There is something special about that moment right before the pistol signs for a race to start — sneakers tied, crowd is cheering and the sound of excited chatter in anticipation pulsing through the crowd.  These are all things that have been missed in the last year — finally races are back and a road race on the Cape or the surrounding islands can not be beat, with the beautiful water views, serene paths and awesome trails.  Some of these races like the Falmouth Road Race, ZOOMA Cape Cod and many other local marathons, 5ks, 10ks, triathlons and halfs are known around the world for their prestige and fun to run, as well as their charitable causes.

Whether you are running for a cause or just running for yourself below are the top 10 races we found for this summer/fall season!

10 Best Road Races Cape Cod & Islands:

Asics Falmouth Road Race (Falmouth, August 15th)

The Falmouth Road Race was established in 1973 and has become one of the premier running events of the summer season. Each year the race draws an international field of Olympians, elite, and recreational runners out to enjoy the iconic 7-mile seaside course.

ZOOMA Cape Cod (North Falmouth, September 25-26)

ZOOMA Cape Cod is one of the most popular races in the ZOOMA series and has been recognized as a Top 20 Half Marathon by BibRave and by Runner’s World as one of the top races of the year. If you’ve ever wanted to explore Cape Cod or just get away and relax, ZOOMA Cape Cod is the perfect way to do it!

Cape Cod Marathon Weekend (Falmouth, October 30-31)

Run the scenic Falmouth coastline the weekend of October 30, 31.  This race starts on Main Street and provides a Cape Cod experience that you are looking for and many have grown to love. Saturday’s Half Marathon (and maybe a 5K, pending permit approval), Sunday’s Marathon, Marathon Relay, the second leg of the Chowdah Challenge and the popular Kids Fun Run.

Martha’s Vineyard Marathon & Half Marathon (September 25th)

Martha’s Vineyard is an amazing island located south of Cape Cod, famous for it’s natural beauty with miles of beaches; walking, hiking, and biking trails.  Now you have a reason to make this bucket-list destination race your “RUN-CATION”. Martha’s Vineyard offers 2 beautiful courses for the relay, half and the full marathon that showcase this amazing island in Massachusetts. Both the full and the half marathon are relatively flat with a few gentle rollers in the full marathon. Whether you’re trying to qualify for Boston or just want to run a beautiful race, see why Martha’s Vineyard is so famous and spend a few extra days pre or post race.

Nantucket Half Marathon (October 10th)

This race is one of the most scenic Half Marathon courses on the East Coast! Set on charming Nantucket Island, the route travels through wooded dirt roads (some with short sandy sections!), tree-lined bike paths, and lightly traveled streets with beautiful ocean views. The course is gently rolling but you are never more than a few feet above sea level! Approximately 40% of the course is on dirt roads with a few sandy sections that can be challenging but there are no significant hills. You may run on roads and see parts of Nantucket you never knew existed!

Beach and Back Half Marathon & 5k (Mashpee, August 29th)

The annual Beach and Back Half Marathon and 5K is a beautiful run around Mashpee with a great afterparty serving Naukabout Beer!  This race offers a beautiful path to a post race party with cold beer for all finishers (over 21 of course), live music and free snack options.

The 42nd Annual Run for the Library 5k (Osterville, MA July 17th)

This 42nd year brings a hybrid event.  This is an In-Person or Virtual road race to help support the Osterville Village Library. The race will start in front of the Library at 43 Wianno Avenue and end with a water break.

“The Great Hyannis” Johnny Kelley Road Race (Barnstable, September 5th)

In Honor of:  Johnny Kelley.  A legendary hero of the Boston Marathon, Johnny Kelley ran his entire life.  His first attempt at the Boston Marathon was in 1928. He went on to run the Boston Marathon a record 61 times up until the age of 84. In that time, he won twice and finished in second place seven times. In 1936, his drop from front-runner to fifth-place finisher inspired the nickname “Heartbreak Hill” for the final leg of the race.  He made the US Olympic marathon team three times. The Cape Cod Johnny Kelley races are a tribute to Massachusetts’ Marathon Man. Beneficiaries: Chips House and Tommy’s Place.

Wellfleet Sprint Triathlon (September 18th)

The swim takes place in one of Wellfleet’s many kettle ponds. Water is always calm and one of the first to warm up in the season. The bike course consists of two 5-mile loops through one of the most beautiful areas you will ride all year. The run is an out-and-back course that turns right near the famed Beachcomber Restaurant where athletes will catch ocean views before turning at the half-way point.

Cape Cod Canal 10K (Bourne, September 26th)

The course will start and finish at the Bourne Scenic Park.  The course is an out and back, which will run 5k along the Cape Cod Canal.


Jen Robertson

Hi, I'm Jen and I love to travel, go to the beach and write about all the places I have visited. I also have a bucket list of places I can't wait to try! I've visited Cape Cod every summer since I was a kid and now enjoy traveling to all great beach destinations! I have worked in the travel industry for all of my career. I love sharing my experiences of different restaurants and places and helping travelers find the best fit for them!

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