Overall Rating
Overall Rating (16 Reviews)
4.1
(16 Ratings)(16 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1.9
SCENERY
3.4
PRODUCTION
3.9
SWAG
4
Charleston Marathon & Half Marathon Race Highlights: Marathon and Half Marathon course features scenic water views, the Battery, and historic King Street Shrimp and Grits 5k run through historic Park Circle in North Charleston Finish Line street festival featuring live entertainment Indoor, climate controlled Packet Pick-up – New and bigger … MORE
Local Weather (Jan 11)
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
 
H (°F) 48 73 72 50 59
L (°F) 31 57 46 34 39
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Recent reviews

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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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!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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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.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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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.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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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.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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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.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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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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    gabrown19 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    My second time running this race as a local. The cold front which came through during the race made it quite windy and cold, but the race itself was just … MORE

    My second time running this race as a local. The cold front which came through during the race made it quite windy and cold, but the race itself was just as good as last year despite the change in management. The first 6 miles are in downtown Charleston and are beautiful. The next 5 are through the industrial neck area of the peninsula, and the last two go through the old Navy base, through the N. Charleston Riverfront park, and into downtown North Charleston. The race medal was great, and they gave out a nice big beach towel this year as well as a good long-sleeve tech shirt. The after party with shrimp and grits, coffee, bagels/fruit, etc. was also excellent. At the race start, they also had Burke High School open so you could stay warm before the race. The only negative this year was having to pay for parking (being a local, I figured out other places to park that were free). The pre-race expo the night before at the Gaillard Center seemed to be pretty nice and well organized although I only ran in and out to get my packet. Glad I ran it again!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    lap9197 FIRST-TIMER '18

    I completely understand we cannot control the weather however the layout of the course is dependent on decent weather. This weekend was cold and extremely windy. The wind is what … MORE

    I completely understand we cannot control the weather however the layout of the course is dependent on decent weather. This weekend was cold and extremely windy. The wind is what made the race more difficult than it should have been. This is a flat and non-technical course, it should have been a piece of cake with only one overpass of a hill to go up. There were long stretches of the course that were head on into the wind to the point of feeling like you were not going anywhere. Seriously, I know that is out of the race production’s control but I do believe it is something people should be prepared for.

    Race production was great. Communicated frequently yet not too much, had a nice medal, shirt and towel as swag. The towel is good quality, which I was impressed by. I heard many people talking about the women’s shirts from last year and how they made all of them unisex this year due to the trouble with the women’s fit. To me, that is a production team that listens to its runners and takes action.

    Course was nice. The half did have a section of industrial construction that was a little less than desirable to look at while running but for the most part the course was very scenic. Water, gatorade and gu were exactly where they stated they would be.

    For all you beer drinkers, you get TWO drink tickets and different options to choose from. The shrimp & grits were delicious and a nice treat after a cold, windy race!

    Shuttle from the finish area to the start worked as expected and ran on schedule.

    Overall, I highly recommend this race, just wished it lived up to the sunny and warm races of years past.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    SlowJuan FIRST-TIMER '18

    If you like your marathons mixed with a little history, hospitality and Southern cuisine, then you need to do the Charleston. The race starts near The Citadel and wends its … MORE

    If you like your marathons mixed with a little history, hospitality and Southern cuisine, then you need to do the Charleston. The race starts near The Citadel and wends its scenic way past views of the channel, marina, mansions, mortars and Battery Park, then straight up King Street past historic row houses, quaint shops, seafood restaurants, bars and grills. The first six miles are very scenic and pass quickly, but the next eight are through an industrial area to get you to North Charleston. The loop through Riverside Park at Mile 24 is beautiful with the live oaks draped in Spanish moss and its views of the bay. Starting at Mile 18, the course actually passes near the Finish Area several times in the final eight miles and you can clearly hear the festivities. (That’s just mean.) But, the shrimp and grits and beer that await you at the Finish Line make it all worthwhile. Nice shirt and beach towel, great medal, fond memories. Be sure to catch the Sunday brunch at Holy City Brewery; chicken & waffles and a beer flight! Y’all should go!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 16, 2018 at 11:37am

    Gotta agree with you, running by the finish area multiple times in the last 8 miles is pretty sadistic. Luckily it sounds like the rest of the race more than… MORE

    Gotta agree with you, running by the finish area multiple times in the last 8 miles is pretty sadistic. Luckily it sounds like the rest of the race more than made up for it! I'm always looking for a good southern marathon in January, and based on your description it sounds like Charleston is a perfect fit. Fast or slow, congrats on adding another state to your 50 States Map, it's filling in nicely! LESS

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    indigo4081 FIRST-TIMER '17

    A half-marathon in my hometown. The first 4-5 miles are lovely, with great views and then up King Street where there is tons of support. However, the race to North … MORE

    A half-marathon in my hometown. The first 4-5 miles are lovely, with great views and then up King Street where there is tons of support. However, the race to North Charleston becomes real boring. Especially when it was really sunny. Being a point-to-point race means that we had to wait for the shuttle at the end. I waited about 20 mins for it.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    geddings REPEAT RUNNER '17

    I am from Charleston and ran the inaugural race in 2011, and have supported others along the course in other years. Each year there is some form of issue. Running … MORE

    I am from Charleston and ran the inaugural race in 2011, and have supported others along the course in other years. Each year there is some form of issue. Running out of medals and shirts to the course not being plotted properly and running extra. However, these year seemed to go pretty well.

    Just to mention, I was supposed to have run the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon the week prior and after traveling all the way to MS, the race was cancelled because of a winter storm. Well the RD of the Charleston Marathon contacted me and gave me a great discount to run the half marathon since I was cancelled. I was planning to get the half mileage in for training, so I signed up and ran the race. So that was a nice offering from them.

    As for the course, only about the first 5 miles in in downtown Charleston, then you transition into North Charleston which is not as scenic. There was lots of fan support in downtown, but once we got out of downtown, it was very limited until we got to the finish area. The roads are pretty rough throughout the course, but living in Charleston I am use to it.

    If you need a race in SC for a 50 states or something, it is a nice option, but I would steer you to the Kiawah Islands Half/Full instead.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    My Report
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    HeatherJ FIRST-TIMER '15

    This was one of my favorite marathons because it was Milestone Birthday Celebration for my 30th and my mom's 60th - it was her first (and only) marathon. The city … MORE

    This was one of my favorite marathons because it was Milestone Birthday Celebration for my 30th and my mom’s 60th – it was her first (and only) marathon.

    The city itself quaint, friendly and has some great architecture. We checked out some local restaurants (boiled peanuts are my dad’s favorite, while I opted for some corn bread every chance I got), and took a walking history tour around the parks and waterfront.

    The expo is a little far away, and I’m not crazy about white shirts, but the event does do a great job of getting the kids involved – from the expo and course entertainment to the kids race.

    The course was mostly flat and I spent most of the time pacing my mom to ensure she finished within the 6 hr time limit. The announcer even called her name when she crossed the finish line – love when that happens! We grabbed a celebratory post-race beer but skipped the shrimp and grits.

    Memorable Moments:
    – The recycled plastic bottles used to make art that was on display at the expo
    – The young kids singing along the course (the event supports youth and the arts)
    – The cop getting on the loud speaker of his car to wish me and my mom a Happy Birthday as we ran by
    – The volunteer who recognized the signs we had on our shirts and said my dad had already crossed the finish line and was waiting for us (we make running a family event)

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '11

    The expo was probably the only drawback, as it was so far from anywhere. Once you get there though, food and drink was served. I ran the first edition of … MORE

    The expo was probably the only drawback, as it was so far from anywhere. Once you get there though, food and drink was served. I ran the first edition of the Charleston marathon, and there were a few kinks to be worked out. The director was Charles, and when I shared my concern of getting from the airport to the expo to my hotel, he volunteered to pick me up at the airport. What personal service! The swag was nice, although I always cringe at seeing a white shirt, but it was definitely in the theme of “the blues”, and celebrating Charleston’s musical history.
    The course was very scenic, as is the city itself. I had the opportunity to run with a wonderful man, who 2 days later was donating a kidney to a perfect stranger, which would prevent him from running for at least 6 months. We ended up running together for much of the race trading stories.
    The party at the end included gumbo, beer and a large finishers medal.
    Run this race to see the beautiful and charming city, as well as the welcoming people of Charleston.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    TinyTerror REPEAT RUNNER '16

    2016 was my 4th year running this half marathon and I have already reviewed it before, but the race staff made some positive improvements this year. At the expo, the … MORE

    2016 was my 4th year running this half marathon and I have already reviewed it before, but the race staff made some positive improvements this year.

    At the expo, the race shirts are now blue instead of the usual white, and runners now receive a plastic backpack instead of one of those drawstring bags. The bag is better quality and holds more. It seemed like the expo had more vendors and more races offering discounts this year, too.

    The after party was also nice this year, with a better layout. There were 2 beer tents to ease congestion, as well as a mimosa table. The mimosas were already made and laid out for the runners as we finished, preventing lines. Also, there were more volunteers serving shrimp and grits and other food so that runners did not have to wait.

    Race results are now emailed to you immediately after you finish, so you can check on your phone instead of standing in line to check or waiting until that afternoon.

    A few things have not changed- the course is basically the same (no wrong turns in 2016), and the full course is definitely a bit longer than 26.2. Even for a certified race when you expect the course to be over 26.2, many runners logged 26.5 on their Garmins. If you are shooting for a BQ here, you may want to keep that in mind when planning training paces.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    TinyTerror REPEAT RUNNER '15

    I've participated in the Charleston Half Marathon for the past 3 years, and it's one of my favorite local races. It is flat and fast, with a good crowd of … MORE

    I’ve participated in the Charleston Half Marathon for the past 3 years, and it’s one of my favorite local races. It is flat and fast, with a good crowd of runners and volunteers. The half marathon course is excellent and you will always be around other runners, but the full marathon course is not as scenic and goes through a lot of neighborhoods. I highly recommend the half marathon, though- especially the first 6 miles which are through downtown Charleston.

    The race is for a good cause- arts in the schools. The expo does not have a ton of vendors or races, but it’s worth going just to see the art that the students have on display. You can pick up your packet the day of the race if you can’t make the expo, which is a huge advantage for anyone travelling whose flight gets in when the expo is over, or someone who wants to drive in the morning of.

    For what you pay for the race, you get a good deal. It includes a long-sleeved tech shirt and finisher’s medal. The finish line has good refreshments (Shrimp and grits) and each runner gets 2 beer tickets if you are over 21. You can purchase more. There are bands at the finish and they do give awards, 5-year age groups.

    Check the race’s Facebook page for discounts. They periodically have sales around the holidays where they post percent-off codes or run a special.

    Now, in 2015, there was a SNAFU and the course was about .1 long. Not much, but just enough to anger those who were hoping to BQ. This could have been a PR mess, but the organizers handled it so well, offering a 20% off discount for the next year to all runners, as well as posting adjusted/corrected times about a week later. My time dropped a little over a minute. The course was not very much longer (I had 13.24 on my watch) and I barely noticed, but they went out of their way to make sure runners were happy.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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