Overall Rating
Overall Rating (9 Reviews)
4.3
(9 Ratings)  (9 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
3.7
The Surftown Half Marathon, presented by Westerly Hospital, is a spectacular beach race featuring stunning views! The half marathon course runs along the ocean front streets of Misquamicut Beach and Watch Hill, RI. It’s fast and flat – a great destination race with live entertainment, pace teams and a well-marked … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 REPEAT RUNNER '23

    I ran this race a couple years ago and loved it. Of course that was before a stress fracture and lung damage significantly slowed my speed. I decided to run … MORE

    I ran this race a couple years ago and loved it. Of course that was before a stress fracture and lung damage significantly slowed my speed. I decided to run this race again since I was moving back to New England and one of my favorite bands was playing in Rhode Island Saturday night. As I was progressing nicely with my time in the late spring and had a few under 3 hour half marathons under my belt, I thought I’d be fine when I signed up but it’s been a rough summer for me. This race has a 3 hour time limit and I knew I wasn’t going to make it. However it was a very fast course so I was hoping as long as the weather cooperated I would finish in the ballpark of 3 hours. For the race I stayed in Mystic, CT which is about a 15 minute drive to the race start and fun place for the weekend. I opted for race day packet pick-up since picking it up the day before wouldn’t time well with the concert. As soon as I woke up Sunday morning and left my hotel I knew I was in trouble. It was about 100% humidity and miserable just walking to my car. I thought about dropping down to the 5K but decided to attempt the half since I was 3 half marathons away from 100 half marathons and I looked at last years finishing times and saw a few people over 3:20. Most of the specific race details are in my review from last year and I am going to focus more on the issues I had in the back. Packet pick-up and parking very easy and free. Packet this year had polyblend shirt instead of tech shirt. It was still quite nice. For the race there were up to 3 hour pacers. I decided to try to follow them but it was way too humid for me to keep up. This year they reversed the course from 2 years ago which I though was better. It was again kind of dumbell shaped so you ran straight along the beach then did a loop and then straight along the beach and then a loop and then straight to the finish. This time the longer and hiller loop was first which I though was better so you got most of the hills over with as opposed to them being during the toughest miles. Although none of the hills are very big. This is a relatively flat race with about 200 feet elevation gain. It is quite scenic though it was a foggy morning so scenery was worse this year as well. It was actually kind of an odd experience being in the back as for the most part I hardly noticed. All the aid stations were open, there were race officials patrolling the course and everything was well marked. There was a timing mat at around mile 8 right by the start/finish and they let us go right through it with no indication there would be issues. I was very surprised to see a photographer at mile 11 because it was over 3 hours by then. There were also no issues with the roads since they are open anyways. However this is where the issues start. It was a rough race in the humidity and I pushed myself as hard as I could praying I would get a finish time. I see the finish line is being partially taken down (which honestly surprised me as nothing else was taken down on the course for the slower runners) and I cross my fingers I would get a time and sprinted to the end. Luckily I heard the sound of my time getting recorded. I did get a medal which was nice but not as nice as two years ago. Most people left the finish area but I also got my crabby challenge medal which was big and adorable. There was also finish line food though it is clam chowder so I just took the popcorn and granola. Now this probably all sounds fine and it was and if I just got a published finishing time I would have been happy and probably rated this race 5 sneakers, maybe 4 because the nerves about finishing weren’t that fun. However I looked and my time isn’t published. I’m like okay maybe they just need more time to record all the numbers. I had lunch in Mystic and went to see a movie and visited Mystic Village and then I was happy I checked later in the afternoon and saw my finishing time. Phew this would count and I am 2 away from my 100th half marathon. However later that night I drive home and see they posted on facebook that they have published the correct times and my time has disappeared. What? It was recorded. So I reach out to them the next day. And I will admit they were very professional in their responses but they basically said the timer was off at 3:15 and times weren’t recorded but I told them I had a finisher time and I saw it so they looked into it and it turned out the timer was never turned off so my finishing time was an accident so they didn’t want to publish it. I begged and pleaded as I really needed the finishing time and it literally was recorded and they eventually did publish it but told me to download my finisher certificate as they may decided to remove it and that they shouldn’t have to post my finishing time because I was over the time limit. While I am happy I got a finishing time this really upset me. Look I completely understand why courses may have to have time limits for runner safety, volunteer safety, staff safety or city permits. If I was pulled from the course at mile 8 which would have been an easy time to pull runners because it wasn’t safe for us or the volunteers to be out so long I’d be a little annoyed but I’d get it. If the timing mat was taken down because the city made them I’d be a little annoyed but I get it. But I don’t get not wanting to post recorded times because you think runners over a certain time don’t deserve a finishing time or something. Literally no one is hurt by posting my finishing time. It also seems really arbitrary that the time limit is 3 hours and someone who is 3:15 is okay but not 3:25. I mean I could sort of get being a stickler for the rules and not posting anyone over 3 hours. Anyways this left a very sour taste in my mouth after an otherwise good race. I have decided I will not be running with Hartford Marathon Foundation who produce this race anymore as even if I get faster I would prefer to support race companies that are less elitist and more supportive of athletes of all abilities. I was going to do the Hartford Half this fall but I decided to transfer my registration to another runner and do Baltimore Running Festival instead. It appears from my communication that Hartford Marathon Foundation is planning to be stricter with their time limits as they have been more lax the past few years so I would definitely reconsider running one of their races if you don’t think you can finish under the time limit and not just rely on past finishing times.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    aubreynetzel FIRST-TIMER '23

    Pro's: Super easy parking right by the start/finish for free, packet pickup morning of, relatively flat course, pacers, finish line food & beer Con's: Paying for race photos, the humidity … MORE

    Pro’s: Super easy parking right by the start/finish for free, packet pickup morning of, relatively flat course, pacers, finish line food & beer
    Con’s: Paying for race photos, the humidity (I know, they can’t help it), and time limit. The race has a 3 hour time limit and they have some flexibility on it but not a ton, the course is run through a small beach town and then on sidewalks, so I don’t see any reason as to why they have such a limited time slot and why they can’t be more accommodating. Just be warned that if you tend to take longer than 3 hours you risk being swept off of the course.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    BrandonThompson FIRST-TIMER '22

    First time visit to Rhode Island and it did not disappoint. The course is fairly flat with two out and back loops. Amazing views of the beach and gorgeous waterfront … MORE

    First time visit to Rhode Island and it did not disappoint. The course is fairly flat with two out and back loops. Amazing views of the beach and gorgeous waterfront homes. Well supported with water stations, great post race environment. Really neat beach themed finisher medals and technical race shirt.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    There was ample free parking, nice volunteers, enough potties, water at the start, aid stands were well stocked and manned. There were maybe 1-2 miles where you could see the … MORE

    There was ample free parking, nice volunteers, enough potties, water at the start, aid stands were well stocked and manned.

    There were maybe 1-2 miles where you could see the ocean the rest was main roads or neighborhood roads. My main complaint was there was no delineation from runners and traffic. Traffic was able to drive both lanes for 90% of the race and there was a single track shoulder. Most cars did not slow down or yield and seemed to be pissed we were in their way. The police did have most intersections well managed.

    Medal was nice shirt was seafoam green (not a good color). No food after the race. Very few spectators and most just stood there and watched. About 600 half marathon participants. There was also a 5K that started 10 minutes after the half with no issues.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This race takes place in a coastal town in RI right by the Connecticut border. It is produced by the Hartford Marathon Foundation who did an excellent job. This wins … MORE

    This race takes place in a coastal town in RI right by the Connecticut border. It is produced by the Hartford Marathon Foundation who did an excellent job. This wins as my favorite half marathon of the year so far and I’ve done close to 20 so far this year. This race is quite similar to the similarly named Surf City half marathon in CA which just happened to be on the same weekend this year but I actually thought this course was more scenic! For the race I stayed in Mystic CT which is about 20 minutes away at the Holiday Inn Express. My mom met me in Mystic Saturday evening and she walked the 5K while I ran the half. I got there a little earlier and did Saturday packet pick-up at the beach. However I was only able to pick up my packet and not my mom’s as you need a signed and printed waiver to pick up other people’s waiver. That was my bad as I didn’t read the rules and I wouldn’t hold it against the race but mentioned it just so others are aware. Packet included bib and a nice, pretty colored blue tech shirt. Race morning went pretty smooth. There is free beach parking but it does get a bit congested. My mom got her packet in the morning. There were plenty of porta potties at the start. The race is set up very smart where half marathoners start at 7:30 and 5Kers start the opposite direction at 7:40 so there is very little if any mixing of the races. The start had signs to line up by pace. I was aiming for an under 2:45 finish knowing this was an easier race than yesterday but that my legs were still a little tired so I stuck with the 2:45 pacers. It was nice to have pacers for a race. Everyone seemed to line up well and this is a nice sized race with about 1000ish participants so lots of runners but not too congested. The first about 2 miles were on the main beach street. This part is very similar to Surf City and you can’t really see the beach but you can smell the ocean air, see some wetlands and kind of the cheesy touristy beach stuff. This part is pancake flat and the start was fast as we were going with the wind. Then there is about a mile through a nice neighborhood. There are a few rollers but nothing hard at all and the slight elevation change is nice to work out different muscles. Then it’s another about 3 miles on the main beach road. While this is pancake flat, it was tough this direction due a strong headwind. Then it is about 5 miles through some really, really nice neighborhoods. I mean like ginormous, beautiful mansions including Taylor Swift’s. This part is again not flat but mostly just little rollers. There is one hill called “Watch Hill.” Everyone acted like it was this big monster. It was an absolute joke compared to yesterday. To be fair while it wasn’t very long it was on the steeper side and it occurs at mile 9.5 which I think is the absolute mentally toughest part of a half. I did walk it since my legs were tired but I’m not sure I would have if I didn’t run a half yesterday and I wouldn’t have walked it in a shorter race. The views were amazing at the top. The rest is mostly downhill and then the last mile and half is flat, fast and with the wind down the main street. The course was very well marked and also the areas that were open to traffic had areas coned off for the runners and course marshals on bikes helping to make sure everyone was safe. There were also frequent water stops with cups of water and Nuun and one in the middle with Gu. It was nice to have nutrition on course. Today there were like a million porta potties on the course when I didn’t have to go. Weather was pretty nice. It was a bit hot but not too bad and the biggest issue was the headwind. I actually felt great for this being my second half marathon this weekend and knew I had enough energy to run the last few miles faster than the pace of the 12:45 pacers so I went ahead and killed the last couple miles and actually finished under 2:40 and had negative splits. I would have been happy with my finishing time if I didn’t run a half marathon yesterday and was especially impressed with it given I did. You get the medal at the end which is very nice, big and surf themed. My mom’s 5K medal is a cute little surfboard. For food they had bananas, granola bars, granola and clam chowder. Unfortunately they were out of granola bars and granola when I finished which is my only complaint about the race. Luckily my mom grabbed some for me since I don’t eat clams and bananas don’t sit well with me for some reason. My mom enjoyed the 5K a lot but was disappointed it was broth clam chowder not traditional, cream based New England clam chowder. It is a little congested driving out of the race. Not big deal since there is free beach parking so can’t really complain but plan accordingly. After the race we went back to Mystic and had lunch at Pizzetta which has the absolute best vegan pizza and there are non-vegan options there too and then went to the Mystic Aquarium before heading home. Overall this was an awesome race! I would highly recommend it for Rhode Island and honestly just in general if you are looking for a great race. It is also a fun place for a weekend trip and this is one I would love to do again and was worth the trek!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

    4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Sep 13, 2021 at 7:17pm

    More scenic than Surf City, eh? And best half of the year so far? Duly noted, that's high praise! I'd love to run the in-person race sometime to complement my… MORE

    More scenic than Surf City, eh? And best half of the year so far? Duly noted, that's high praise! I'd love to run the in-person race sometime to complement my virtual challenge medal from last year 🤙. Nice job fighting through the headwind and well done on the back to back, you've definitely mastered the art of recovering on the fly! LESS

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    HF13940 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Well organized, great course, well supported. Pre run massages as well as post run. I didn’t stay to check out the food due to the long lines. More than enough … MORE

    Well organized, great course, well supported. Pre run massages as well as post run. I didn’t stay to check out the food due to the long lines. More than enough ports potties. Medal was awesome. Cotton T-shirt 🤔 will look ok on blanket.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    AA41 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Well run, scenic course, great experience. I ran with a pacer group that was amazing. Plenty of ocean views and mostly flat. One big hill near the Ocean House in … MORE

    Well run, scenic course, great experience. I ran with a pacer group that was amazing. Plenty of ocean views and mostly flat. One big hill near the Ocean House in Watch Hill (I think around mile 9), but totally worth the beauty. Great after party with DJ, homemade chowder, and snacks. T shirt is real hip and retro. Do this race !

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Pmontele FIRST-TIMER '18

    Basically flat course on streets around Misquamicut beach, Weekapaug and Watch Hill with great views of ocean and bogs. Well run, easy parking and run by the beach. Temps around … MORE

    Basically flat course on streets around Misquamicut beach, Weekapaug and Watch Hill with great views of ocean and bogs. Well run, easy parking and run by the beach. Temps around 60 but windy. Still hard to complain.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    The course is mostly flat until you head to the Watch hill area, and then you head for some rolling hills (and one steep uphill around mile 9.5-10). The parking … MORE

    The course is mostly flat until you head to the Watch hill area, and then you head for some rolling hills (and one steep uphill around mile 9.5-10). The parking can back up (there are really only two major roads in and out of the area) so definitely get there early. The course is scenic and beautiful, showing off the beaches of Westerly and part of the Watch Hill area. The race typically has a beautiful surfboard medal. You start on a flat section for the first part of the course, and then head on the right of the finish line out to the second part of the course. The first four miles can be pretty crowded and then it spreads out more. Beware of lots of potholes and cracks in the roads. The race is organized by the Hartford Marathon Foundation and they are an excellent group. Watch for a sellout as this race is very popular.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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