
    My Media

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    plb25 FIRST-TIMER '20

    There were no corrals at the start line and the beginning of the course was narrow which meant that the first two miles or more it was extremely crowded and … MORE

    There were no corrals at the start line and the beginning of the course was narrow which meant that the first two miles or more it was extremely crowded and I couldn’t run my own pace without constantly dodging people. The first half of the course was pretty scenic and it was fun to run down the battery and king street. However, the entire last half was along railroad tracks through an industrial and what appeared to be unsafe part of town. It was a flat course but definitely not my favorite. The finish line festival was great though. You got multiple drink tickets and shrimp and grits. I think it was unseasonably warm this year but the humidity was terrible! Overall, it was an okay race but I probably won’t be travelling to do it again.

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    3

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    danjake01 FIRST-TIMER '20

    This was one of the more organized races I've experienced. Everything went off on time without any issues. The course support was great, scenery for most of the race was … MORE

    This was one of the more organized races I’ve experienced. Everything went off on time without any issues. The course support was great, scenery for most of the race was terrific and the swag was awesome. If I lived closer, I would definitely run it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    haylealayne FIRST-TIMER '20

    This race had a lot of beautiful scenery and was so much fun to run through. Although there were some boring parts to run through but overall the race was … MORE

    This race had a lot of beautiful scenery and was so much fun to run through. Although there were some boring parts to run through but overall the race was a lot of fun.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Evwatkins REPEAT RUNNER '20

    This is my 2nd time to complete the Charleston Marathon. I've paced 5:00 each time. Charleston is beautiful, historic town. The race is well organized and the course is for … MORE

    This is my 2nd time to complete the Charleston Marathon. I’ve paced 5:00 each time. Charleston is beautiful, historic town. The race is well organized and the course is for the most part, very nice.
    COURSE: The beginning and end are beautiful. The race starts at Buke HS and circles the Citadel, through downtown and the battery. There was some road closures this year so several sections of the course were modified from the 2019 course. There’s about 6-10 miles in the middle that go through North Charleston and the neck of the peninsula that is largely industrial and blah. But beyond that, the course winds through newly established neighborhoods and newly revitalized areas of the Park Circle area. I’m really glad they took out the section run on the marina pier. (Not sure if that is a temporary or permanent change) The race finishes at Riverfront park in the old Navy base footprint. The large houses around the finish are former officers, generals homes and Administrative offices.
    POST-RACE: Each runner gets a plate of Shrimp& Grits. This year there were several food trucks lined up as well (I found Vegan options!) There’s also a beer garden on one of the lawns with band playing.

    Overall, I enjoy this event, but I believe I enjoy visiting Charleston just a bit more. The race is worth it, but make the trip a vacation and explore the area as well. You’re missing out if you just come for the race.

    DIFFICULTY
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    M_Sohaskey Jan 16, 2020 at 6:07pm

    One reason I enjoy your reviews is that you often reference the vegan options at the post-race party, which is especially helpful for races that advertise e.g. shrimp & grits… MORE

    One reason I enjoy your reviews is that you often reference the vegan options at the post-race party, which is especially helpful for races that advertise e.g. shrimp & grits as a selling point (though I know Charleston the city has more than its share of veggie-friendly restaurants). Congrats on yet another successful marathon and pacing endeavor, and thanks for another helpful review! LESS

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    dwhitehorse FIRST-TIMER '19

    Charleston has a lot of history, so if you are into the tourist aspect, this is a great race. The race itself runs through some unique and scenic areas, as … MORE

    Charleston has a lot of history, so if you are into the tourist aspect, this is a great race. The race itself runs through some unique and scenic areas, as well as some industrial parks and a marina that was less than scenic. Overall the race was good, the finish line festival was great with a fun atmosphere.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    The race route was well designed and hits many Charleston landmarks. Many hotels to walk from for pick up and race start. My favorite shirt this year also. Only issue … MORE

    The race route was well designed and hits many Charleston landmarks. Many hotels to walk from for pick up and race start. My favorite shirt this year also. Only issue i had was getting the bus at the end, there were no signs as to where you were supposed to go, (about a half mile away) and none (5) of the volunteers i talked to knew either.

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    KristjanaCook FIRST-TIMER '19

    Organization and communication by the race director and staff was great! Volunteers were great! After-party was a little over-hyped. Walk from the finish line to after party to shuttles was … MORE

    Organization and communication by the race director and staff was great! Volunteers were great! After-party was a little over-hyped. Walk from the finish line to after party to shuttles was a little longer than most races. Lines at afterparty were ridiculous… though I finished as one of the faster marathoners, I finished at the same time as all the really slow half-marathoners who were bound and determined to get as much of their free food and beer as humanly possible… I ended up skipping the afterparty once I realized that standing in line would take me as long as running another 5k.. which it felt like it was back to the shuttle bus area! Course was disappointing. We did have a couple miles through the “nice” part of Charleston, but the rest was access roads by a highway, over train tracks (a train even stopped a group of about 30 runners in front of me!), through a housing project, an icky industrial part of town and then through a really boring neighborhood with no spectators or anything around to confirm that you were on course… I ran an entire mile without seeing any other people! I was even worried I’d fallen off course… I DID PR, so maybe the boredom factor worked? Again, the volunteers were FANTASTIC. And the Race itself was well-organized. It would be a GREAT race if the course were better!

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    TerriB FIRST-TIMER '19

    I have completed half marathons in 24 states and this is the flattest half thus far, only one overpass to go over. Just before mile 2 you will go through … MORE

    I have completed half marathons in 24 states and this is the flattest half thus far, only one overpass to go over. Just before mile 2 you will go through the Citadel military college campus, then miles 3-5 run along the water. Miles 6-11 run down king street, 5.5 @7 through shopping area, otherwise not a lot to see. The run finishes near Riverfront park, nice after party with shrimp and grits, 2 beers per runner and live music.
    The extras… good expo, great race shirt, nice medal and fabulous communication.

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    Tororuns FIRST-TIMER '19

    Nice flat course. First part was very pretty and scenic, then went through some neighborhoods that have seen better days before ending in a nice park. A point to point … MORE

    Nice flat course. First part was very pretty and scenic, then went through some neighborhoods that have seen better days before ending in a nice park. A point to point race. Great, chilly weather. Great race support and nice bling.
    I paced the 3:00 halfers. Had a great time.

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    Evwatkins FIRST-TIMER '19

    I ran this race as the 5:00 pacer for my 68th marathon. I also lived in Charleston 2007-2008, so I am very familiar with the area. I stayed in a … MORE

    I ran this race as the 5:00 pacer for my 68th marathon. I also lived in Charleston 2007-2008, so I am very familiar with the area.

    I stayed in a great little hostel (called Notso Hostel) near the start, a short 5 minute walk.
    The expo: the expo was at the Gailluard Center, a big convention hall. You have to pay to park, so I ran there instead. (I hate paying for parking anywhere.) The expo was large enough to get what you needed, but not too large to where you get lost and overwhelmed. Easy in and out. There was no race day pickup and I know a few people where upset by that. They could’ve easily held Packet pickup at the start (the high school was open for runners to use bathrooms and gather It would’ve been easy to set up a table inside).

    The marathon started (at 7:15) next to Burke High School and immediately ran through the Citadel, which was cool. You could see the Cadets in their uniforms in formation getting ready for breakfast and colors.
    The half marathon started at 7:30, which I immediately realized was a mistake on the race’s part. The fast half marathoners had to weave through all the marathoners. I could tell a few of them were upset by this (they ran passed us yelling “get out of the way!” and “ON YOUR LEFT!” and other things I’d rather not type.) The race was small enough that both distances could’ve began together with a simple corral system.
    -If I were a fast half marathoner at this race trying for a win or PR or something, this review would be rather negative.
    COURSE: the first 7-8 miles of the course was great! You run through the Citadel, Lockwood street to the battery, then up King street. From Miles 7 to about 20, it was through the not so great sections of North Charleston (which you can’t avoid unless you get on I-26), and the industrial area. There was also a lot of construction overhead (new overpasses being built at Cosgrove and Spruill road areas) Around mile 14, we ran passed the federal complex then out to Cooper River Marina. We literally ran onto the marina pier, out to the end and back. That was weird, but kinda cool I guess. Anyways, the last 6 miles were through Park Circle and the nicer areas of North Charleston, then into the old Navy Base. The finish was right near the old Generals houses (if you watched Army Wives back in the day, this is where the show was filmed and based.) A nice shady finish in the big oak trees with moss at Riverfront park. Food (Shrimp & Grits), beer, music and a nice view at the end.

    CONS:
    -Runners had to pay for the shuttle back to the start area parking. For a point-point race, this should be included in the price. Not cool.
    -The half really needs to start with the full. Starting after was a bad idea for those Half runners trying to race it.

    BOTTOM LINE: I would definitely run this one again, mainly because I love Charleston. The race is worth it, but can improve over time. Choose it for the trip and make a vacation out of it. Charleston in January is still just as pretty as Charleston in the Spring.

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    I loved everything about this race. Historic Charleston has so much beauty and charm. The first few miles of the course took us through the campus of the Citadel at … MORE

    I loved everything about this race. Historic Charleston has so much beauty and charm. The first few miles of the course took us through the campus of the Citadel at sunrise when the mist was rising and the cadets were out lining up for formation, then we headed south along the waterfront and southern style mansions before heading up through historic King Street. Once we left town, we ran along the marshes that define the coastal Carolinas. At one point we even ran out onto the water on a pier and back. The race was super well organized, with great swag, tons of volunteers and a nice finale. What other race serves shrimp and grits at the finish line? More than anything I love the gorgeous medal which will forever commemorate my first BQ time.

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 14, 2019 at 12:04am

    Bravo! 👏 Congrats and well done Chloe, I still remember the euphoria of that first-time BQ feeling, there's nothing like it. And luckily with the BAA's new qualifications, you can… MORE

    Bravo! 👏 Congrats and well done Chloe, I still remember the euphoria of that first-time BQ feeling, there's nothing like it. And luckily with the BAA's new qualifications, you can be confident you're really in. I've been on the fence for my South Carolina race, but your own experience has made me want to run Charleston in 2020. Thanks for the great review, and welcome to the RaceRaves community — hope to follow your other racing adventures here on the site! LESS

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