The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S. (Part 1 )

25-05-2016

Whether you’re a running newbie or a seasoned pro who wants to run a half in every state of the nation, we’ve narrowed down the thousands of options. Trust us, these 50 half-marathons in the U.S. (listed in alphabetical order by state) are well worth the training and registration fees. You’ll know it as soon as you cross that 13.1-mile finish line!

1. Alabama 
Location: Birmingham, AL
Date: Sunday, February 12, 2017
Four thousand runners will take on this popular half-marathon course through Alabama’s largest city. Scan for sights on-the-go including the 
Birmingham Museum of Art, 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the very hilly Highland Park neighborhood around mile 8. Registration fee: $70-90 (Photo: Pond5)

Mayor’s Midnight Sun Half Marathon

2. Alaska
Location: Anchorage, AK
Date: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Celebrate the upcoming summer solstice (and its 19 hours and 22 minutes of sunlight) at Alaska’s biggest half-marathon. With stunning views of 
Mt. McKinley on the clearest days, you’ll experience the wilderness and tough trails of the Last Frontier — in a whole new light. Registration fee: $50-$65 (Photo: goseawolves.com

Sedona Half Marathon

3. Arizona
Location: Sedona, AZ
Date: Saturday, February 4, 2017
The 4,500 feet above sea level elevation may make it hard to catch your breath at this challenging half-marathon. While the scenic red rocks and gorgeous valleys along the 13.1 miles of paved and dirt roads make it worth the extra effort, they may also be to blame for taking your breath away. Registration fee: $60-$95 (Photo: Sedona Half Marathon) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

4. Arkansas
Location: Little Rock, AR
Date: Sunday, March 6, 2016
This self-proclaimed “epic” race (it says so on the finisher’s medal!) invites up to 6,200 runners to trek through the downtown area of Little Rock and along the Arkansas River. It’s one of the state’s most popular running events with nearly 20,000 annual spectators coming out to cheer you on. Registration fee: $70-$100 (Photo: Little Rock Marathon) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

5. California
Location: Sonoma, CA
Date: Sunday, July 17, 2016
Like running? Love wine? Those are the only requirements for this point-to-point half-marathon through the rolling vineyards of California wine country. It starts at 
Cuvaison Estate Wines and ends with wine tastings in Sonoma Plaza. But don’t worry, there’s also a chardonnay stop at mile 10! Registration fee: $165 for individuals and $160 for team participants; sold out ( Photo: TJ Nelson) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

6. Colorado
Location: Snowmass Village, CO
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2016
Hailed by magazines like 
Colorado Runner and Trail Runner, this Snowmass Village-to-Aspen half-marathon attracts serious runners and leaf peepers alike. Expect major elevation changes and tough backcountry trails through the Rocky Mountain ski areas, all surrounded by the brilliant colors of the fall foliage season. Registration fee: $75 (Photo:goldenleafrace.com) 

Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon

7. Connecticut
Location: Fairfield, CT
Date: Sunday, June 26, 2016
This beachfront half-marathon has been a popular annual event since 1981. These days, up to 5,000 runners come out to Connecticut’s Jennings Beach each year on the first official weekend of summer. You’ll race along the water, over a few bridges and past the impressive area homes on this out-and-back course. Registration fee: $55-$67 (Photo:
Pond5)

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

8. Delaware
Location: Rehoboth Beach, DE
Date: Saturday, December 3, 2016
It may be a chilly, little winter race but this coastal half-marathon has a lot of charm. The out-and-back course starts and finishes on the beach town’s historic boardwalk and features a stretch along the Junction and Breakwater Trail, which used to serve as a railroad line. Registration fee: $100 (Photo: Dave Frederick / 
A Simple Running Log

RELATED: 13 Race Day Tips for Newbie Runners

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

9. Florida
Location: Orlando, FL
Date: Sunday, February 26, 2017
Show off your sparkliest tiara and join Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and the rest of the Disney princesses (plus some 13,000 other runners) at this magical 13.1-mile run. You never know which of your favorite characters might be hanging around Cinderella’s Castle, Magic Kingdom® Park and Epcot®, so be sure to bring a camera! Registration fee: $160-$190; sold out (Photo: Disney Sports) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

10. Georgia
Location: Atlanta, GA
Date: Thursday, November 24, 2016
Get a head start on 
burning off the gravy-soaked calories with this Thanksgiving Day race, one of the largest half-marathons in the country. You’ll have to make your way past Atlanta landmarks like Centennial Olympic Park before getting to the finish line — and the turkey and pie! Registration fee: $60 (Photo: Atlanta Track Club)

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

11. Hawaii
Location: Waikiki Beach, HI
Date: Sunday, April 9, 2017
Its name means “half” in Hawaiian so it’s no surprise this three-year-old race (organized by the same team behind the 
Honolulu Marathon) already considers itself the half-marathon to run in the Aloha State. The 13.1 miles of paradise on Oahu’s south shore includes a loop around Diamond Head, Honolulu’s most famous volcano. Registration fee: $117-$160 (Photo: The Happula

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

12. Idaho
Location: Boise, ID
Date: Saturday, April 16, 2016
Considered the “toughest half-marathon in the Northwest,” this race has been a spring tradition in the Boise foothills for more than 30 years. Keep your head up as you climb, climb and climb some more — all the way up to Aldape Summit, for an elevation gain of 2,072 feet in the course. Registration fee: $50 (Photo: Sawtooth Photo Pros) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

13. Illinois
Chicago Half Marathon
Location: Chicago, IL
Date: Sunday, September 25, 2016
Take an exclusive tour of the Windy City (by foot) at the only race in Chicago that shuts down the busy Lake Shore Drive completely. This traffic-free stretch offers runners views of the city skyline and Lake Michigan, but you’ll also get to visit 
Jackson Park and Hyde Park
 along the course. Registration fee: $85-$135 (Photo: Chicago Half Marathon) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

14. Indiana
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Date: Saturday, May 7, 2016
Start your engines for the largest half-marathon in the country, with 35,000 participants! Just don’t waste all of your fuel on the lap around the famed 
Indianapolis Motor Speedwayat the halfway point. There’s still the “Victory Mile” to the finish line on New York Street in downtown Indy. Registration fee: $85 (Photo: 500festival

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

15. Iowa
Location: Marathon, IA
Date: Saturday, June 11, 2016
It may only be 13.1 miles, but you’ll be heading toward a marathon at this race — the finish line at Marathon, IA, that is. Expect a fun, small town vibe as less than 300 residents call Marathon home. The few hundred runners who roll into town for the race nearly double its size! Registration fee: $45 (Photo: 
Marathon2Marathon

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

16. Kansas
Location: Olathe, KS
Date: Saturday, April 16, 2016
There’s no place like… Kansas for a half-marathon that’s fit for fans of The Wizard of Oz. Fly through the speedy, flat race (with a few wicked rolling hills) alongside some costumed Dorothys and Tin Men. The loop course also travels along some historic wagon trails early settlers used to go west to California, Oregon and Santa Fe. Registration fee: $60-$106 (Photo: Garmin Marathon) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

17. Kentucky
Location: Lexington, KY
Date: Saturday, April 1, 2017
Join 5,000 runners and horse racing enthusiasts for one of “America’s prettiest half-marathons” through the picturesque Thoroughbred Farms of Kentucky. The rural race starts at 
Keeneland Race Course, where the 2003 film Seabiscuit was filmed. While there may not be many spectators, expect plenty of horses that’ll motivate you to keep trottin’.Registration fee: $70-$105 (Photo: Run the Bluegrass) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

18. Louisiana
Location: New Orleans, LA
Date: Sunday, February 5, 2016
Put your party pants (and beads) on to hightail it from downtown New Orleans, to the beautiful Garden District, back through the world-famous 
French Quarter and to the finish in New Orleans City Park. The Rock ‘n’ Roll race series is known for its high-energy entertainment, so you’ll love running to the beat of local Big Easy jazz. Registration fee: $75 (Photo: Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

19. Maine
Location: Portland, ME
Date: Saturday, July 9, 2016
It’s like you’re running through a New England postcard (with 3,500 other runners) at this coastal half-marathon through Portland. If the nautical sights of sailboats, lobster boats and tiny little islands all around Casco Bay aren’t enough, how does 
Shipyard Brewing Company beer at the finish line sound? Registration fee: $63 (Photo: Game Face Media)  

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

20. Maryland
Location: Baltimore, MD
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016
More than 10,000 runners come out each year for a loop around Charm City at this popular urban half-marathon. You’ll pass Patterson Park, climb the hills up to Lake Montebello and run by Johns Hopkins University before cruising into the finish at Camden Yards, home of the 
Orioles and the RavensRegistration fee: $105-$130 (Photo: Baltimore Half Marathon) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

21. Massachusetts
Location: Boston, MA
Date: Sunday, May 29, 2016
This 10th annual half-marathon honors Boston’s fallen law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty and takes more than 6,000 runners on a trip around downtown Boston. The race starts and ends at the 
Seaport World Trade Center, and includes city landmarks like the Charles River, Massachusetts State House and Boston Common. Registration fee: $90-$105 (Photo: Boston’s Run to Remember) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

22. Michigan
Location: Detroit, MI
Date: Sunday, October 16, 2016
Technically, this may be one of the best half-marathons in the U.S. and In its 37th year, more than 16,000 runners will motor through the mostly flat urban streets and cross the Detroit River (and international border) twice via the 
Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor TunnelRegistration fee: $100-$120 (Photo: Detroit Marathon)

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

23. Minnesota
Location: Duluth, MN
Date: Saturday, June 18 2016
The half-marathon counterpart of the beloved 
Grandma’s Marathon, this 13.1-mile race covers the second half of the gorgeous course. The point-to-point run is named after a local Olympian and follows Old Highway 61 along the beautiful, shimmering waters of Lake Superior. Registration fee: $85 (Photo: Jeff Frey & Associates, courtesy of Grandma’s Marathon)

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

24. Mississippi
Location: Greenville, MS
Date: Saturday, February 13, 2016
Imagine the mighty views as you run right up and over the Mississippi River on the HWY 82 Bridge at the start of this new point-to-point half-marathon. In fact, it’s the only actual hill in the entire course! Only in its second year, the race is already earning a reputation as one of the flattest (and hopefully fastest) in the country. Registration fee: $60-$105 (Photo: Mississippi River Half Marathon) 

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

25. Missouri
Location: Louis, MO
Date: Sunday, April 10, 2016
The runner’s high comes early in this 14th annual half-marathon, one of the largest in the country with 12,000 runners. Catch a straight-on view of The Lou’s Gateway Arch at the starting line. Smell the hops from Anheuser-Busch Brewery at mile 2. And hear the roar of the crowd outside Busch Stadium, home of the Cardinals, at mile 5.5. Registration fee: $70-$110 (Photo: Karen Martinez)

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

(To be continued)

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