From road to trail, New Hampshire provides small races with big challenges. Below are the best half marathons in New Hampshire as rated by runners of the events.
Wallis Sands Half Marathon - Rye
This half marathon has been gaining traction since 2010 supporting local and national charities. National sponsors include the The Edith Sanford Breast Foundation. Also, the Center for Wildlife has helped over 30,000 animals with runner and community support. The race is consistently sold out and you may have to get on a waiting list. Click here for more charity information and entry availability.
According to the founder, Stephanie Murray, “Athletes love this course because it is so flat and the scenery helps the miles fly by!”. Along the sea coast, there are 5 aid stations and the course starts and finishes near Wallis Sands State Beach.
Image Source: Wallis Sands Marathon
"Such a great time! The course was beautiful and well marked. What stood out to me the most would be the energy of the crowds and all the amazing water stations with different themes! All the cheering surely helped at the times you felt tired. Thank you for putting on such a great race!" Danielle Soule, Facebook review
"This is my fourth half marathon in NH and Wallis Sands is my favorite! The course was beautiful and the volunteers were great! Very well organized too!" Emily Kelly, Facebook Review
Clarence Demar Half Marathon- Keene
After being told he should not run because of a heart murmur, Clarence Demar became a seven-time champion of the Boston Marathon. Enjoy a pasta dinner the night before with the race director as the guest speaker! This is a race of over 400 runners, supported by a community of 300 volunteers and cost to run this half starts at $50. Learn more about Clarence Demar and register here.
Begin at the Surry Recreational Dam and travel to Keene. This course has water stations every 1.5 miles. The event offers free training for half marathoners to prepare to reach the finish line at Keene State College where Demar trained.
Image Source: Clarence Demar Marathon
"I really liked the course. Lots of down hills and gentle up hills. The out and back over the dam and the cemetery are the most memorable parts, but much of the course is very pretty. The aid stations were frequent and well staffed with enthusiastic volunteers." B.B., Marathon Guide Review
"This was a lovely, scenic, local, small town, charming race! It's about as beautiful as New Hampshire in the fall gets. The dam crossing was the highlight! So pretty! A very well organized race, not a thing missed." Suzanne Bansley, Marathon Guide Review
New Hampshire Half Marathon - Bristol
Runners recommend this half marathon in New Hampshire if you are looking for a low-key solitude and nature run without trails. This inexpensive race has no expo and is open to traffic in some parts of the race. However, there will be breathtaking scenery, cool swag, and post race massages. Click here to learn more about the New Hampshire experience
Rolling hills make this a more challenging road race for flat land racers. The second half is the most scenic as you run around Newfound Lake and finish in downtown Bristol. According to the marathon's website, "Runners must be aware of the open roads and proceed with caution. The NH Marathon committee will post plenty of caution signs on the road to alert traffic of the race."
“The water stops were plentiful, the volunteers were very friendly and the school in Bristol offered post race showers. This was a small race (275 full marathoners)with a very intimate feel. Great experience!” L.B., Marathon Guide Review
“I ran the half marathon here for the first time and loved it. The scenery on the course was perfect for New England foliage. I especially loved miles around the lake. The local volunteers at water stops were very friendly and cheerful which added to the fun of this event.” J.T., Marathon Guide review
CHaD Hero Half Marathon -
Founded in 2006 by Olympic Ski Jumper, Jeff Hastings, this New Hampshire half marathon, supports the local children’s hospital. Along with MyLaps Timing Equipment, this event also holds a virtual race if you can’t make it and still want to participate. The fundraising minimum is $75 due on race day. Click here to learn more about the virtual race.
This race starts in downtown Hanover before going over the Connecticut River into Vermont. The course has climbs and downhill stretches with water available every 2 miles finishing on the Dartmouth College green.
Image Source: Cleveland Marathon
"Love this event! So special to be a part of it these last two years! Look forward to many more!" Sarah Canney, Facebook review
“Great people, a great cause, I'm a chad hero lifer now!!!! Cannot wait until next year, I'm so blessed to be apart of such a spectacular event!!!” Khrissy Lynn, Facebook Review
Big Lake Half Marathon- Alton
Lake Winnipesaukee, the third largest lake in the state, has awesome views of the White Mountains and over 250 islands. The race is in May but the average weather ranges from the low 40’s to the mid 60’s, so you can expect a comfortable run in one of the country's top half marathons. Click here for more race details.
This, point to point, course starting in Alton, has seven aid stations providing water and energy gels. The race winds through a forest along the lake and comes back out to the road with some rolling hills. The finish line is on the Alton Bay pier.
Image Source: Big Lake Half Marathon
“The race amenities are generous, the swag is top quality, the post-race party is a blast, and the legions of race volunteers are courteous and efficient.” Jason Saltmarsh, Saltmarshrunning.com race review
"The course was not as tough as I had anticipated but the short hills certain go to you due to their timing along the course. Ill be back to run it again in the future and will certainly recommend it to others!" Amanda Naro, Saltmarshrunning.com review
Moose On the Loose- Nashua
This trail race, in Mine Fall Park, is the first event of the New England half marathon tour. Moose on the Loose runners also receive cool swag which includes: tech tee’s, pint glasses, and make your own goodie bags. Proceeds go to support Nashua High School Cross Country teams who also volunteer at the water stations. Click here to learn more and register.
Quoting the description from their website: "The Half Marathon course starts with 3/4 lap on the track. Runners then head out of the high school onto Riverside Drive to the Stellos Stadium entrance to Mine Falls Park. Runners then follow the upper trail all the way under the highway to the soccer fields where they veer left onto the lower trail.
Runners follow the lower trail to the mill entrance to Mine Falls, running along the back of the mills to re-enter Mine Falls near the Cove. Runners cross over the bridge to the south side of the canal and head back towards the Whipple Street entrance to Mine Falls. Runners exit Mine Falls there and run a loop around the industrial park and return back to Mine Falls. Runners turn left and return to the high school track. Half Marathoners repeat this loop, while relay runners hand off to their teammate."
Image Source: Columbus Marathon
"The course was absolutely gorgeous. Well, most of it was. Well, it would have been if it hadn't been for the bloody rain. It was a two lap course, and about three quarters of each lap was in Mine Falls Park." - Tillerman, Proper Course Blog Review
"It starts and finishes on the excellent surface of the high school track. If you are new to half marathons or have never tried this type of race, this is the one to start--easy and mostly flat. It winds through beautiful forests and along a pretty mill canal and pond dating back to the 1800's. Mine Falls is a gem in itself--local runners have been enjoying this venue for many decades, and you would never guess this park is within New Hampshire's second largest city." - Skip Cleaver., Coolrunning.com Review