The Wallis Sands Half Marathon—New Race Along Beautiful Coastal New Hampshire in Early Spring

Make sure you add this new race to your calendar--it will be a gem. Running on May 1 along the New Hampshire seacoast, the Wallis Sands Half Marathon will be a regional magnet for many—conveniently located about an hour north of Boston and 45 minutes from Manchester, New Hampshire; an hour south of Portland, Maine and right off Interstate 95. It will include a running division with a 10:00 a.m. start time, and a walking division, which will step off at 9:00 a.m. Race headquarters will be the Wallis Sands State Park/State Beach, 1035 Ocean Blvd., Rye, New Hampshire, 03870.

This race has many attractions: a scenic and convenient location with plenty of parking, and it takes place during a wonderful season for a half marathon. But the real draw is the charming region and coastal beauty. Early May is a wonderful time of year in New England, and the scent of salt air mixing with the myriad aroma of blossoms and flora along the course will create a sensory-pleasing experience at this event. Views of the surf and the distant Isles of Shoals make for a great start and finish area, and a terrific venue.

This USATF-sanctioned and certified course runs a counter-clockwise loop with nearly half the miles directly along the Atlantic, with half on rural or village roads along the inland pathways of the town of Rye. You will love running along these roads—especially at this time of year when the entire region explodes into spring buds and blossoms—it is stimulating, invigorating, and inspiring; a great time of year to run along the coast.

Running or Walking, a Course to Enjoy
This Half Marathon course starts and finishes at gorgeous Wallis Sands State Park and winds along the seashore and residential roads and farms with gardens, fields and trees lining many miles. Tidal marshes and wetlands will also be in evidence. The race begins heading north along Route 1A, one of the most storied and beautiful sections on the east coast—visitors come from all over the USA and many other countries to enjoy this view.

This will be an intriguing route that runs adjacent to the shore for the first 2.7 miles before turning inland or south on Bracket Road just beyond Odiorne Point and Little Harbor. At about 4.3 miles the course turns right on Wallis Road, which turns into Washington Road. The course turns left just beyond the historic town hall on Central Road at about 6.5. There are a few mild hills on the course in the middle miles, but the highest point on the course is just over 80 feet, and of course most of it is near sea level. (The highest point in the entire town is 151 feet, Breakfast Hill.) So hills are small and climbs short.

The course turns left on Perkins Road at about 8.3 and comes back to Route 1A at Jenness Beach at nine miles. The course then heads north on Route 1A again along the shore for the last 4.1 miles. The runners will pass scenic Rye Harbor at 11 miles (deep sea fishing, whale watching, picture-postcard pretty spot). Except for a brief detour on Old Beach and Locke Roads, just north of Foss Beach, that last four is on beautiful Ocean Boulevard, Route 1A right back to Wallis Sands. There is a great course map on the Race Website, so check it out:

Registration and Amenities
Registration is available online on the race website at
Packet pickup and late registration will be available both Saturday, April 30, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on race morning from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. This will also be an opportunity for number and chip pickup for all runners, and offered conveniently on the day prior to ease your lines and hassle on race morning.

There will be cash prizes for the two winners and medals for age group winners and Clydesdale/Athena division winners. Everyone who registers by April 1 will receive a terrific Techwick T-shirt

Again, the walkers go off at 9:00 a.m., runners at 10:00, with the awards ceremony around 12:30 p.m. There will be excellent food and refreshments for all.

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