The New Bedford half Marathon
The New Bedford Half Marathon is an annual spring race that spans 13.1 miles of New Bedford. This fully volunteer-led race hosted by the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick with the support of Mayor Jon Mitchell and the City of New Bedford is one of the oldest half marathon distance events in the Northeast. Runners come from all over to compete in the New Bedford Half Marathon often as a practice race leading up to the Boston Marathon in April.
Are you considering busting out your running shoes to join the New Bedford Half Marathon race or want to enjoy the race-day celebrations as a spectator? Here’s our guide to the New Bedford Half Marathon weekend.
1. Race Info.
The New Bedford Half Marathon spans 13.1 miles of the city in a loop course that begins and ends on Pleasant Street in downtown New Bedford. The race begins at 11am and typically ends at 2pm.
New Bedford has two hotels in the downtown area near the New Bedford Half Marathon route. The Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott is located near the waterfront on MacArthur Boulevard and the New Bedford Harbor Hotel is located on Union Street in the heart of downtown. Check out a full list of hotels and accommodations in New Bedford and the surrounding area on our website.
Streets along the course will be closed to cars from 11am to 2pm so you’ll want to arrive early if you plan to come downtown on the day of the race. There are two parking garages within the downtown area and ample street parking throughout the course. Meters are not active on Sundays, so don’t worry about feeding the parking meters when you’re visiting on race day.
4. Best Places to Watch
Because it is a loop course, the New Bedford Half Marathon is a great spectator race offering multiple viewing locations within a short walking distance. Here are a few places throughout the course that are optimal viewing areas.
The best place to watch the start of the race is from the steps of the US Post Office on Pleasant Street.
The best place to watch the finish is in front of the New Bedford Public Library on Pleasant Street.
The parking lot at the corner of Nauset and Hathaway is available for viewing the race.
Buttonwood Park is a fan favorite for cheering on runners as they pass by. From the park, you have the ability to watch runners around mile nine. Walking East on Union Street to County Street, you can see runners around mile 12.5.
The race encompasses both West and East Rodney French Boulevard. Viewing from Brock Avenue will allow you to see a good portion of the race.
At the top of County Street around the 12.2 mile mark, spectators can watch runners make their way up a challenging hill that has been nicknamed “Heart Break Hill” as they near the end of the course.
5. Post-Race Activities
After the race, stick around and enjoy a bite to eat and a beverage from one of New Bedford’s many local restaurants. The streets are abuzz with runners, visitors, and residents celebrating marathon weekend. The area is well-known for its great local shops with vintage clothing, gifts, art, and more. Want to learn more about New Bedford’s history? Stop into the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Visitor Center for stories of New Bedford’s history of “global immigration, the Underground Railroad, women’s history, cultural diversity, architecture, art” and, of course, whaling.
The New Bedford Half Marathon Committee and the City of New Bedford have worked diligently to ensure both runners and spectators are safe throughout the duration of the event. Police, EMTs, and ambulances will be strategically placed throughout the course to guarantee safety. The course will be closed to automotive traffic from 11am to 2pm. Backpacks or large bags will not be permitted on or near the race course.