5 Memorable Half Marathon Vacation Races

vacation races on the west coast

With summer in full swing, race schedules are being locked into place.  Keeping a few weekends open for a road trip and some vacation races might be worth it when throwing in the goal of running a half marathon. While some races offer cash prizes for top winners, all of these events will reward participants with spectacular courses and post-race festivities after crossing the finish line.

5 Vacation Races to Consider

Mammoth Half Marathon – Mammoth Lakes, CA

Beginning in Northern California’s High Sierras at roughly 9,000 feet above sea level, this race follows a route that runs along a combination of trails and mountain roads — including a stretch around Lake Mary and across the Waterford Bridge. Runners follow a point-to-point course in the shadow of nearby Mammoth Mountain, which starts at Horseshoe Lake and finishes along Old Mammoth Road, next to the Sierra Nevada Resort and Spa. If you’re looking to set a new PR, a net loss of 1,131 feet on this course will probably be your best bet. For more information, visit Epic Run Series.

Portland Half Marathon — Portland, OR

The Portland Half Marathon offers the most unique race experience around. With four epic bridge crossings, a downtown start and finish, and a tour through the most iconic landmarks and neighborhoods in town, this fast and beautiful route is the best way to experience the Rose City, visit Portland Marathon for more details.

The Orca Half – Seattle, WA

If you’re a fan of the big city, the Orca Half in Seattle might become a favorite. With a course that skirts the shores of West Seattle starting at Lincoln Park and finishing at Don Armeni Boat Launch, runners will be treated to views of downtown Seattle, Blake Island, Vashon Island and Puget Sound. Benefitting the Whale Trail, a Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to inspiring appreciation and stewardship of whales, you can rest assured you’re running for a great cause. Finishers will receive a custom finisher’s medal, along with pies from the Alki Pie Company for the top three male and female finishers in each age group. For more information, visit orcahalf.com.

Spokane Half – Spokane, WA

This late fall half marathon starts in the heart of downtown Spokane at Riverfront Park, and heads west along the Centennial Trail winding near the Spokane River. Runners will cross over the river at the T.J. Meenach Bridge on route to the Doomsday Hill since it gains 120 feet of elevation in less than three quarters of a mile. Runners will climb a total of almost 900 feet throughout the 13.1-mile course, but the scenic river views are worth it. All finishers will receive a custom medal, technical shirt and awards that will go to the top three finishers in each age group. All runners will enjoy post race festivities with free pizza and finisher photos. For more information, visit thespokanemarathon.com.

Bozeman Half -Bozeman, MT

A drive through Big Sky country in early fall will take your breath away, so why not make the trip to Bozeman for a running adventure? Home to the Montana State Bobcats, this mountainous college town has magnificent running in just about every direction. Half marathon runners will begin south of town near the entrance to Hyalite Canyon and continue through Bozeman’s country roads towards downtown. The course is predominantly downhill and runs past farmland with the Bridger Mountains in the background. Runners will be treated to a post-race party on Main Street at the finish. For more information, visit bozemanmarathon.com.

Considering some other vacation races on the west coast or Pacific Northwest, check out our full calendar of events.