Whether you’re a new or experienced runner, the half marathon is an ideal distance to include in your yearly plan. It’s enough of a challenge to train for, but not so much that it kills your schedule. If you’re local to New England, check out these awesome Massachusetts half marathons to consider running in the coming year!
Note: This post was first published in 2018 and has been updated in 2024.
And of course, if you need any help training for these races, don’t hesitate to check out any of our free training plans, including:
- 20 week half marathon training plan
- 12 week half marathon training plan
- 8 week half marathon training plan
10 Best Massachusetts Half Marathons
1. Cape Cod Half Marathon – October in Falmouth
This race weekend offers both a half and full marathon option (as well as a relay for the full marathon, which I’ve done). But don’t worry – the half isn’t an afterthought; it’s a major focus of the race weekend. You can also tackle the challenge of doing both races in one weekend, termed the “Clam Chowdah Challenge” (half on Saturday, full on Sunday).
The course is designed to be a fast and scenic route that runs alongside the Falmouth coastline. You might get some views of Martha’s Vineyard! Plus, the race entry fee includes swag (this year is a long sleeve shirt), post-race clam chowder and soup station, and (my fav) apple cider donuts.
The only downside – this half marathon has a 3 hour time limit, so slower runners should look for another option on this list.
2. New Bedford Half Marathon – March in New Bedford
Nestled right around St. Patrick’s Day, this race is the epitome of a classic New England event. At times it’s freezing cold, at times it’s warm and sunny – but it’s always a fun race. It’s been one of my personal favorite half marathons that I’ve run.
Be prepared for the head wind during the miles near the beach, and the challenging hill towards the end of the race. After the race, track down classic Massachusetts favorites to refuel, like a cup of clam chowder or a fish sandwich.
3. Fort Hill Brewery Half Marathon – April in Easthampton
I have this on my bucket list, mainly because I want to explore Easthampton – many people say it’s a cute revitalized town that will be fun to check out. This Massachusetts half marathon passes along farm fields and has views of Mount Tom.
The race helps support Easthampton High School’s Track & Field and Cross Country program – and there’s beer at the finish!
4. TARC Spring Classic – April in Weston / TARC Fall Classic – Carlisle in September
Even though these are two separate events, I’m grouping them together since they’re both put on by the Trail Animals Running Club (TARC). These are excellent options if you’re looking for a beginner-friendly trail half marathon.
First, because there are a variety of distances offered at both events (the spring classic goes up to a 50K and fall goes up to a 50 miler), the half marathon race will typically have generous cut offs. The races will usually extend the overall cutoff (or last loop cut off) to the half marathon racers along with the longer distance racers, so you will typically end up with around 7 hours or more to complete your half. This is amazing if you’re a slower runner or looking to run/walk your event.
These races are also some of the most affordable options out there, costing just $25 regardless of which distance you choose (yes, you read that right!).
I really respect their inclusivity in the sport of trail running and can’t recommend these events enough.
5. Boston’s Run to Remember – May in Boston
This Memorial Day race is a tribute to fallen law enforcement and first responders, making it a great way to pay respect to those who have lost their lives keeping us safe and healthy. It is a very popular race in Boston with excellent spectator support (in fact, it features nearly 10,000 runners and spectators!).
One thing to keep in mind for planning purposes – this half marathon is not walker-friendly (it’s got a 3 hour time limit) and is not stroller-friendly.
6. Narragansett Summer Running Festival – July in Easton
I have a soft spot in my heart for the Gansett Run, as a pal of mine is the race organizer and I know he puts on an amazing event. The lollipop course is mostly flat with some light gradual hills.
While you’ll typically deal with some steamy weather during this mid-July Massachusetts half marathon – you’re rewarded in icy cold Narragansett beer after you cross the finish line.
This race also seems to have one of the most flexible time limits (great for a first time half), as the half marathon starts at 7:30am and the finish line festival goes until 12:30pm.
7. B.A.A Half Marathon – October or November in Boston
The BAA half is put on by same organizers who run the Boston Marathon. This out and back course starts and finishes at Boston’s Franklin Park, with the course meandering through Boston and Brookline. Towards the end of the 13.1 rolling miles, you’ll actually loop through the Franklin Park Zoo before finishing at White Stadium.
This race is popular and limited to a field of 9,000 participants. Some years it has sold out, so register early if you hope to participate.
8. Horseneck Half – May in Westport MA
This half marathon features gorgeous scenery, as it starts and ends at the DCR Horseneck Beach State Reservation. Yep, an oceanside finish! Plus a hot meal and beer are included in your registration post-race.
A few important notes: the half is limited to only 1500 participants (so register early), and there is a 3.5 hour cut off for the half marathon.
9. Happy Valley Half Marathon – October in Florence
This course is designed to showcase the beauty and peacefulness that Western MA has to offer. With an October race date, you’ll most likely luck out with some beautiful foliage.
At the end of the race, there are a few food trucks and breweries on site to celebrate your achievement. Plus, the race helps to support local causes!
10. Harborside Half Marathon – November in Newburyport
This lovely fall race takes you on a course with gentle rolling hills through rural fields, salt marshes, and nature preserves. Celebrate at the finish with craft beer and warm pizza. The race has historically had some great swag for runners as well.
If you’re an elite runner, you may love this race, as they’ve sometimes offered comped entries if you meet qualifying standards. (Check their website to see if this perk is still offered.
The only downside is you can’t park at the start – you have to park offsite and take the free shuttle to the start line.
There you have it – the top races in our book! If you need extra support training for your half marathon, be sure to check out our Snacking in Sneakers Run Club, where I offer virtual run coaching to help you meet your goals.
Share with me: Which of these Massachusetts half marathons do you want to add to your race calendar?
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