Winter Half Marathons in Syracuse

There are 2 winter half marathons in Syracuse: The Lake Effect in February and The Syracuse Half Marathon in March/April.  I have run both races multiple times and would recommend either to someone looking for a winter half marathon.  Both races showcase the dedication of the Syracuse running community and the unpredictability of Syracuse Weather!  There are training runs throughout the winter to keep runners in shape and off the treadmills.

Lake Effect Half Marathon


  • Great support from community.
  • Heated tent and hot snacks for both pre and post-race.
  • Run takes place in Onondaga Lake Park which is maintained throughout the winter by the county and has no vehicle traffic.
  • Trail is parallel to the lake and offers a great view of Syracuse.
  • Always a great tech shirt and nice bling.


  • If you live in Syracuse, you probably run in Onondaga Lake Park frequently throughout the winter. Not very stimulating scenery.
  • It is an out and back x 2 course which makes it feel longer than it is.


Syracuse Half Marathon


  • Pre and post-race are at the Oncenter. Endless parking and indoor bathrooms.
  • Excellent post race with real food and live music indoors.
  • A running jacket or hoodie for all participants.
  • Plenty of volunteers and police support.


  • Syracuse streets in the winter are a mess. Lots of potholes and cracks that can make for tricky footing.
  • Date has changed multiple times between March and April and is now moving to November.
  • Not a completely closed course. If you are near the back of the pack traffic may be an issue.

If you are a runner in upstate New York you should do these races at least once.  There are years when the temperature has been below zero during the race and people had icicles hanging from their beards and eyelashes.  In other years there were blizzard conditions limiting runners’ visibility to no more than a few feet in front of them.  There are no guarantees on the conditions on race day.  In the end, you will have a good story to tell and an unforgettable experience.

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