Overall Rating
Overall Rating (10 Reviews)
3.1
(10 Ratings)  (10 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.6
SCENERY
2.9
PRODUCTION
3.1
SWAG
2.9
The Outer Banks Marathon Weekend will be chock-full of action. In addition to the marathon the weekend will include a half marathon, 8K, Southern 6K, 5K, challenge and fun run. Come revel in the beauty of North Carolina’s coastal crown jewel! Our race courses are carefully planned to showcase some … MORE
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Recent reviews

    jhemond FIRST-TIMER '22

    I attended this race as it was the location of the 50 States Half Marathon Club annual meet-up. I run many races in many locations so I feel like my … MORE

    I attended this race as it was the location of the 50 States Half Marathon Club annual meet-up. I run many races in many locations so I feel like my perception of this race is not just based on a first-time runner.
    When we arrived at the Expo on Friday Afternoon we got our bibs without any issues, however when we went to get our shirts my wife was given unisex shirts. I checked the registration details and it did say they were Women’s Cut Shirts in addition to Unisex. They advised the had already run out of the Unisex size that would fit her. This set the tone for how the race weekend would go…
    On Saturday we ran the 8k. They also ran the 5k at the same time. At these races they ran out of medals. For both the 5k and 8k races… The race reps said they had a lot of late registrants. In my mind these late registrants should be the ones to not get the medals, not the people that registered early but may be slower, but of course the race director wouldn’t want to offend the faster runners… For the record I did receive a medal, but I had several members of my running club who did not.
    Ok, so we now have 2 days for this race and 2 issues.

    So now its Sunday, Marathon and Half Marathon day. The race is point to point so we have to park about a mile from the finish line and take a bus to the start line. This is relatively smooth and without major problems, however it is rainy and windy, but I know that can’t be controlled by the race.
    At the start line all of the runners are huddled under the walkway at the shopping plaza where the start is located. It is impossible to hear any announcements. In the runner information there are 2 different start times listed for the Half Marathon, so we are not sure when the race actually starts. After asking several runners we all agree the Half start time is 7:10 rather than 7:00. At 7:10 all the half runners swarm to the start line as we cannot really hear any announcements indicating when the corrals start. The first corral goes off at 7:10 and we’re off into the wind and rain. Most of the first 7 or so miles was on the main road with a couple of turns into neighborhoods. Just past mile 7 all that changes… The race turns into a trail run where runners have to run up and down a hilly hiking trail, that is now muddy and slippery from the rain. NOWHERE in their communication to runners said there was any trail element. I don’t run on trails and was very concerned for injury because of this unexpected element. After just over a half mile we come out onto a dirt road in the woods. Of course with the rain the road is filled with puddles and to me this felt like were in a scene from “Deliverance” as it was so remote and at certain points no other people could be seen… Again, this was never put in any of their race communications. Muddy roads were not on my to-do list for a race either. Ok, so I survived the 2+ miles of muddy road and we’re finally back on pavement…For a little while, then it was off onto a narrow sidewalk and a horrible gravel/stone trail around the perimeter of a school.
    Finally, I made it to the finish line. I received a medal, a mylar blanket and a bag with a banana and a marathon finisher cap??? I found the food tent and then to the beer garden.
    Shortly after I finished people started appearing in the beer garden saying the Half Marathon ran out of medals. So now 3 races in the weekend were lacking medals. Unfortunately my wife was one of the people that did not get a medal. And the solution to track these people was to write their names on a piece of paper towel?!?!? The Race later said that 2 boxes of medals were stolen, but that seems rather odd… And it took them 2 days to let people know of this.

    So in summary, I would not recommend this race even if it was free entry due to :
    1. Women’s shirts were unisex, even though at registration they listed Women’s sizes
    2. The race ran out of Medals for 3! races!!!
    3. A road race had an unadvertised trail element in the middle of it along with a dirt road.
    4. Extremely poor communication overall.

    The one positive I will say was they did have both race shirts and hats for all the races which is a rarity.

    I also wanted to point out that the race touts this on its website:
    “Participants will enjoy the gorgeous natural scenery along the course as it twists and turns across the islands of the Outer Banks.”
    Well, I can say we saw mostly highways, strip malls and large houses for the first half of the race with maybe a half-mile view of any waterfront and then forest for 2+ miles. Not quite what I consider scenic or iconic of the Outer Banks.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    2

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '22

    I already had North Carolina but this race was the meet-up for the 50 states half marathon club and since it was a short flight I decided to go. I … MORE

    I already had North Carolina but this race was the meet-up for the 50 states half marathon club and since it was a short flight I decided to go. I did have a blast at the 50 state meet up and am glad I went on the trip but this was probably my least favorite half marathon of the 60+ I have done that did not have an unacceptable mistake like cutting the course nearly 1 mile short or major safety issues. For starters I was not impressed with pre-race communication. They did send an email with the bib number but there were discrepancy about the starting time and the website said the half stated with the marathon at 7am but the email said the half marathon start 10 minutes later at 7:10. I honestly didn’t know when the race would start when I arrived. You might think 10 minutes doesn’t matter but it does make a difference when planning to check out your hotel and arranging things with others since my mom had veterans day off and went on the trip with me. For the race I flew into Norfolk, VA which is about a 1.5 hour drive to the Outer Banks. I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn which was about a 10 minute drive from the race finish line and the host hotel for the 50 state club. It was nice and I would recommend the hotel. The packet pick-up is the day before at the Ramada. We got it Friday. The “expo” was tiny and not really an expo. Bibs were different colors for the different races. You also got shirts. They are nice quality long sleeve shirts but not tech. I generally like a cotton shirt for the shorter race and a tech shirt for the longer race when I do a double. They also were all unisex. I prefer unisex so this didn’t bother me but as the other reviewer said during registration you selected a style and I’m sure this upset some runners who selected women’s fit. I understand not having different styles but it should not be an option when you register if that’s the case. The rest of the expo was pretty tiny with some vendors to buy stuff and some little swag from sponsors but it was not much to get excited about. I did the 5K Saturday and the half Sunday. The half marathon is point to point and starts at an outlet mall and ends at the wright brothers memorial. There is a lots of parking at a school next to the memorial at the finish and buses that take you to the start line. The shuttle system worked well but also they did not state when the last shuttle was leaving on the race website schedule so I arrived pretty early to make sure I got a shuttle. The start was a mess. There did not appear to be an announcer. I heard they were running late from another runner or maybe there was an issue with the loud speakers. But there was no music, pre-race instructions, anthem, etc. At 7am they just asked the marathoners to line up. Then at 7:10 they just asked the corral A half marathoners to line up and just called out corrals. I was kind of confused where to be. The weather the day of the race was awful and affected the experience. There was rain and huge gusts of wind. While the race can’t help the weather the course was set up terrible for this kind of weather. Pretty much every race I have done by a beach has some kind of headwind and this weather is not that unexpected. They need a better course. Most of the race was a point to point along the major road heading straight into the wind. Most other races I have done by the beach have been a loop or had an out and back portion so while some parts have a miserable headwind others have you going really fast with the wind. For instance while not at the beach, Indianapolis had horrible winds but it only affected us about 2.5 to 3 miles the way the course was designed. There were a few places you ran into some neighborhoods which gave some respite from the wind but most was straight in the headwind. It was miserable and I ended up walking most of the race as it was too hard to run in the wind. Again the race can’t help the wind but they could have made a better course. At about mile 8 you are finally done with the main road but then there is a surprise 2.5 miles of trail. This was not mentioned anywhere that there was a significant trail portion. It was not super technical trail but it was rolling ups and downs and while it was all runnable it was technical enough to slow you done and obviously with the weather there was a lot of mud. I actually enjoy trail running and wouldn’t have minded this section if I knew it was coming but it needed to be mentioned in the course description. If I knew I was going to be running on muddy trail I would have packed an old pair of sneakers to wear and just thrown them out after the race. I also would have been really pissed if I were trying to BQ or PR and had unexpected trail to slow me down. The last few miles are in the area around the memorial and in neighborhoods and at least not on the main road. But one part was on a gravel path that was hard to run on. The final bit is around the memorial and it’s a nice finish. The course was at least well marked and easy to follow. The scenery was fine and it was nice to have a variety of views with the trail and the neighborhoods but most was just along a street and it was not nice enough to make up for the other issues of the race. There were adequate aid stations with water and gatorade. I think they may have ran out of Gu for the slow runners but maybe I just missed it. One issue were the mile markers. There were accurate mile markers until around mile 9 where the marathoners split from the half and do about an extra 1.5 miles before joining again and then all the mile markers after that point are for the full and there are no more half markers. It really confused one runner to see at mile 12 marker at mile 10.5. I reassured her it was for the marathon but maybe have separate half and full mile markers. My heart also sunk when at mile 12.6 I saw a 25 mile marker and I thought how can I have 1.2 miles to go in this miserable weather but there is this out and back section past the memorial where the half marathoners turn around sooner than the full so I really did only have about 1/2 mile left but it was not clear without the half marathon markers. I had a really slow race since as I said I essentially just walked it. To make matter worse they ran out of medals so I didn’t even get a medal for my misery. They did take our names down but I have not received any communication from the race about not having medals. I get it. Perhaps more runners registered than expected, a box got lost in the mail or there were supply chain issues but they should have sent an email saying they may run out of medals especially since this happened at the 5K/8K and even if they didn’t do that they definitely should have sent an apology email immediately after the race. When this happened with vacation races that was exactly what they did. You did get a bag with a water bottle, banana, granola bar, hat and chocolate milk. I would have preferred not to have received the chocolate milk so I threw it out. With the medal this would be good swag for a race. I will improve my swag score if I do receive the medal. They also had a food and beer coupon. But of course the food was just chicken sandwiches with no veggie options because this race sucks. Overall I strongly do not recommend this race. Maybe if the weather was better and you were a fast runner who ate meat this might be a fine race but it still would have had issues. I previously did Tobacco Road for North Carolina and it was a great race and I would definitely recommend that race instead. This race is also the same weekend as Richmond in VA which is a wonderful race so even if you are a local I would recommend driving a few hours to Richmond over this race.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    M_Sohaskey Nov 14, 2022 at 6:00pm

    On the bright side, glad you enjoyed Tobacco Road! 😬 Glad the 50 States meetup was a success at least, and hopefully that medal arrives soon so you're able to… MORE

    On the bright side, glad you enjoyed Tobacco Road! 😬 Glad the 50 States meetup was a success at least, and hopefully that medal arrives soon so you're able to enjoy some delayed gratification. Thanks for the honest review Amy, and thanks too for the heads-up on the trail portion, we've updated our race listing to reflect that. Here's hoping for a less soggy race day in Seattle later this month! LESS

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    jkahn95600 FIRST-TIMER '22

    The race had great e-mail communication and was very marked and had folks directing traffic. It was not their fault the first five miles on the highway had heavy rain … MORE

    The race had great e-mail communication and was very marked and had folks directing traffic. It was not their fault the first five miles on the highway had heavy rain and 25 mile winds that you had to run in but running out of medals for runners coming in after 3 hours is not acceptable and running out of Mylar blankets for 3 hour half marathon and 3 hour marathons was even worse . I took my off and gave to a marathoner. Don’t advertise women shirt and then give unisex shirt and for these distances a cotton shirt. This race was point to point and I kept hearing flying pirates in April would be the race to run if you wanted to one in outer banks. I would have enjoyed the great post race party if I was not so cold

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '22

    I did the 5K as part of the 5K/half marathon challenge. My half marathon review has more details. My mom has veterans day off so she went to the outer … MORE

    I did the 5K as part of the 5K/half marathon challenge. My half marathon review has more details. My mom has veterans day off so she went to the outer banks with me this weekend. We arrived Friday morning so we could do the 5K saturday. The 5K and 8K are at the wright brother memorial. Race morning was actually more organized than the half since they had an announcer. The 5K start 15 minute after the 8K. The course was fine and at least today the weather was beautiful. As flat as a pancake. It was not the best designed course as it involved 2 laps around the memorial so with the multiple distances there was a lot of passing people with different paces but I understand wanting to keep logistics easy for the 5K/8K and not closing roads. One issue was the 5K was long and I heard the 8K was short. I just walked this with my mom. She was having some issues (she is fine) but as a result we were really slow but not last. The big issue is they ran out of medals. You can see my half review for a strong opinion on this but the fact they ran out of medals for this race means they must have known they might run out of medals for the half so makes the lack of communication even worse.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    TerriB FIRST-TIMER '19

    The outer banks marathon is beautiful. The half marathon is virtually flat other than the bridge at mile 9. At the top of the bridge is 10 miles. Perfect for … MORE

    The outer banks marathon is beautiful. The half marathon is virtually flat other than the bridge at mile 9. At the top of the bridge is 10 miles. Perfect for me as at mile 10, I always say “ it’s just a 5k now” and downhill 😉. As a side note you will so accomplished when you beat it.
    Nice medal, nice race shirt and nice after party at the park, snap a shot of your medal with the Roanoke lighthouse that is at the finish.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    hseitz FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was my first marathon, and I had never run more than 18 miles. I rode 4 hours here with my running club team from High Point, NC, and we … MORE

    This was my first marathon, and I had never run more than 18 miles. I rode 4 hours here with my running club team from High Point, NC, and we rented a vacation home on the beach and hung out all weekend. Race expo was in a local middle school, and had plenty of vendors and merchandise.
    As the title mentions, I did a floss dance before the start of the race for good luck, and miraculously I finished. My IT band in my hip was so tight for a few miles, but I ate a Gu for the first time at mile 7 and everything healed like magic. Also, someone gave me Mountain Dew when I was struggling at mile 21 and the pure sugar was another magic energy boost. The crowd support along the course was average, but we finished in downtown Manteo and there was definitely a party going on there.
    Scenery included running past the Wright Brothers Memorial around mile 8, a forest from miles 10-13, some nice coastal neighborhoods from miles 16-20, and a two-mile bridge from miles 22-23. Everyone said it was a steep heartbreak bridge that forced you to walk, but maybe that Mountain Dew kicked in because I crushed it. On the bridge, I saw pelicans diving headfirst into the water below to catch fish, a pretty scene that still brings a smile to my face. The last mile was suspiciously long (seemed more like 1.2 or 1.3), but otherwise it was such a beautiful, emotional experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    Marathontwinmom FIRST-TIMER '18

    52 at the start, and 61 degrees at the finish. 20mph headwind picked up the last several miles and made it very cold after the finish. Mostly flat race with … MORE

    52 at the start, and 61 degrees at the finish. 20mph headwind picked up the last several miles and made it very cold after the finish. Mostly flat race with a .5 mile overpass at mile 24. There are 5 miles of hills and single track trail, through the park, in the middle. Nice scenery and the finish line party was nice with beer and music.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    ivy1238 FIRST-TIMER '17

    My 2nd half marathon and didn't know what to really expect. I unexpectedly had a personal record. I also did the 5k the day before so I could get all … MORE

    My 2nd half marathon and didn’t know what to really expect. I unexpectedly had a personal record. I also did the 5k the day before so I could get all the medals.
    I was able to get through entire course without stopping, even with the bridge. The course was mostly highway. There were ALOT of runners so it made it easier not to get caught up on looking ahead at the long highway. The last half mile was a little annoying because it seemed like you were at the end but then found that you had a few more turns that you weren’t prepared for. The start and ending are on two different places so it required for you to take shuttle or have someone get you from the other side. Overall I enjoyed the races and I thought the production team did a good job. It was well organized.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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    RunnerMeg FIRST-TIMER '12

    I know some people really like this race, I just am not one of them. I found it to be dull, and considering it's such a beautiful place, it's not … MORE

    I know some people really like this race, I just am not one of them. I found it to be dull, and considering it’s such a beautiful place, it’s not very scenic. There is a hilly part in the woods around the halfway point, which was a nice, and surprising, change of scenery, but otherwise it’s kind of around neighborhoods and down a long stretch of highway to the never ending bridge and finally into the home stretch and finish in Manteo. I’d call it a mediocre event, which if you’re nearby, is a decent race to run. Otherwise, I think there are other, better, options out there for North Carolina.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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    oasiselementary Jul 31, 2020 at 2:40pm

    So if I could only run one marathon in NC, which one would you recommend?

    So if I could only run one marathon in NC, which one would you recommend?

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    wonderjess FIRST-TIMER '10

    I ran the OBX Half Marathon in 2009 and the Full in 2010. The timing, in November, means that this tourist driven area comes all out for the race. This … MORE

    I ran the OBX Half Marathon in 2009 and the Full in 2010. The timing, in November, means that this tourist driven area comes all out for the race. This is kind of the area’s last little hurrah before the beach closes down for the season, and the locals are glad to have you there contributing to their economy. Both times that I went, we rolled a week’s vacation into the trip. Beach houses in NC in November are at a steal!!

    As for the race itself: It’s super flat, till you hit the bridge 3 miles from the finish. I think the first half of the course is much more interesting (as a note, you can run just the first half in an April Half Marathon there). It winds through some neighborhoods, and through a nature preserve, and you come out at the Wright Brother’s Memorial. Then the second half you’re on blacktop. You do get some sound views, but never really ocean views.

    Race production has always gone off without a hitch for me. The organizers put on a good expo, everything I needed was on the course. The finish has warm stew and Coors Light (at least they did when I ran). You finish up in downtown Manteo which is cute!

    Things to beware of: Driving traffic gets crazy on race day. If you’re a spectator meeting your racer, give yourself plenty of time to get to the finish. Because you’re on an island, there is only one north/south road. It can get hot on the course! And also, if you’re slow (this was my first full), it can get pretty lonely on the course.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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