Overall Rating
Overall Rating (15 Reviews)
3
(15 Ratings)  (15 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.3
SCENERY
2.2
PRODUCTION
3.5
SWAG
3.3
Good vibes and ocean tides await you at The Palmetto Running Co. Hilton Head Island Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K! Join this February for an island running adventure that will take you past beautiful lagoons, scenic Crossings Park, and over the Cross Island Parkway! Runners of all levels can break … MORE
Local Historical Weather (Feb 15):
  2024 2023 2022 2021 2020
 
H (°F)  69  74  63  67  58
L (°F)  42  48  35  44  42
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Recent reviews

    jmbyrd FIRST-TIMER '24

    A group of us took a trip to Hilton Head for a mini vacation and race experience. Before the race, we read terrible reviews and questioned our pick. I emailed … MORE

    A group of us took a trip to Hilton Head for a mini vacation and race experience. Before the race, we read terrible reviews and questioned our pick. I emailed the company with past concerns and they were quick to respond. All of us were pleasantly surprised to find out it far exceeded our expectations. 



    Course: You start in a park and then run on a main highway (4 lane) but you have a wide shoulder and full lane to run. I’ve ran races before where I felt uneasy with open roads but not here. You do go over the same bridge 4 times for full/2 times for half but it’s not a huge bridge and manageable. Then you enter another park and wind through roads, parking lots, and trails before you turn back to repeat until the finish for the half. The second lap of the full is a repeat with the exception of a few miles around 19-23 where you go into a more business: residential area that follows a bike path with good shade. It was a nice change for the marathon in scenery. You finish back in Jarvis Park. If you are running with friends who are doing a different race, the out and back feature gives a great opportunity to see them for a quick high five, hug or picture. 

I know it’s a struggle with locals and municipalities to find a course that is more visually appealing. It would be nice to see more of the island – especially on the full. While I didn’t mind the course, I still think it under sells the beauty of HHI.

    Stations: They are spaced out about every 2.6 miles and well organized. Water, Gatorade, gels and electrolyte tablets available. Plenty of volunteers and rubber cups instead of plastic/paper. They had an ambulance at at least 3 of the stations which was helpful if needed. All of the volunteers were engaged and ready to hand you a cup instead of you having to grab yourself from a table. 



    Swag: We loved the medal but the jacket for the half/full only fit 2 of us in a group of 8. They were so small! I hope they switch to switch to another vendor or item. If not, order at least one size up. 



    Other: Porta potties are plentiful at the start. Line is long but loved very quickly. Each station had at least one porta potty. Post race finish line was nice but by the time the marathoners finished in the 4:45 range, there were no bananas left. Only two granola bars and water. I would have loved some drinks with electrolytes and a banana. They have food trucks available but it’s not included in your cost. Race photos were the best yet. So many cameras all around and great photos available the next morning by an easy name search. Course was well marked with volunteers. I never questioned where I needed to go on the route. 



    Suggested Improvements: Change jacket to different vendor or do a hoodie. Add a DJ with a fun emcee at the beginning to get everyone excited leading up to the start and maybe announce winners at the finish line. Always a nice touch! More bananas and drinks at the finish.

    Weather (which can’t be controlled): It was hot and humidity. We saw lots of injuries, medics, cramping, and upset tummies. A more shaded route in sections or water trucks/misters is the only thing that could help this. 


    
Overall: Fantastic vacation race! I hope to repeat this again on the future.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    1

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    Pfluegler FIRST-TIMER '24

    Well organized marathon, lot of volunteers, plenty of waterpoints, nice scenery, a bit too long along the main roads; all in all a remarkable event worthwhile to come back. MORE

    Well organized marathon, lot of volunteers, plenty of waterpoints, nice scenery, a bit too long along the main roads; all in all a remarkable event worthwhile to come back.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    aubreynetzel FIRST-TIMER '23

    Pros: The swag is great with sweatshirts, packet pickup was a breeze and they do have a shipping option available, pacers, beer and food at the finish line. Cons: Course … MORE

    Pros: The swag is great with sweatshirts, packet pickup was a breeze and they do have a shipping option available, pacers, beer and food at the finish line.
    Cons: Course isn’t very pretty as you run along the Highway most of it, not always super clear on where to turn, and not a lot of fuel on course (did have water/Gatorade).

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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    DonnaRuns FIRST-TIMER '23

    I am from out of state and paid extra to have my bib mailed to me. I appreciate that convenience. I stayed at Simple Rewards Hotel, which is very conveniently … MORE

    I am from out of state and paid extra to have my bib mailed to me. I appreciate that convenience. I stayed at Simple Rewards Hotel, which is very conveniently located about a quarter mile from the race start/finish. I joined a bunch of other runners who were staying at the hotel and walked over to the park. Temperature was in the 50s and drizzly, but it was tolerable. The weather prevented any appreciation of the scenery, but sometimes it happens! I ran with the 2:40 pacer and enjoyed the cameraderie. The race was well run with plenty of volunteer stations along the course with water, Gatorade and Gu. There was low country boil and local beer at the finish, which I enjoyed immensely. There was an awesome band as well. I love my medal. All in all a good race.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5
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    archi82cib FIRST-TIMER '23

    We drove from Tennessee for the race and to visit friends in nearby Savanna. They offered mailing out your packet (for an additional $20) which was awesome not to have … MORE

    We drove from Tennessee for the race and to visit friends in nearby Savanna. They offered mailing out your packet (for an additional $20) which was awesome not to have to worry about making it to packet pickup.
    There was a massive rain storm all weekend but it was the lightest during the race. The worst rain we got was waiting to start.

    The race begins and ends in a park and there is no parking. So everyone has to park a couple of blocks away and walk in. No biggie, our hotel was a 6-7 minute walk away from the start line. But a lot of folks were still walking in when race time (8am) hit and were on the course. So the race started several minutes late.

    The first couple of miles are nice, as you are on a closed road out and back a mile each way. Then back through the park again. But then you get on the highway… Its about a 5K from there to the bridge. I actually enjoyed the bridge- It is a little steep, but not superlong so it breaks up the monotony of the highway. At the end of the bridge, you turn into another park and work your way through. Mile 7 was about the most boring part of the race as it was on a bike trail in a very “meh” section of trees and telephone poles. The back half of this park area had sections not paved and due to the heavy rain all night and the high foot traffic, there were plenty of large puddles and some mud traps (but not the fault of the race organization). It was actually fun leaping over puddles or purposely stomping in them to get rid of mud.

    You work your way back to the highway, running past some small businesses, post offices, etc and hit mile 9 right as you go back over the bridge. Once over the bridge, it’s about another 5k back to the park down the same highway.
    Lastly you turn into the park for the last half mile or so.

    Great finish line party- two free beers! and the low country boil was definitely different and fun and appropriate for the south.

    Water stations were plentiful. Very little crown support outside of the park.
    Swag- zip up hoodie was nice (my wife stole mine) and the medal is middle of the line.

    I enjoyed the race and atmosphere. Definitely have done worse. And rain kept us cool. I couldn’t image doing that race in SC heat!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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    lindseyelste FIRST-TIMER '23

    Unfortunately the course was confusing and poorly marked. I had to stop multiple times to figure out which way to go. Definitely needs more race volunteers at key junctures to … MORE

    Unfortunately the course was confusing and poorly marked. I had to stop multiple times to figure out which way to go. Definitely needs more race volunteers at key junctures to guide runners. I also don’t think there was timing mats? I know of a handful of runners who came in short of a full marathon because they missed 2 key jet outs on their way back to the finish. I also was annoyed with the 3:05 pacer, who didn’t even run the whole course! He kept jumping off and on the whole time. Slightly annoying.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    1
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    1
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    4

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    MattyIce Feb 18, 2023 at 8:52am

    Wow that does sound annoying. I ran it in 2020 and thought production was light but acceptable.

    Wow that does sound annoying. I ran it in 2020 and thought production was light but acceptable.

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    mmk77 FIRST-TIMER '23

    I chose this half because it was close to home so figured I could drive in from Bft the morning of and get my packet etc. No race day packet … MORE

    I chose this half because it was close to home so figured I could drive in from
    Bft the morning of and get my packet etc. No race day packet pickup. So I had to rearrange my schedule and drive over to HHI on a Friday afternoon (2 hours spent in the car total round trip) to get my bib which took 2 seconds and to find out my shirt will
    Be mailed to me because they ran out of them. So why couldn’t my bib be mailed too? The weather was awful race day but this clearly isn’t the races fault. The park is nice and plenty of shelter. I would recommend police helping spectators and racers cross the main road from
    The school to the park. The course was a little tight at the start on the path. I would recommend trail shoes as I ran on the grass a lot to pass runners. Then there is a trail portion. The police force on the trail and aid stations were great. Spectators were out which was nice. It was out and back which is ok- but I liked the fact we wound around in parks on both ends so it made the course as interesting as possible. Because of the weather we didn’t hang around afterwards so I can’t speak to that. I’m glad I did it. But won’t do it again but I usually don’t repeat races anyway. In sunny weather- it’s probably a good race. But to be a great race I would highly recommend doing same day packet pickup. Oh and my watch and the timer were off by 3 minutes. Was really trying for a sub 2 but got slowed down with the wind, bridge and mud.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    1

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    jodirae225 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This race was so unorganized! Would not recommend on so many levels!! Ran along a busy Highway with just the shoulder closed! It was a double loop and the 2nd … MORE

    This race was so unorganized! Would not recommend on so many levels!! Ran along a busy Highway with just the shoulder closed! It was a double loop and the 2nd loop they added a route that wasn’t there on first loop and it was a dirt path! There was times where I didn’t even know if I was still on the course! It was poorly marked!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    1

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    dwinters74 FIRST-TIMER '21

    a lot of miles on the highway, completely unsafe. course is not marked very well. You have to go over the bridge 4 times. some of the course was unpaved. … MORE

    a lot of miles on the highway, completely unsafe. course is not marked very well. You have to go over the bridge 4 times. some of the course was unpaved. The swag was not there for pickup, waiting for it to be mailed.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    2

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    MattyIce FIRST-TIMER '20

    Hilton Head is near and dear to my heart. There are probably better races in SC to check the state off, but I vacation here a lot and was married … MORE

    Hilton Head is near and dear to my heart. There are probably better races in SC to check the state off, but I vacation here a lot and was married on the beach in Palmetto Dunes.

    It’s not a challenging race, very flat and a decent amount of water stations. The course is not thrilling as others have commented– a lot of highway and a bit of repeat over the same few bridges. I am not sure why they don’t block off some of the more iconic parts of the island, maybe too much of a hassle to redirect traffic. It’s worth saying February in HHI is some of the best weather for running I’ve ever enjoyed. Brisk in the morning and warms up to a comfortable temperature by noon. This was my 5th marathon and I easily PR’d at sub-4 hours, a huge accomplishment for me and hardly challenging at all with the elevation/ climate.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Joann FIRST-TIMER '20

    This was a well organized race with great swag and good post race food and drinks. All participants receive a nice fleece vest at bib pick up. MORE

    This was a well organized race with great swag and good post race food and drinks. All participants receive a nice fleece vest at bib pick up.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    echwfi FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first Hilton Head Island marathon but my 8th marathon run. It had been 10 years since I ran marathon #7 so I was excited to be back … MORE

    This was my first Hilton Head Island marathon
    but my 8th marathon run. It had been 10 years since I ran marathon #7 so I was excited to be back out there! But, I was really disappointed…
    *The Expo was practically nonexistent. Shouldn’t even be called an expo but just a shirt + number pickup
    *I’m amazed it’s a USTAF sanctioned course – road to trail to running around an open field. Really?!
    *The marathon field was so small there were often times I couldn’t even see any other runners. I wasn’t first or last either.
    *I did place first in my age group + my award was another medal exactly identical to the finishers medal w/1st place on the strap. *Support on the course was primarily a few people with polite golf-like claps. There were only 2 or 3 times over the 26.2 miles that had a significant crowd of cheering.
    *While Spanish Wells was beautiful to run through, the course was pretty boring with a lot of repeat…like the same damn bridge 4 times. I train on bridges so I was ready for it physically. Mentally it was a drag with so much repeat.
    *DEFINITELY NOT enough water on the course!
    *I really hate to sound like a Debbie Downer. Marathons aren’t necessarily all fun, I realize that, but with so many to choose from out there I’d have to say this would be one I would never repeat. If you don’t like crowds and don’t mind being lonely for long, long stretches, this one might be for you.
    Ellen H.

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    2
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    ivy1238 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Hilton Head is a BEAUTIFUL town. This run route doesnt allow you to see that beauty. Most of it is on the highway. The bridge was harder than I thought. … MORE

    Hilton Head is a BEAUTIFUL town. This run route doesnt allow you to see that beauty. Most of it is on the highway. The bridge was harder than I thought. The winds were high when we ran so I had to hold my ears and close my eyes partially when I was running/jogging/walking up the bridge because the winds were heavy. No ‘gu’ at the water stations. Mostly flat outside of the bridge. I had no issues during the race. The last 3 miles were difficult because the highway seemed to never end. I had a hard time speeding up because it just seemed the end wasn’t in site. Not as many runners as other races so that was kind of nice. The race area was narrow and just right. It’s the first race I’ve been on where it clocked dead on 13.1. I’d attribute it to the fact that since it wasn’t as many runners and running area was contained in a narrow space that we didn’t end up zig zagging too much, which adds to the distance.
    The ending was nice. Last .3 was back in the park and it made it a nice change from the never ending highway.
    Medal and long sleeve shirt were made of good material.

    DIFFICULTY
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    Rhondalyn10 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Communication was sparse, no expo, small race with a flat course. One "hill" in the middle, boring course - mostly on the roadways. Pretty start and pretty finish but the … MORE

    Communication was sparse, no expo, small race with a flat course. One “hill” in the middle, boring course – mostly on the roadways. Pretty start and pretty finish but the 10 miles in between were boring. Friendly volunteers. Nice shirt and medal.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    4
    SCENERY
    2
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    3

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    runbullardsrun FIRST-TIMER '17

    The Hilton Head Half Marathon is an easy race to run, especially for South Carolinians for whom travel is easy. The course was largely flat with some small inclines here … MORE

    The Hilton Head Half Marathon is an easy race to run, especially for South Carolinians for whom travel is easy. The course was largely flat with some small inclines here and there. Climbing the bridge twice was the only real incline, and even this wasn’t anything for a runner to lose sleep over. The bridge added some interest to a course that was run mostly on an unremarkable parkway (living in the Lowcountry, we are a little spoiled, however). The 13.1 miles of the course was populated by a small army of enthusiastic high school students and retirees who directed runners at turns and passed out water and Gatorade at aid stations. Runners who like to stay close to the start can stay at the clean and modestly priced Ramada which is a quick 1/2 mile warmup to the start at Jarvis Creek Park. The race shirts were long sleeved, green, and technical and we will definitely wear them all over town.

    Our advice: if you only want to run one half marathon in South Carolina, make it the Kiawah Half. If you, like us, are serial runners and just enjoy the race experience, you will enjoy this one.

    For an even more detailed review of this race visit https://www.serialrunner.com/half-marathon-race-recaps/hilton-head-half-marathon

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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