With the surging popularity of both half marathons and runcations, choosing an upcoming race has never been more fun. Half marathons can now be found every single weekend in every part of the country. Listed below are only a few of the best races located across the country.
Estes Park Half Marathon, Estes Park, CO
Billed as one of the highest altitude races in the country, the highest point of this half marathon tops out around 7,500 feet above sea level. The oxygen debt is well worth it, though, as the scenic views of mountains, farmland, and nearby Rocky Mountain National Park are among the best imaginable. Still a relatively small race, the community feel at the finish and low-key atmosphere makes this half marathon (and accompanying full marathon) the perfect race to cap off a vacation. After the race be sure to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park and enjoy shopping and ice cream at one of the many shops downtown.
Brooklyn Half Marathon,Brooklyn, NY
The Brooklyn Half is the largest of the half marathons that are held in each of New York City’s boroughs with over 25,000 finishers. The race is flat and fast, and provides a tour of New York City that can only be seen while running, with the opportunity to run through Prospect Park, past the New York Aquarium, and finish on the boardwalk on Coney Island. Stick around Coney Island after the race to enjoy a hot dog on a sunny mid-May day, or take the subway back to Prospect Park to enjoy one of the most beautiful green spaces in New York City.
Indianapolis Mini Marathon, Indianapolis, IN
Not only has the Indy Mini been the largest half marathon in the country for 23 of the last 24 years, but it also kicks off the 500 Festival, which commemorates the entire month of May for the Indianapolis 500. The race starts in downtown Indianapolis and then works its way to Speedway, the small town which houses the Indy 500 track. From miles 6 – 8, Indy Mini participants are able to run on the 2.5 mile racing track and even stop and kiss the bricks before exiting. Every year celebrity runners are in attendance, with Olympian Meb Keflezighi set to participate in 2016. While in Indy check out the budding beer scene and visit one (or two, or three..) of Indy’s 36+ microbreweries.
Horsetooth Half Marathon, Fort Collins, CO
Even though the first two miles of this race are uphill, it is all downhill after that. Starting at Hughe’s Stadium where the Colorado State Rams play, the race is a point-to-point course that follows a scenic route along Horsetooth Mountain up to 5,195 feet above sea level. After the two mile mark, the race is a net downhill that finishes at New Belgium Brewery for one of the best post-race parties around. With a $4,000 prize purse this race typically attracts at least a few elite runners, as well as newbies and veterans alike. After the race take a tour of Colorado State’s campus and re-caffeinate in one of the many fun coffee shops nearby.
Houston Half Marathon, Houston, TX
This mid-January race draws many half marathon participants every year because of its flat course, electric crowds, and guaranteed good weather. With temperatures typically a cool 50 – 60o F at the start and not warming up until long after the race is over, racers can have the best of both worlds by racing in cool temperatures and enjoying warmer weather for the after party. The Houston Half Marathon is considered one of the fastest in the country and is often home to the USATF Half Marathon Championships. After the race don’t forget to refuel with Texas barbecue.
Walt Disney Half Marathon, Orlando, FL
The Walt Disney Half Marathon, which takes place in early January, is the perfect excuse to visit the happiest place on Earth while also knocking out a bucket list race. The entire race weekend, which also includes a 5k, 10k, and marathon, brings in over 100,000 racers and spectators. The race itself travels through Epcot and Magic Kingdom, making this event a fun experience for the entire family. After the race, obviously the thing to do is check out the park and eat all the Disney World goodies!
Pittsburgh Half Marathon, Pittsburgh, PA
A resurging event held in early May, the Pittsburgh Marathon and corresponding half marathon ceased to exist after waning support, only to recently re-emerge as one of the best races in the country. This race is perfect for anyone who prefers a few changes in topography, as the course is hilly. However, the views of the city are unparalleled, and runners are treated to entertainment from the city’s best bands at every mile. After the race watch a baseball game at nearby PNC Park.
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