Overall Rating
Overall Rating (18 Reviews)
4.4
(18 Ratings)(18 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1.8
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
4.1
The Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon starts and finishes in beautiful East Beach Village. 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 the … MORE
Local Weather (Dec 14)
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H (°F) 64 60 61 72 63
L (°F) 59 44 53 61 37
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Recent reviews

    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    + 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

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    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

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    KSMDRT FIRST-TIMER '17

    Kiawah Island is gorgeous but I did not feel that this race capitalized on this. The weather was cold & damp, but it was great having an indoor area to … MORE

    Kiawah Island is gorgeous but I did not feel that this race capitalized on this. The weather was cold & damp, but it was great having an indoor area to stay warm at the start line. Great, well organized race. Getting to the race was a little difficult because parking was a muddy disaster! I didn’t feel the post race festivities were anything special.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    TinyTerror FIRST-TIMER '17

    As a Charleston resident, I've always heard about the Kiawah Island Marathon but was never able to run it in years past. In 2017, I ran the half and saw … MORE

    As a Charleston resident, I’ve always heard about the Kiawah Island Marathon but was never able to run it in years past. In 2017, I ran the half and saw what the fuss was about. It was 100% worth it!

    The Kiawah Island Marathon is one of the best organized races I’ve run. I signed up early and got a great rate. Since so many locals run this, Kiawah Island Marathon hosted an early packet pick up in Mt. Pleasant, which I took advantage of, so I didn’t have to drive to the island the days before the race. You can pick up your packet the day of the race, though, which is great if you are travelling into town on a late flight or morning of. The shirt is excellent- gender specific and hooded.

    Race day brought an early wake-up call. If you’re not staying on the island, you must take a shuttle. We had to park in a muddy field, but the shuttles were the best of any race I’ve run- chartered bus instead of school buses. I did have to go to the car wash and spend $6 after the race to wash my car. When you get off the shuttle, it is about 1/4 mile walk to the conference center, where you can stretch and stay warm until time for the race. If you pick your packet up on race day, this is where you’ll do it.

    The course was great. The half and full run together. If you are a faster runner, you can submit a time to enter the high performance corral, too. There are pacers for popular distances and adequate aid stations with very cheerful volunteers. Aside from a short sandy area of the course that were slightly damp/muddy from the rain, the course is all paved and flat and fast.

    The race calls your name as you finish, which is a fun touch, and the after party and medal were wonderful. The after party had some of the best post-race food, not just bananas and water. There was coffee, hot chocolate, tons of desserts, and warm soup and cornbread, as well as pastas. Awards were beer growlers for the age groupers and Patagonia backpacks for overall placing finishers. The staff kept the food and beer stocked up so that no one missed out no matter what time they finished.

    While I ran the half this year, I plan to return next year. If I do run a full marathon, I would probably opt for this one because of its proximity to my home and how well organized the race was.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey Mar 04, 2018 at 11:05pm

    Very helpful, Amy! Kiawah has been (tentatively) in my Future Races for some time now, and knowing that you and David G. both appreciate the race carries a lot of weight. I also like its December placement, away from the crush of race season. Thanks for the excellent review, and hope to see you on the Kiawah start line (maybe for the marathon?) this year or next. And great to see you back on the site! :)

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    gabrown19 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The course was modified since my first go-around 2 years ago. It had fewer out-and-backs and a spur out to an ocean overlook. A very couple of rainy, cold days … MORE

    The course was modified since my first go-around 2 years ago. It had fewer out-and-backs and a spur out to an ocean overlook. A very couple of rainy, cold days beforehand dampened it a bit but actually made for good running weather, as the rain cleared out just before the start. Personally, I did worse than my first time (20 minutes slower), but I actually enjoyed it more – I wasn’t as exhausted, so I thoroughly enjoyed the post-race buffet. The 40th anniversary long-sleeve hoodie (still tech fabric) and medal were very nice! And the organization is top-notch, even better than 2 years ago.

    One thing for out-of-towners to know: the traffic going onto the island in the morning is awful – arriving at the traffic jam prior to 6:30, it took us another 25 minutes to get to the parking lot to catch the shuttle (race starts at 8). There is only one road leading to the island. So, if you can afford it, stay either on Kiawah Island itself or Seabrook Island.

    2nd thing to know: Weather in December can be erratic compared to other times during the year. Two years ago, it was humid and in the 70s. Last year, it was clear and cold (mid-30s at the start). This year, it was rainy leading up to the race and low 40s. So be sure to check the Charleston weather forecast just before you leave home.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Plecerf FIRST-TIMER '17

    well organized. flat and beautiful. Open roads and path. Maybe too many turns on path towards the end. Great support at aid stations and more choices on food at rest … MORE

    well organized. flat and beautiful.
    Open roads and path. Maybe too many turns on path towards the end.
    Great support at aid stations and more choices on food at rest stop (had bananas, oranges)

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    RunnerMeg FIRST-TIMER '14

    I ran this marathon on a whim, signing up last minute and driving the 7 hours down to Kiawah from Virginia on my last day of student teaching. I've been … MORE

    I ran this marathon on a whim, signing up last minute and driving the 7 hours down to Kiawah from Virginia on my last day of student teaching. I’ve been to Kiawah many times in my life, growing up in SC, so I knew it would be a beautiful run. It was a great opportunity to cross SC off my 50 states list and I’m glad it chose to run it.

    I hit the expo at about 8:30pm Friday night and didn’t spend a whole lot of time there, but it was pretty hoppin’. The t-shirt was long sleeve, not bad, but the cool thing is that if you are or were military, you got a special bib with the American flag on it, a nice touch. I checked in to my hotel right after that and went to bed since the race was the next morning. If you can stay on Kiawah, it’s awesome. Rent a cottage or house, or stay at the Sanctuary ($$$$ but cheaper in December than any other time of year; it’s just beautiful, decorated for Christmas. If you stay on the island, it’s pretty easy to get to the start. I think if you are off the island, you can drive and park outside the gate and get shuttled there.

    It was cold on race morning but crisp and sunny. The start was organized and went off smoothly. This race is pretty much pancake flat, and is very shaded. You don’t run on or even that close to the beach, but somehow that doesn’t matter. It meanders through the beautiful neighborhoods (these houses…wow) and the marshland and lagoons and golf courses that cover the area. It really is lovely, and the weather was just perfect. There was also one house where three or four ladies were drinking mimosas and dressed in long evening gowns and pearls, cheering for the runners. So awesome!

    The majority of runners seemed to be in the half, so after we split it got much more spread out, but again, it just seemed like a lovely run on a beautiful morning. You also run on some bike paths/sidewalks and across some footbridges (look for gators!) before you end up at the finish area. The medal was pretty cool I thought, and was a nice end to the marathon. I really enjoyed this low-key, well-organized marathon, and highly recommend it. Don’t do it if you want nonstop crowds or a crazy beach vibe though; do it for the beauty and scenery of the area, and top notch organization of the event.

    DIFFICULTY
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    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Rhondalyn10 FIRST-TIMER '16

    The weather made this race a downer for me. Cold. Course was just ok as far as scenery goes but it is flat. Great volunteers. Amazing after race food. Nice … MORE

    The weather made this race a downer for me. Cold. Course was just ok as far as scenery goes but it is flat. Great volunteers. Amazing after race food. Nice medal and long sleeve shirt.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

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    runbullardsrun REPEAT RUNNER '16

    Kiawah Island is locally know as a resort island that provides vacationers with luxuries like a top notch hotel (The Sanctuary) and some of the finest dining in town. The … MORE

    Kiawah Island is locally know as a resort island that provides vacationers with luxuries like a top notch hotel (The Sanctuary) and some of the finest dining in town. The island is just as good to its runners, as it provides a top-notch course along with a fantastic post-race party, complete with Kiawah catered food, live music, beer, and opportunities for a few fun photo ops. This year, circumstances allowed us to stay at the luxury hotel on the island, The Sanctuary, enabling us to roll right out of bed and to the starting line. If you want to splurge on a race, do this. It will save you the hassle of driving to Kiawah and taking a shuttle out to the starting line. In addition, you can hobble back to your room after the race is over and enjoy views of Kiawah’s award-winning beaches. No matter what, make sure you get to Kiawah for either the half or the full. 50 staters, we recommend making this your South Carolina race. It’s the best in the state, no doubt.

    For a more detailed report of the Kiawah Marathon and Half Marathon visit http://www.serialrunner.com/half-marathon-race-recaps/kiawah-island-half-marathon

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    5
    My Report
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    5
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    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Feb 13, 2017 at 12:19am

    Excellent! I got a notification that you'd reviewed Kiawah since it's in my Future Races table as a potential SC race (recommended originally by David Geddings, below), so I was psyched to read this after reading your blog post a while ago. Love the idea of staying on The Sanctuary and rolling out of bed right to the start line – not many races offer that opportunity, and it's an awesome perk. Thanks, Julie!

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    indigo4081 REPEAT RUNNER '16

    Beautiful flat course, on a scenic island. Well-organized but where the actual starting line was a bit puzzling if you are not in the elite row. This is my second … MORE

    Beautiful flat course, on a scenic island. Well-organized but where the actual starting line was a bit puzzling if you are not in the elite row. This is my second time running it, but likely will not do it again. They changed the course a bit this year and there was too many turns involved.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
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    4

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    runbullardsrun REPEAT RUNNER '14

    For more details about race shirts, finisher medals, post-race party, accommodations, places to eat, and photos of it all, visit http://www.serialrunner.com/half-marathon-race-recaps/kiawah-island-half-marathon. MORE

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

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    geddings FIRST-TIMER '12

    This was my first time running Kiawah. It is an awesome race, that I repeat in 2013. Super flat & fast. Tyoicaly great weather in December in SC for an MORE

    This was my first time running Kiawah. It is an awesome race, that I repeat in 2013. Super flat & fast. Tyoicaly great weather in December in SC for an event.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    geddings REPEAT RUNNER '13

    Check out my blog post for my review of this race. Awesome course. This was my second time doing this race. A must if you need a South Carolina race. MORE

    Check out my blog post for my review of this race. Awesome course. This was my second time doing this race. A must if you need a South Carolina race.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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