Overall Rating
Overall Rating (32 Reviews)
4.2
(32 Ratings)  (32 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1.9
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
4.2
SWAG
3.9
The Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon starts and finishes at the West Beach Conference Center. Along the way, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of maritime forests, marshes, and grand homes, as you run throughout the Island community. The only thing more wonderful than the scenery is the moment when you cross … MORE
Local Weather (Dec 09):
2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
 
H (° F ) 65 62 57 69 57
L (° F ) 58 51 33 51 40
Powered by Dark Sky
Find Nearby Lodging (hotel, rental, etc.):

Recent reviews

    wonderjess FIRST-TIMER '22

    I didn't really chose this race, but joined two friends that decided to run the marathon (after a long hiatus from marathon running). This race is a great destination for … MORE

    I didn’t really chose this race, but joined two friends that decided to run the marathon (after a long hiatus from marathon running). This race is a great destination for a long weekend away. We rented a house on Kiawah, and spent Thursday-Sunday on the island for race festivities. In addition, a couple other friends raced the half one group on the island and one off the island (but still on St. John’s).

    Pre-race: so many emails! you can’t say that they didn’t communicate. They covered all the bases, made sure you had what you needed.

    Accommodations: we stayed on Kiawah, about 2 miles from the start (near Night Heron Park). It made everything super easy. We did take advantage of the shuttle – but note, race day morning, the shuttles were not enough to handle the runners getting the start. I jogged to the start, and the marathoners with me hitch-hiked with a random person.

    Swag and Expo: well stocked expo, lots of local artisans too. The race shirt is one of the better ones I’ve earned. The official race gear was fine — i would rate as middle quality.

    Race production: we had a late start (I think because of the shuttles), but everything else was great! well marked course, lots of aid stations, lots of port a potties. The aid stations has water, gatorade, and some fruit. No gus.

    Finish line: abundant. there were lots of food options, including white bean soup, some pasta salads, corn bread, and fruit, and what seemed like a limitless supply of beer!

    Course: scenic neighborhoods, and maritime forest. You’re basically running residential streets the entire time. it’s not bad, but can get boring. Course is extremely flat, and there’s a small bit where you run on a sandy beach road. It’s okay.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    bcb1989 REPEAT RUNNER '22

    The Kiawah Half is a great race and perfect for anyone hoping for one that has relaxed setting and very doable course! It's fairly flat and the road doesn't have … MORE

    The Kiawah Half is a great race and perfect for anyone hoping for one that has relaxed setting and very doable course! It’s fairly flat and the road doesn’t have any camber to it, so it’ll be gentle on your knees and hips. The aid stations are perfectly placed and always have Gatorade and water at the least. We were fortunate that the weather was quite cool. It was rainy for almost the entire duration of the half, which added some humidity but nothing that made the run difficult. The race producers can’t do anything about the weather to have made the sun peak out at least a little, but I do think they could do more to add more views of the beach and ocean. The only glimpse we get it towards the very end and only about 1/4 of a mile running behind a hotel and through their pool area. The race is on an island with beach access, I would’ve hoped for a lot more of that. In order to get to the one portion where we could see the beach, we had to run on dirt/gravel service roads, which was not ideal given it was in the final two miles and that change in ground slows you down a bit – and as I mentioned before it was a rainy morning, so the service roads were squishy.

    Overall great race, and I highly recommend it for half-marathoners, especially if hoping for a PR. The producers put on a really great expo with lots of supplies available (and on discount if bought in certain quantities), as well as featuring local artisans and venders. After the race, they had a buffet that features great options for some recovery carb and protein reloading – chicken pasta, couscous, white bean soup, and more. They also had hot chocolate and coffee to help warm up.

    Really enjoyed it, and would definitely make an effort to run it again!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    gretchenbolson FIRST-TIMER '22

    I must admit that I'm a bit surprised at how high this race is rated, because it definitely wasn't one of my favorites!! The shuttle to the start was not … MORE

    I must admit that I’m a bit surprised at how high this race is rated, because it definitely wasn’t one of my favorites!! The shuttle to the start was not difficult. But the starting line can only be described as a cluster. I had to wait 30 minutes in line for bag check . . . and the bag check line was in the middle of the starting corral. Had I known the process would have been so unorganized, I wouldn’t have planned to check anything.

    The course was flat and relatively easy, but I worried in several places that surely I must have taken a wrong turn because it wasn’t entirely clear where the course was. Sometimes the course was on a walking path that meandered (making it impossible to run the tangent–I ran about half a mile longer than a marathon according to my GPS), and sometimes the course was on a street that was not closed to traffic. It wasn’t clear if runners should stay on the right side of the road or the left, so there were runners on either side with cars driving down the middle! There weren’t an excessive number of cars driving on the course, but enough that it seemed so bizarre that there were no cones marking a safe path for the runners.

    The course itself was pretty . . . for the first mile or two until it became extremely monotonous and I started going crazy wondering if this was the second, third or maybe fourth time we had run on this same stretch. Everything was sage green–the grass, the trees, the houses. It was pretty at first, but boring after a while. Despite the fact that the course was on an island, we only caught a glimpse of the ocean for a brief 100 meters.

    Aid stations were completely overwhelmed. I am not a complete back of the packer–finish time was 4:50–but volunteers at many aid stations were filling up cups while I waited, instead of having them ready to grab and go.

    I will say that the finish line food was the best I have ever experienced, even better than VIP tent food.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    upinatdem FIRST-TIMER '22

    I was most worried about the logistics of getting to the run since you have to be bused to the island from just outside, but this turned out to be … MORE

    I was most worried about the logistics of getting to the run since you have to be bused to the island from just outside, but this turned out to be super easy. You’ll park in a field by the Freshfield village & they have a ton of busses to get you over. I got there at 5:45am & there was a quick line. Bib pickup was super easy. Race is kinda cramped the first mile so really know where you should start. Definitely running again!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    Tank3872 FIRST-TIMER '21

    An almost entirely flat course, seriously there were only two hills over the entire race. The spectator support was incredible throughout the entire 13 miles, the race rented out bikes … MORE

    An almost entirely flat course, seriously there were only two hills over the entire race. The spectator support was incredible throughout the entire 13 miles, the race rented out bikes for folks to use. I will go ahead and say the scenery wasn’t great, running through the neighborhoods was fun but running on an island you’d think you’d get to see the ocean, you don’t. The post race food was wonderful, buffet and a beer truck with multiple types of beer. The pasta and brownies were wonderful, highly recommended.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2
    My Media

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    missmac17224 REPEAT RUNNER '21

    Kiawah Island will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first half marathon. I loved everything about it. My third year running the half marathon is … MORE

    Kiawah Island will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first half marathon. I loved everything about it. My third year running the half marathon is my PB. The corses were changed for this year and while still very nice, I preferred the original location. Most runners will need to get a shuttle to and from the start/finish area regardless if they stay off- or on-island. There is great support along the course and music/bands in a couple of locations. Great food at the finish…REAL food, like couscous, pasta, hot soup. Plus beer, always a good thing. The shirt this year was a long sleeve cotton blend, as opposed to the tech shirts offered in the previous few years. The medal was just as awesome as always, with a stained glass effect and a spinner with half marathon on one side and marathon on the other.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    grimesdee FIRST-TIMER '19

    The hardest part of this race is the parking. You either need to find a place to stay on the island or stay just off and park the morning of. … MORE

    The hardest part of this race is the parking. You either need to find a place to stay on the island or stay just off and park the morning of. So you have to arrive early before they close the island We stayed off the island but very close. The course incorporates the path that is used for the golf course so it is not entirely flat. It was also fairly windy the year I ran it. I enjoyed all the post race festivities but due to the cool temps and wind I was too cold to enjoy very much. I flew in and out of Charleston. So we stayed the first and last night in Charleston. Made a nice extended long weekend out of it.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    runningriddles FIRST-TIMER '19

    The Kiawah Island Marathon is a flat, fast marathon that is optimal for setting a PR. While the area is not the easiest to stay in due to higher prices … MORE

    The Kiawah Island Marathon is a flat, fast marathon that is optimal for setting a PR. While the area is not the easiest to stay in due to higher prices and availability of lodging, the organizers put on a wonderful marathon with great organization targeted towards making it a really enjoyable experience for all runners.

    TRAVEL TIP: There are limited places to stay around Kiawah Island, so if you plan on running this marathon, make your hotel reservations early!

    Communication leading up to the race was top-notch and I received updates via email for several weeks prior to the race with clear instructions. Packet pick up was located on the island itself, which is privately-owned, so you need a guest pass to enter. Luckily the race planners are very organized and sent out a pre-authorized parking pass to all runners allowing them entry onto the island for packet pickup.

    If you stay off the island, there are shuttle buses that pick you up and take you to and from the race. We stayed close to the shuttle bus area, but parking looked to be plentiful in the grassy fields nearby (though they did seem to get a bit muddy).

    The course itself was pretty, but honestly I was a little disappointed. It ran mostly through the inner-parts of the island along community roads and golf kart paths near the golf course. Despite being right on the coast, I was only able to see the Atlantic Ocean for roughly 30 seconds around mile 20. That said I have been lucky to run some of the most beautiful marathons in the country ( Mount Desert Island Marathon 2018 in Maine and The 2019 Kauai Marathon in Hawaii to name a few), so if this would have been my first marathon, I may have thought more of the scenery. Aid stations were plentiful throughout the course, but since I carry my own drink and gels via hydration pack, I did not make use of them.

    Overall the experience was a positive one. I would give the Kiawah Marathon a “thumbs up” and recommend it to someone looking to run in the Charleston area of South Carolina.

    More details at my full race report: https://runningriddles.com/races/the-kiawah-island-marathon-in-south-carolina/

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    missmac17224 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    The course is flat and winds through beautiful neighborhoods and past the golf course and marshes on Kiawah Island. The full and half start together then split apart and rejoin … MORE

    The course is flat and winds through beautiful neighborhoods and past the golf course and marshes on Kiawah Island. The full and half start together then split apart and rejoin again before the finish. The medal is huge with a spinner thing that says Marathon on one side and Half Marathon on the other side. The tech shirts have a unique artistic design. I have heard that shuttling onto the island on race morning can be stressful. I chose to stay at the Sanctuary Hotel on the island so that I could leave my room 15 minutes before race time. Very convenient if a bit on the expensive side. When I am ready for my first marathon, I believe I will choose this one. As it is, I have already registered for the half marathon for next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    Profile photo of Eileen Warren
    Grammarathon FIRST-TIMER '18

    Warm weather race for December, be sure and enjoy the island for at least the weekend, some great places for dinner after the race to celebrate. It's flat as a … MORE

    Warm weather race for December, be sure and enjoy the island for at least the weekend, some great places for dinner after the race to celebrate. It’s flat as a pancake though, and can be tough on the legs using the same muscles for the whole race. Still very pretty and fun!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    Profile photo of John Pitzel
    slomojohn FIRST-TIMER '18

    I ran the 40th edition of this race, and the expertise shows. The race experience is the product of a veteran staff, and it pays off with minimal surprises. Everything … MORE

    I ran the 40th edition of this race, and the expertise shows. The race experience is the product of a veteran staff, and it pays off with minimal surprises. Everything just works – packet pickup, parking, course signage, the race, the staff ,the spectators – everything. Just relax, get there, and run your race.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    lindzelizabeth FIRST-TIMER '18

    This race was beautiful. It was December so it was kind of overcast but still somehow perfect weather for running. And I like overcast anyway because it's less sun on … MORE

    This race was beautiful. It was December so it was kind of overcast but still somehow perfect weather for running. And I like overcast anyway because it’s less sun on my face. It was sort of difficult to get to packet pick up but that is because it’s on a private little island and the buildings were hard to figure out.I stayed just off the island in a cute little mini town with lots of shops in walking distance and that was my favorite part of the trip. While I hate taking shuttles to races, the shuttle was easy enough to get to and use so that’s a plus. Overall a good race and travel experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    bayna6 FIRST-TIMER '18

    The weather was good. I thought that we would be running where we could see the water most of the time (it is an island), but we ran through a … MORE

    The weather was good. I thought that we would be running where we could see the water most of the time (it is an island), but we ran through a neighborhood for the vast majority of the race, it was a nice neighborhood, but not what I was expecting. T-shirt was great!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    This was my first time running the Kiawah Island Half. It was a girls' weekend with two friends who ran the marathon. This is a great destination/racecation race. It's a … MORE

    This was my first time running the Kiawah Island Half. It was a girls’ weekend with two friends who ran the marathon. This is a great destination/racecation race. It’s a nice size, well organized, and has great swag. I loved the shirt this year and the medal. They have a great Christmas craft market during the expo where you can browse local artisans. Post race food, while not right at the finish line is excellent. The course is scenic…the homes you run past are incredible. While it is quiet, I did find there were plenty of spectators riding bikes to meet people they were supporting at various locations. Another great spot is The Sanctuary, where you see the ocean and there’s a big party going on. It’s a fun spot to run through. While we stayed on the island allowing us to walk to and from the start/finish, they’re shuttle option for those off-island runs smoothly, as well. I can’t wait to do this race again!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    Sandytine FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was a well organized event which kept you up to date with lots of emails before the run. There were plenty of parking places and shuttles that ran like … MORE

    This was a well organized event which kept you up to date with lots of emails before the run. There were plenty of parking places and shuttles that ran like clock work for the off site runners, then we were able to wait inside before it started. The course was flat with beautiful scenery and a set down meal after you finished. I thought the medal and shirt were pretty!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    kmusheno FIRST-TIMER '18

    Pros: - Beautiful scenery. Plenty of views of the golf courses and marshes with wildlife. I saw some egrets swooping through the marshes. - Cheap if you sign up for … MORE

    Pros:
    – Beautiful scenery. Plenty of views of the golf courses and marshes with wildlife. I saw some egrets swooping through the marshes.
    – Cheap if you sign up for the next year’s race when they have their discounted rate immediately following the race. I only paid $41.
    – Great food and unlimited beer (Palmetto Amber Ale, Angry Orchard, Michelob Ultra) afterwards
    – Pancake flat course. Absolutely no hills or bridges.

    Cons:
    – Winding course that features a lot of abrupt turns and running on uneven sidewalks/golf cart paths.
    – Traffic is not controlled and the locals were not generally respectful of what you were doing so there are lots of obstructions. Cars and golf carts will act like they have the right of way.
    – Walkers will block diagonals when the full course meets up with the half course.
    – Food and nutrition stations needed to be improved. RD’s pre-race description of the stations was wrong (e.g., there was no jellybean stop). Volunteers were handing out barely filled cups and most water stations only had a handful of volunteers (i.e., not enough time to grab a second cup). I assume that this is because there were not a lot of people on the island that weren’t participating in the event as competitors or as spectators.
    – Swag was awful. The shirt was openly mocked by participants and the medal was not much better.
    – Accommodations are difficult to come by. There’s not much to do on the island outside of the golf course and Charleston is ~30-45 minutes drive away. Don’t get me wrong, the island is beautiful but when the weather went south, we just stayed in our AirBnb.
    – Course is very crowded at the start prior to the full/half split 5 miles in.
    – Not a lot of crowd support along the way. Felt more like a training run through a residential neighborhood than a race at times.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    1

    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    jstu417 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Flat but tough. I thought this would be easy being flat but no elevation changes was harder than I thought. There's also minimal place for spectators (like 4 places) and … MORE

    Flat but tough. I thought this would be easy being flat but no elevation changes was harder than I thought. There’s also minimal place for spectators (like 4 places) and it was a well run race but the shuttle only to start/finish always adds an element of planning before and after the race.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    + Flat, easy course Good snacks on course - bananas, oranges, pretzels, bars Frequent water & bathroom stops Frequent shuttle (no wait time) Tips Limited eating options on the island … MORE

    +
    Flat, easy course
    Good snacks on course – bananas, oranges, pretzels, bars
    Frequent water & bathroom stops
    Frequent shuttle (no wait time)

    Tips
    Limited eating options on the island (just resort food) – go to grocery prior
    Arrive on island during daylight hours (island street signs not well lit)
    Limited road access to island (anticipate heavy traffic during rush hour)
    Thins out at half/full split

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    missmac17224 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    The course is flat and winds through beautiful neighborhoods and past the golf course and marshes on Kiawah Island. The full and half start together then split apart and rejoin … MORE

    The course is flat and winds through beautiful neighborhoods and past the golf course and marshes on Kiawah Island. The full and half start together then split apart and rejoin again before the finish. The medal is huge with a spinner thing that says Marathon on one side and Half Marathon on the other side. The tech shirts have a unique artistic design. I liked the one from last year so much that I bought two more at the expo this year. I have heard that shuttling onto the island on race morning can be stressful. I chose to stay at the Sanctuary Hotel on the island so that I could leave my room 15 minutes before race time. Very convenient if a bit on the expensive side. When I am ready for my first marathon, I believe I will choose this one. As it is, I have already registered for the half marathon for next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    carla004 FIRST-TIMER '18

    This is a flat somewhat scenic race. The live oaks line the roadway taking you back to a simpler time. Not a lot of crowd support as the course winds … MORE

    This is a flat somewhat scenic race. The live oaks line the roadway taking you back to a simpler time. Not a lot of crowd support as the course winds around the island. Hydration station at mile 9ish had the best volunteers. They were extremely encouraging and a welcome sight. You don’t see much beach on this course and part of the course is on dirt paths and paved uneven paths. Towards the end of the race the path narrows and even with signs for slower runners to keep right you will have to give everyone a heads up if you want to pass. The after party is. wonderful. It is refreshing to have more than a small toddler snack box after your efforts. The warm soup, coffee, pastas and beer were all plentiful. Some vendors gave out too many samples and there were none left for my finish. The race could improve by offering a bottle of water when c tossing the finish line instead of a half filled cup of water. We stayed at the Sanctuary so quick walk to grab an extra sweatshirt and return to enjoy all the festivities. The race shirt and medal coordinate better than any I’ve seen. The expo is small but nice offering. Overall the BEST part – plenty of portalets!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

  1. Races
  2. Kiawah Island Marathon & Half Marathon