I picked this race because it fit into my schedule. I needed a 9th half marathon in a 9th state by the first weekend of March to level up to Jupiter in Half Fanatics. It was an easy drive from upstate NY and the race registration was pretty cheap.
Hampton Beach is a cute beach town. Even though it was winter there were still a lot of people around town and a lot of construction going on. Lots of reasonably priced hotels, condos, etc along the main strip. This place definitely gets a lot of tourist activity in the summer. There are some nice restaurants along the strip but some of them were a little pricey. Just a 10 minute car ride away from suburbia where there are plenty of chain and local restaurants.
The course was beautiful. The race starts and finishes along the beach. One side of the highway was closed and there were plenty of volunteers and police support. As nice as it is running on a flat road parallel to the beach it gets a little monotonous. Every block looks the same which can make the miles go by slowly.
Like most beach races the wind is brutal. That flat course means there is nothing to cushion runners from the cold. At race start the temperature was 20 degrees. It was a beautiful sunny day which made for some great pictures but it was a bitterly cold run. With the wind chill it was -12 degrees. Was dressed for the weather but never felt completely comfortable with the temperature. I ended up with a pretty nasty cold after it was over.
The post race and medal were pretty underwhelming. For the price it was fine. I’ve definitely become spoiled by the big spreads that are featured at larger races. This race is heavily attended by locals and definitely has a very New England vibe.
If you’re looking for a nice no frills race that is budget friendly this is a good one. If you want to go to Hampton Beach in season there is race that is sponsored by Smuttynose Brewing Company that people have raved about. I would definitely come back here for a weekend getaway in season.