For many, vacations are all about relaxing, indulging in great food and pushing yourself only hard enough to finish that ice cream cone. But for others, a weekend getaway is only highlighted by race bibs, sweaty socks and carb-loading.
Over the past few years, the Gettysburg area – because of its historic backdrop and majestic countryside – has become a great destination for runners and races. The region features everything from 200-mile relay races to marathons and trail races, even a one-mile race that is literally an uphill battle the entire way.
Destination Gettysburg put together a list of eight of Gettysburg’s most popular running races, and perhaps your next visit to Gettysburg will have you lacing up your sneakers and sprinting for the finish. Click on the races for the most up-to-date information, including race dates and course information.
Kicking off in 1990, this race is Gettysburg’s oldest. This 3.1-mile race is packed with rolling hills over the hallowed ground of the Gettysburg battlefield. Held the third Saturday of June, the race starts and ends at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and sends runners for a loop around the Eternal Light Peace Memorial at Gettysburg National Military Park. This race attracts nearly 1,000 runners each year from around the country.
A brother of the North-South Marathon held in May, this half-marathon is the perfect fall race – and, of course, half the distance. Through the countryside and even portions of East Cavalry Field, this race welcomes nearly 1,000 runners for its 13.1 miles, and about 200 for the 5K. Runners can pick to represent the Blue (North) or Gray (South) in a friendly competition in which the winning side receives a special commemorative gift. The Blue-Gray Half Marathon is typically held the fourth Sunday in October.
Held twice a year surrounded by the beautiful orchards and vineyards in the heart of the Pennsylvania Fruit Belt, this unique race has a sweet, crisp finish. Your reward for 3.1 miles through the hills of the Adams County side is yes, a finisher’s medal, but also a nice glass of hard cider. Held at Hauser Estate Winery – home of Jack’s Hard Cider – every April and August, these races are part of a national series of hard cider races. But don’t let the beautiful, calm landscape fool you – this course is not your everyday 5K. In fact, the Gettysburg races are dubbed the “Hardest Cider Run”.
The newest races in our bunch, these races are almost entirely held on the hallowed ground of the Gettysburg National Military Park. The race kicked off in 2016 and gave runners a chance to tour America’s favorite battleground – past hundreds of monuments, cannons and even a stretch down to Sachs (Covered) Bridge. The race is typically held the first Sunday in November.
Few would call this one-miler your typical “fun run.” This race – labeled after the ski slope that runners climb during this October event – is not as casual as the name suggests. Runners start at the base of Liberty Mountain Resort and dash toward the top of the ski slope. Held as part of Liberty’s Fall Festival, this run also features a “challenge” one-mile walk. The good news – Liberty offers runners a ride down the ski lift back to the start line.
The name says it all. Runners are led through the hiking trails of Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve for 5K, 10K or 15K distances. The twists and turns are what make this course different than your standard “turkey trot.” This fall event, held the second week of November, brings runners out for one last race before winter sets in. The course may sometimes be grueling but runners eagerly look forward to this race ever year.
The oldest marathon in Gettysburg, this race – like the Blue Gray Half-Marathon in the fall – pits runners from the North and the South for a friendly competition. The marathon gives runners a taste of both Gettysburg’s historic backdrop as well as its scenic countryside, past horse farms, beautiful homes and back through East Cavalry Field, as part of the Gettysburg battlefield. The race is USATF-certified and attracts runners from around the country.
This 200-mile relay pits teams of 12 against one another for a two-day adventure between two of the country’s most famous historic sites – Gettysburg and Washington, DC. The race starts early Friday morning on the outskirts of Gettysburg and takes runners through the rolling hills of Adams County, Pa., before heading south through Maryland and into Washington to finish near the Lincoln Memorial. Runners are responsible for three legs of the race – all varying distances. For many, the race has become a yearly tradition and a number of runners make this 200-mile race a short vacation.
There you have it – your racing bucket list for Gettysburg. We’ve covered everything from relay races to one-milers and marathons to orchard runs. And if you don’t run, well, we hope you can join us and cheer on these athletes and make their races all that much more memorable.