Half-marathons are a chance to complete an incredibly adrenalizing race, without having to tolerate many of the sacrifices involved with dedicating yourself to a full 26.2 miles. This kind of event has consistently been the fastest growing standard race distance in the U.S. since 2006, according to Running USA. In 2015, the half-marathon again held the No. 2 position with approximately 12 percent of the finishers.
To get an idea of how popular this event is, consider this: The next race is on April 1, 2017 and it’s already sold out. The course is set on the east side of the park and is going to be downhill. Zion is regal to visit in the spring. This is the time to see the waterfalls in their prime and the gorgeous contrast between red rocks and the abundance of green foliage.
Put simply, there’s just something about running through the streets of New York City that can’t quite compare to any other atmosphere in the world. The electric energy alone is enough to keep you on pace, even for an entire 13.1 miles. People just love running through Times Square, Central Park and other iconic landmarks. It re-energizes and inspires them. The next race is on March 19, 2017.
The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is one of the premiere and most fun half-marathons in the U.S. This 500 Festival tradition will mark the 41st running of the race. Runners repeatedly give it high marks for planning, plenty of room on the roads, great post-race party, and a lot of bystander excitement. The next mini-marathon is on May 6, 2017.
Running the Strip happens at night in the Sin City. The race is on Nov. 12-13 this year. “Well organized, plenty of pre-race information, great expo, great crowd support, great medals,” one person said on Yelp. People like the pre-race concert as well. Bonus: This is pretty much going to be your only chance to run on Las Vegas Boulevard with no cars and also at night.
This is a community-based road race that supports many local charities. Experience some of Vermont's Covered Bridges and witness the state’s unspoiled beauty from a different perspective. You start at the base of a ski field, run through a gorgeous town, past farms, and along a river. The next race is on June 4, 2017. Registration will open on December 5.
Few other things can beat the stunning views that this tough course offers. More than 5,000 people run it every year. The race will have you see one of Southern California’s most picturesque stretches of coastline. There is a finish line festival with a live band, refreshments and local vendors. The next La Jolla Half Marathon is scheduled for April 23, 2017.
Rock the closed streets of Brooklyn in a way you can’t any other day. The scenic course that will have you finish at Prospect Park is absolutely stunning. Live and local bands are playing along, and spirited cheer squads will keep you going. A nice perk is the admission to the Two-Day Health and Fitness Expo. The next race is on Oct. 7, 2017.
Runners continue to rave about this half marathon, which is the flagship event of the entire Wine Country Half Marathon Series. The breathtaking landscapes of California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys certainly help make this race stand out among the rest, but it’s the entire experience that participants find a lot of fun. Race registration includes a wine glass, wine tasting and an epic post-race celebration. The next half-marathon is on July 16, 2017.
The B.A.A. Half Marathon is set up in a way to emphasize the beauty of Boston and Brookline’s Emerald Necklace park system. The 13.1-mile, out and back, rolling course, begins and ends at White Stadium in Boston's Franklin Park, one of the oldest in the U.S. The event has grown in popularity and now reaches its maximum field size of 9,000 soon after registration opens. The next race will be in October, 2017.
Run through the City of Brotherly Love and one of the most historic places in the country. The course is nice and flat and the weather is usually very nice. The best runners in the world don’t miss this event. This half-marathon should definitely be on avid joggers’ bucket lists. The next race is Sept. 16-17, 2017.
The challenge is a flat, fast 13.1-mile course in the beautiful island city. The race has become very popular in its 20 years and a lot of people from Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and even Switzerland sign up. You also get to enjoy live music and entertainment along the course. The next race is on January 15, 2017.
Everything about running along a route that offers spectacular views of glacier-carved mountains and the trees and wildflowers of the surrounding Chugach National Forest is appealing. The Alaska Salmon Runs take runners along a course that runs through the Copper River delta in the state’s southeastern corner. Mostly flat and fast thanks to its location near sea level along the Orca Inlet of Prince William Sound and Eyat Lake. The next race is on July 15, 2017.
Colorado Runner and Trail Runner magazines have praised this half-marathon for attracting serious runners and leaf peepers, taking them from Snowmass Village to Aspen. The course includes significant elevation changes, as you would expect in Colorado, and rough backcountry trails through the Rocky Mountain. Your effort and pain will be worth it as long as you keep looking up and to the side of you so you can see the bright and rich fall colors. The next race will be in September 2017.
Some can argue that this is the most beautiful running event in the U.S. The course is set up along Sedona’s most gorgeous paved roads. It’s scenic and hilly. The altitude of 4,500 feet can be a problem for some. You’ll be passing through stunning red rocks and picturesque valleys. The next race is on Feb. 4, 2017. Online registration is now open.
This is a 13.1-mile run through the most magical grounds on earth. The race treats runners to a jaunt through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot theme parks. Complete with Disney characters cheering on the runners, this event isn’t short on entertainment. If you’re looking to make a weekend of it, check out the pre- and post-race celebrations, including a pasta party at World Showcase Pavilion inside Epcot, along with lively finish line festivities. The next race is on Feb. 26, 2017.
This is Hawaii’s fastest growing sporting event. The start is the world-famous Waikiki Beach, and that alone is a good enough reason to enroll. You’ll also be heading around breathtaking Diamond Head and ending at Kapiolani Park. Even people who don’t like running very much gave the Hapalua half marathon good reviews on Yelp. The next race is on April 9, 2017.
The impressive half marathon crosses the streets around the beautiful Hyde Park and the Museum of Science and Industry before winding on to traffic-free iconic Lake Shore Drive. Runners give the event 5 stars for organization, scenery, management and aid stations. The next race is on Sept. 24, 2017. Registration is now open. The earlier you register, the more you save.
This is a flat, fast, and USATF certified course. Runners begin in the countryside, feeling energized by the gorgeous views with a stretch along the river. They finish in the historic downtown area of the city. One pre-race activity you may enjoy is a beer run. Participants have said in the past that the course is easy. The next race is on July 9, 2017. Registration is open now. The limit is 4,000.
This half marathon gives runners the chance to leave their own footprints and enjoy a unique healthy, active and cultural experience. Participants start in the heart of the city at historic Fort Marcy and will pass along the Old Taos Highway. The 1,000-foot net downhill course offers remarkable sights of the Sangra de Cristo and Jemez mountains. Entries for the 2017 running of Santa Fe Thunder are open now. The race is scheduled for September 17.
Forget about Memorial Day being the unofficial start of the summer. In Fargo, the half marathon is that moment. People can’t wait to celebrate after a long and bitter winter, which is typical for the state. Outsiders may think that spectators are more excited about the event than the runners themselves. The next race is scheduled for the week of May 15-20, 2017.
Austin is like heaven on Earth for trail running enthusiasts (and for open water swimming). With more than about 20,000 acres of parks in the city alone, you are certain to find routes that suit your level. The city is absolutely beautiful year-round. The course is quite hilly, but the people, signs, and music make it a thrilling experience. The next race is on Feb. 19, 2017.
Running on an astonishing 13.1-mile course along the foot of the Tetons from Teton Village to Downtown Jackson is an exhilarating and unique adventure. You’ll follow a very fast path. The net downhill route has been described as one of the best altitude courses in the nation. The next race is on June 10, 2017.
The rocky stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon is a stunning place to visit. It’s even better if you run it, or at least part of it. The course is relatively flat, according to reviews. The Half Marathon on Monterey Bay is part of the California Half Marathon series. Live music and entertainment on the course and at the finish line keep participants and spectators amused. The next race is on Nov. 13, 2016.
There’s a run for Jedi Knights and Padawans of every age and skill level including the Star Wars Half Marathon, Star Wars 10K and Star Wars 5K, and the runDisney Kid Races, according to the event’s website. More than 14,000 runners took part in the 13.1-mile race in and around the Disneyland Resort in January. The next race is on Jan. 15, 2017.
“This is a well-organized, small race in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. This is MORE scenic than Big Sur, and a heck of lot easier!” a runner wrote on Marathon Guide. The course has been described as easy. Some runners say they didn’t even listen to music along the way because they preferred the sound of crashing waves for energy. The 2017 Maui Half Marathon has not been scheduled yet.
The Yellowstone Half Marathon is in one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. It’s home to hot springs, waterfalls and its own grand canyon. The 12-mile race, which can get quite technical at times, takes place on a dirt road and trail in Gallatin National Forest. Mile 6 is the most difficult section because that’s when you start running uphill. You will gain about 200 feet in elevation. The next race is on June 10, 2017.
This award-winning course is considered one of the best half marathon courses in the country, according to the event’s website. The course’s most popular track is well known for being scenic and flat. About 20,000 runners come from all over to experience this exhilarating run. They start along the stunning Pacific Coast Highway and pass by the famous Huntington Beach pier. The next race is on Feb. 5, 2017.
More than 6,000 runners and 20,000 fans join the ambitious race. The course takes you along the Arkansas River. Participants have to run though some hills, but they are not very difficult. Not a lot of other marathons offer running through the woods, which is exciting and calming at the same time. The next race is on March 5, 2017.
Runners give this half-marathon 5 stars for management, course scenery, aid stations, elevation difficulty, expo quality, and even parking. “If you're ever in the New England area, especially CT, this would be a great race to add to your calendar. It's been named the #1 half marathon [in the state] by a few different sources,” one person wrote. The next race is on June 25, 2017.