Charleston is a great city to visit. Take the tours, see the sites! The race was beautiful! It got a little warm towards the end but not too bad. The race shirt is actually my favorite of all my race shirts! Beautiful picture on front from a local artist and it fits great since it is gender specific.
It will probably get warm in the middle miles so don't over dress, but it does get shadier in the final miles. The humidity was at 100% on race day! Not hilly but not completely flat. Nice course.
I stayed at the Best Western which was close. There was renovation going on inside but it didn't bother me much. It wasn't great but I didn't spend much time there! Easy walking to and from race but needed to Uber to the Expo.;
By jmc about 2016
I did not like this race course. The first 6-7 miles (the good) takes you through the nice areas of Charleston. This is the best part of the course but feels a little cramped because both the full and half are bunched together at this point. The middle part of the course is horrible. The section from 9-15 (the ugly) is a joke. The road is terrible (killed my feet in places) and the scenery is industrial wasteland. The finish section (the ugly) is like running spokes on a bicycle. You traverse the roads off of a road-a-about. It feels like you are not really making any progress and became quite boring.
The first 9 miles is run with the half before the full detours off before rejoining at the same place after about 5 miles. Important to stay on your pace with marathons that run with the half.
You can cheaply stay above Charleston and access to the start of the race is easy. Everything about this race is top notch but I didn't really like the course. Charleston is a fun city and King street is a blast.
By PVM about 2016
First things first, I ran in 2016, so I may be off on a few things if the course has changed since then.
I'll echo some of another reviewer's sentiments about the course. The first 6 miles are great through scenic parts of downtown Charleston including the Battery and King St. It starts to get a little ugly/sketchy after that for a few miles, though there's a nice 5 mile "detour" of sorts by way of an out-and-back along Shipyard Creek. From 15-20, the course is average, can't fault it too much, and it's reasonably nice for the last 10K. However, a lot of that last 10K was out-and-back lollipops which I found completely draining that late in the race. It felt like I was going in circles and making no ground, especially when you, say, pass mile marker 24 (opposite direction) when you're only on 22. I can't expect a course to be 100% beautiful and completely looped or point-to-point, but I thought Charleston could have come up with something better.
My other main complaint has to do with both races starting simultaneously. For a while, this is no problem and even a good thing for the folks in the sub 3 range that don't have too much company in a smaller race like Charleston but get some help with the HMers going the same pace. However, after the out-and-back at 10 miles, you rejoin the half marathoners for about 1.5mi, separate for a bit again, and then rejoin once more for another 2 or so. Each time you rejoin the course, you're now part of a crowd running at a significantly slower pace than when you left. This is particularly annoying late in the race as the distance starts to take its toll. The adrenaline boost from passing people is outweighed by the energy expended dodging folks at a slower pace.
However, otherwise the race seemed well-organized, especially considering they were only on year 6. Full disclosure, this was only my first marathon, but I've run many other races big and small. The expo might have been a bit disorganized and it wasn't anything to really write home about, but that doesn't hold much weight for me. The course had plenty of volunteers and I never was unsure of where I was headed. The after-race party seemed to be a great time, though I admittedly didn't stick around too long as the race did a number on me. The nice parts of the course are really nice. Of course, it's not a "BIG race" but for its size I thought most of what I saw was very good.
Bottom line, I don't think I'd run the full again, but I would love to run the half.
The course is extremely flat and in that regard is certainly fast. Be prepared for some out-and-backs throughout the race if that sort of thing might affect you.
I believe I arrived around 6am and there was plenty of parking around the school where the check-in/expo was.
By RMR about 2016
Course was fun, good size, well organized.
By jm about 2015
I just finished the 2016 race two days ago. Flat and fast course. Great location and perfect weather. I think the size is perfect for me. Big enough but not crowded. Perfect amount of water stations
Two things that I did not like and most likely will prevent me from returning. The course from mile 8 to mile 17 is very boring. I take flat over boring any day, but this route was just dull.
Then the main reason I will not return. They way the race mix the full and the half is very unhelpful for full marathoners. The split the full and half at mile 10 for an in and out to get to a marina. You come back to the same spot at mile 14.5 and get back with half marathoner. The only thing is that now you will be running with people that run at a mud slower pace. They should create two lanes during this time and again at the end when you run again with very slow half marathoners. During this time you have to spend a lot of energy waving and passing slow runners and also it take you out of pace just being surrounded by slow runners.
Very organize, very friendly fast course. Only uphill I remember worth noticing was in mile 18, but nothing to be scare about.
I stay at the Holiday In Express downtown. 10 minute walk to the start.
By WH about 2014
I ran this marathon in 2013 as well, so this is more of a year-to-year comparison. The course is very, very flat and fast. The fluid stations are spaced graciously. What i did not like about thus year was the Expo. They seemed very disorganized. Big signs were no where to be seen for marathon vs half marathon bib pick up. The shirts were on the opposite side of the gym, again, no clear signs. I did finally see small hand written cardboard signs get thrown up at some unplanned point. Basically, the expo was chaotic at best. However, it is only their 4th year, they are still learning. Also, mile marker signs along the course were either not visable this year... or simply not there. BUT, just like last year, there were audible time clocks every couple of miles, which is very nice and rare in marathons.
Charleston was unusually WINDY during this day. Gusts were up to 30 mph with a steady 19mph. This is NOT normal for Charleston. The headwind made for a difficult run, but again, this is not typical. I was still able to run a PR and BQ.
What is really nice about this marathon is that it starts at a high school. All runners are allowed to keep warm in the gym and use their bathrooms prior to the race.
The Start and Finish are easily accessible, so you can either stay in downtown Charleston (Start) or North Charleston (Finish) with no worries of access.
By WH about 2013
This is a fast, flat course. Beautiful sites along the way. PLENTY of fluid stations, often every mile on the second half... at least every two miles for the entire course. The expo was small but nice. The start was at a high school and was opened up to us hours prior to the start of the marathon. This was my second marathon... and I knocked 15 mins off my Nov time. (Charleston vs Savannah Rock and Roll).
Great race with shrimp and grits with beer at the finish line!!!
The course is flat and loops back onto its self often. Plenty of turns, so stay close to the turns. I added about an extra half mile in due to not hugging the curves.
The course starts downtown Charleston, yet ends in North Charleston (plan on transportation from one end to the other... for you and your family.) my hotel provided a shuttle to the start (Francious Marion) and the race allows you to pay a few bucks to shuttle back downtown afterwards (if you need).