Boston is home to many great races, including the most storied in all of running, the Boston Marathon. But the rest of New England has a lot to offer in the way of unique, challenging, and fun races too.
So get out of town and pack your running sneakers, because you’re going to have some epic weekend trips with these 9 outstanding races within driving distance of Boston.
The weather for this early May New Hampshire race is never the same two years in a row. Sometimes it’s freezing and pouring rain, sometimes it’s sunny and sweltering hot, and sometimes it’s just perfect. It doesn’t really matter though because the 13.1-mile course is perfect for runners who want to challenge themselves in a gorgeous setting. Participants will catch views of Lake Winnipesaukee along the route while being cheered on by some of the most spirited aid stations at any race in the area—rain or shine!
This early June half marathon is the perfect excuse to go on a weekend getaway to one of the prettiest parts of Vermont. This smaller race of about 2,600 runners retains a quaint feeling as participants take in beautiful covered bridges along the course. Winding through Pomfret, Woodstock, and Quechee, you’ll get to see classic New England towns at their finest. Registration is competitive, so if you want to run Covered Bridges, mark your calendar early.
Many people use this race, which takes place a few weeks before the Boston Marathon, as their last long run before the big day. Runners get to brag that they’ve traveled through three states: The race starts in Maine and winds through the New Hampshire Seacoast before ending in Salisbury, Mass. It’s a great race to test your mettle before you toe the line in Hopkinton on Patriot’s Day.
One of the most scenic and historic running events in New England, the Falmouth Road Race is so popular that non-Falmouth residents must enter via a lottery. After crossing your fingers that you’re one of the lucky few selected to participate, you’ll get to bump elbows with some of the world’s best distance runners. The race traverses a challenging seven-mile route from charming downtown Woods Hole to Falmouth Heights. The course features some hefty hills and the later start means it’s usually scorching hot during the race, but the ocean views more than make up for it.
This Connecticut race will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year when runners take off on the 4.75-mile course on Thanksgiving morning. The race vibe is festive and fun, with runners decked out as turkeys and side dishes, and live music along the course. While the race has grown in popularity, it maintains its charm among a picture-perfect New England setting.
This race is not for the faint of heart. The 7.6-mile route gains 4,650 vertical feet as it goes up and up and up the iconic Mount Washington in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. But the bragging rights and scenic setting make it well worth the huffing and puffing. A lottery determines who the lucky participants will be for the mid-June race.
One of the best ways to take in super-scenic Newport is by running along its gorgeous roads. This 10-mile race takes runners by the famed historic mansions and affords stunning views of the glistening blue water that surrounds Newport. Make a weekend out of the Newport 10-miler and hit the beautiful beaches, enjoy world-class restaurants, and shake your legs out on the Cliff Walk after the race.
This is a great late season race for runners who want to get one more half in before the snow sets in. The Seacoast Half Marathon takes place at the beginning of November, and while the weather can be variable, the scenic route makes it all worth it. A cozy race with a little more than 1,000 participants, it’s a homegrown and well-organized affair.
Participating in the Vermont City Marathon is the perfect excuse to spend a weekend in fun and funky Burlington, Vt., along the shores of Lake Champlain. Somewhat unique among races, runners can tackle the race alone or participate as part of a relay team. Make sure to visit Burlington’s great restaurants, farmers market, and explore its outdoor offerings while you’re in town.
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