Marathon Vacations in the Canadian Maritimes: NS, NB, and PEI Marathons Make Great Weekend Getaways for Runners

The Maritime Provinces host a diverse range of road races and marathons that are varyingly hilly, flat, scenic, and historic. In late spring and early fall, visitors can enjoy a Maritime marathon vacation by partaking in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or Prince Edward Island races. Options for marathon vacations and running holidays include:

Mid-May – Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon held in Halifax, NS

Late September – Tim Horton’s Marathon by the Sea in Saint John, NB

Mid-October – Prince Edward Island Marathon in Charlottetown, PEI

City Touring on a New Brunswick Marathon Vacation

The 26.2-mile route heads through downtown Saint John, NB and then leads runners through industrial and residential areas to the Reversing Falls on the scenic Bay of Fundy. This New Brunswick marathon passes many Saint John parks before climbing the hills near the University of New Brunswick. After a downhill route back to downtown the race ends near Canada’s longest-running farmers’ market, the Saint John City Market. For families and short-distance runners, kids runs as well as 5km and 10km routes offer a more manageable challenge.

The New Brunswick Marathon is held in late September (Sept. 26-27 in 2009) when the maritime weather is at its best – warm, clear days with little precipitation or humidity.

Halifax Marathon Vacation Delivers Historic Sightseeing

The Blue Nose Marathon held in Halifax, NS – another hilly city – provides runners with challenging road races (a kids’ run, 5km, and 10km) as well as half and full marathons. The full marathon crosses the Halifax Harbor, taking runners over the MacDonald Bridge to Dartmouth where the course skirts the shores of popular rowing lakes. In all, this Nova Scotia marathon provides runners with great Halifax historic sightseeing that includes Citadel Hill, the Halifax waterfront, the Public Gardens, and Point Pleasant Park. The race runs in mid-May (May 15-17 in 2009).

In Nova Scotia, May weather can only be described as changeable. Colder temperatures and rain are possible, but so are warm sunny days and snow. The best tactic is to prepare for the elements.

Serene and Scenic Prince Edward Island Marathon Vacation

With a province where the highest elevation notches only 142m (466 feet), runners can be assured of a flat marathon route. The mid-October race (Oct. 16-18 in 2009) is perhaps one of the Maritimes’ most scenic. First following the coast and beaches of Prince Edward Island National Park, this PEI marathon then heads inland over roads and the Confederation Trail into downtown Charlottetown. The scenic marathon ends at the columned Province House.

Prince Edward Island fall weather is cool but often clear. When the sun is out, temperatures can warm quickly.

Planning a Maritime Marathon Vacation or a Running Holiday

Major airlines serve the provincial capitals (Halifax, Saint John, and Charlottetown) making it easy for runners and marathoners to visit eastern Canada for an active vacation or long-weekend getaway. After the race, there are many active things to do in the Maritimes such as whale watching, hiking on the beaches, or perhaps just enjoying a well-deserved visit to a local spa.


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