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Outer Banks Marathon Reviews
4.3 Stars from
By Williams about 2016
By RPapa about 2015
I did this race in 2015 (my first marathon ever) and would definitely do it again. Organized well, good amount of spectators throughout the course, and beautiful scenery.
This race is NOT as flat as the elevation profile says. Most of the hills are small and rolling, though the few miles through the woods is challenging. Thankfully, the pretty scenery will distract you. The biggest hill, the giant bridge just past mile 21, is not as bad as it looks.
By ms about 2012
I've done the full course 2 times and the half versions about six times. This is a beautiful race, really well organized and small enough not to feel over crowded. There are 3-4 waves and they move fast.
Be warned, the off-road portions can be really challenging. They are huge time sucks, in my experience, particularly the loose sand trail portion. The elevations aren't too major, but combined with the nature of the trail, they are enough to frustrate even strong runners. The Bridge is a good challenge, but after having it under your belt once, it isn't that big of a deal. Aside from the few miles of off-road, the course is flat and fast. Most of the first 13 miles is well-shaded and cool, the second half is more open road.
Overall, this race is well-run, the weather has been consistently beautiful the past 5-6 years and the spectators are great. I'd highly recommend. It is a good for a first timer. In April the first half of the course is run as a 13.1 and in November you can do the second half as a 13.1.
Be prepared for a decent challenge miles 10-13. Every time I've done this course I go into that stretch ahead of pace and come out a good amount behind. It can be frustrating. If possible, train some hilly trails. But also know once you break out of mile 13, the course definitely picks up pace.
Parking and shuttles for both the half and full are super easy, well organized. The only beef I might have is that the shuttles post-race tend to run a little slow. That combined with some extra heavy traffic makes getting back to your car/start/hotel a bit long. Still, it isn't bad and the organizers do a great job. Be warned that because this is a smaller venue, if spectators want to get from any point of the course to the finish point, traffic will be slow going. One lane open for the majority of the trip, with cars moving 10-15mph the entire way. The first year I did the half my family never made it to the finish line.
The expo is typical for a smaller event, about a dozen-plus vendors and a dozen or so local businesses.
This is an beautiful place to vacation. November is great because the summer crowds are gone, but the weather is still nice enough to enjoy outdoors, beach (not swimming, but exploring/hikes/ect) and most seasonal restaurants and businesses are still open. Because it is officially off-season, you can get a beach rental for a steal. We have family that lives here, but still get a beach front house and make a week of it with our kids. It is the best week of the year for our family and have even vacationed with 2-3 other "running" families in huge homes for an amazing price. If you can't manage the week, definitely swing a long weekend. You won't be disappointed!