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A race should be a celebration of all your hard work and all the mental and physical strength you've gained. When it comes to half marathons, the possibilities are endless. The good news is that you can find a race in nearly every city during any time of year. But because there are so many, it's kind of hard to choose. So what should a half-marathoner-in-training do?
If you're not sure where to start, ask yourself a few questions. Are you racing for a time goal? If yes, you might want a course that plays to your strengths, has chip timing, offers pace groups, and has many aid stations. Are you just looking to finish? Perhaps a race with strong spectator support is for you. If you're just looking to have a ton of fun and take it all in, maybe choose a race in a destination you haven't been to before and find scenic beauty that sings to your soul.
Here, we list 25 of the best races in the country that are sure to offer something for everyone.
1. Kauai Half Marathon
- Date: September 4, 2022
- Location: Kauai, Hawaii
Race in paradise at the Kauai Half Marathon. Possibly one of the most gorgeous races in the world, this is a race-cation for the ages. In the early stretch of the race, you will run through Kauai's famous Tunnel of Trees, which were planted more than 150 years ago. Then you will race through town, past picturesque homes and businesses along tree-lined streets, and towards Kukui'ula Resort. Once you reach the resort, you will see breathtaking Pacific Ocean views. Nobody has a bad race here.
2. Spanish Peaks Half Marathon
- Date: Sept. 18, 2022
- Location: La Veta, Colorado
Race on Highway 12, the Highway of Legends, in southeastern Colorado, which was recently designated as a National Scenic Byway. The out and back course starts with a 756-foot ascent. When you get to the turn point, check out some of the incredible stone dike formations before flying back down to grab a negative split. This early fall race is a great reward for runners who spent the summer training hard.
3. Chicago Half Marathon
- Date: Sept 25, 2022
- Location: Chicago, Illinois
If you are in the market for a PR, this flat and fast course might be the ticket. Chicago is known for its speedy times in both the marathon and the half. Add an incredible course with stunning views and it's no wonder the Chicago Half Marathon makes all the top 10 lists. The race begins in historic Jackson Park, goes through the pristine Hyde Park neighborhood, and then delivers runners to Lake Shore Drive where you can soak in the views of Lake Michigan.
4. Canyon Half Marathon
- Date: Oct. 8, 2022
- Location: Fort Payne, Alabama
If you are searching for a scenic fall marathon, this might be the most picturesque race in the country. Fort Payne is in Alabama's foothill region, which boasts lush woodlands and beautiful farms. The course goes along Little River Canyon National Preserve's canyon rim for the first 5 miles. Then, you'll wind your way through rolling hills, passing cattle ranches and pastures. Nature lovers cannot miss this scenic race.
5. Boulderthon Half Marathon
- Date: Oct. 9, 2022
- Location: Boulder, Colorado
Racing in Boulder, Colorado, should be on every runner's bucket list, and the Boulderthon Half Marathon might be the perfect way to cross it off. The course starts at Boulder Reservoir, which gives you a true sense of Colorado's scenic beauty. Then you run along the foothills of the Flatirons. Finally, you wind your way into downtown Boulder and finish on the historic Pearl Street Mall. Veteran runners have touted this as one of the best race events of their lives; it has all the amenities of a big race (gear check, pace groups, plentiful aid stations) with the charm and attention to detail of a small race. Plus, it's a downhill finish!
6. Block Island Half Marathon
- Date: Oct. 9, 2022
- Location: Block Island, Rhode Island
There is nothing quite like a quiet country road race, especially when it happens to be on an island in New England in the fall. The Block Island Half Marathon is a treat for runners looking to experience autumn like they never have before. The course starts flat but quickly becomes challenging with winding hills and turns. You'll pass beach dunes, a lighthouse, and gorgeous pastures before a finishing descent.
7. Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon
- Date: Oct. 22, 2022
- Location: Miami, Florida
South Beach on Halloween—you know it's going to be a good time. This out and back course is run primarily on the Miami Beach boardwalk with stunning waterfront views. Runners are encouraged to dress in costume and get into the Halloween spirit. There is a cap of 1,800 runners, which makes it a smaller race. (And one to register for quickly if you're interested!)
8. Golden Gate Half Marathon & 5K
- Date: Nov. 6, 2022
- Location: San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate Half Marathon bolsters San Francisco's position as one of the nation's top running cities. The course is so packed full of Bay Area landmarks that locals and visitors alike see sites they never have before. And of course, you get to run across the big, red Golden Gate Bridge. With a total elevation gain of 907 feet, the course is challenging, but the downhill finish is forgiving.
9. Berkley Half Marathon
- Date: Nov. 13, 2022
- Location: Berkley, California
Welcome to beautiful Berkley, California, where you will run one of the most beautiful courses in the United States. The single loop course takes you around the historic parts of the city and through the UC Berkeley campus. Runners describe the course as hilly but forgiving, with most of the big inclines front loaded at the beginning of the race. It is a big city marathon but has a small town feel with plenty of room to stride out and run your best.
10. The Stars at Night Half / St. Nick at Night 10K & 5K
- Date: Dec. 17, 2022
- Location: San Antonio, Texas
Ready to race during the most wonderful time of the year? San Antonio has the perfect event with a nighttime holiday-themed half marathon at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. The hotel hosts this bright and merry race each year for locals and people looking for a race-cation. Once you reach the finish line, you can enjoy hot chocolate, delicious cookies, and holiday treats that Santa himself would envy. Bonus: All half marathoners get a cozy sweatshirt.
11. Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Arizona
- Date: Jan. 15, 2023
- Location: Tempe, Arizona
Kick off the new year with some rock 'n' roll and a January race in Arizona. The Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon brings you through Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe on a flat, fast, and fun course. You'll get to see the cities as well as the beautiful red rocks of Papago. This is a must-do race that might snag you a great time to start off the year.
12. Rose Bowl Half Marathon & 5K
- Date: Jan. 15, 2023
- Location: Pasadena, California
Calling all football fans! Signing up for the Rose Bowl Half Marathon will grant you access to one of the most famous and historic stadiums in the nation. After cruising the streets of Pasadena, passing landmarks like the Colorado Street Bridge, Old Town Pasadena, and Caltech University, you will finish your 13.1 miles inside the Rose Bowl Stadium field. It's also an incredibly well-organized race, with seven aid stations, a gear check, and pace leaders. Runners will also benefit from discounts around the city when you show your race bib at participating stores and restaurants.
13. Houston Half Marathon
- Date: Jan. 15, 2023
- Location: Houston, Texas
Fast, flat, and packed with elite runners. If that sounds good, you might want to set an aggressive time goal and sign up for the Houston Half Marathon. The race is known for its incredible crowd support, friendly volunteers, and masterful organization. There are about 250,000 spectators, including bands, belly dancers, cheerleaders, Elvis impersonators, and other characters who take to the streets to keep you running strong. At the end, there is a huge party called RunFest where you can celebrate your incredible race.
14. Austin Half Marathon
- Date: Feb. 19, 2023
- Location: Austin, Texas
Austin loves runners and you will love the city right back if you run the Austin Half Marathon. The course has great views of the city and live music throughout. Many runners will tell you that although it is a hilly course with a steady incline for the first three miles, it's totally worth the challenge. In addition to top-notch organization and standard big-city-race amenities, runners are treated to a party that spans three blocks with goodies, drinks, food trucks, and a full concert at the end.
15. Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Las Vegas
- Date: Feb. 26, 2023
- Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
If you haven't run a Rock 'n' Roll Race before, you have to give it a try—and why not on the Las Vegas Strip at night? This is not just a half marathon, it is the ultimate running party. The race closes down the Strip so runners can race freely in the most famous part of the city. The ample crowd support, blaring music, and bright lights will push you through to a new PR or at least an unforgettable experience.
16. Disney Princess Half Marathon
- Date: Feb. 26, 2023
- Location: Orlando, Florida
Every runner must run a Disney race at least once, and if you want the royal treatment, the Disney Princess Half Marathon is the one. Race through Walt Disney World Resort, spot your favorite princesses, and dress in your own princess gear if you'd like. The entire weekend is filled with activities like princess yoga, the epic expo, and of course, time to explore the theme parks. Sadly, the 2023 half marathon race is already sold out! There are still virtual events available, however, and registration opens in June 2023 for the next princess weekend.
17. Mississippi Blues Half Marathon
- Date: Feb. 25, 2023
- Location: Jackson, Mississippi
The running, food, and beauty of Jackson, Mississippi, is a well-kept secret. The city's great culture of blues is on full display at this event, with live music at the start, finish, and throughout the race. The entire day is a party, and the streets are lined with spectators cheering you on. At the end, you'll get to join in the festivities with drinks, snacks, and massages. The rolling course is a single loop run through the streets of Jackson. If you are a proud back-of-the-packer looking for a race with a generous time cut-off, this is for you—both the marathon and half marathon are allotted seven hours to complete the course.
18. New York City Half Marathon
- Date: March 19, 2023
- Location: New York City, NY
The NYC Half Marathon is one of the best and most well-known half marathons in the world. The legendary race is hosted by New York Road Runners and attracts professional runners, recreational athletes from across the globe, and droves of spectators. Race from Prospect Park, across the Manhattan Bridge, through Times Square with the road closed (the only other time you'll see Times Square without cars is on New Year's Eve), to Central Park. It is a popular race and NYRR has an application and lottery system in place to choose runners each year. To gain a guaranteed entry you either have to be an NYRR member who has run four qualifying NYRR events in 2022 or race for NYRR Team for Kids as a charity runner. The application and qualified-entry window will open in mid-October.
19. Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon & 7.6K
- Date: March 26, 2023
- Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
In Philly, spring brings perfect running temperatures, cherry tree blossoms, and one of the best half marathons in the country. More than 12,000 runners participate in the Love Run, and the city pulls out all the stops to welcome athletes and fans. The course starts and finishes at the beautiful Art Museum at Eakins Oval, home to the "Rocky" steps. You'll race along Philadelphia's charming city streets, past historic landmarks, all while being supported by enthusiastic spectators.
20. Napa Valley Women's Half Marathon & 5K
- Date: March 26, 2023
- Location: Napa, California
Ladies, this is a special race and weekend just for you in the heart of California wine country. Run through the beautiful rolling countryside and pass six beautiful vineyards and wineries. It's a loop course, starting and finishing in Oxbow Commons. With just over 400 feet of elevation, it's a relatively flat race, with some rolling hills throughout. When you're done, celebrate your PR at the post-race party. Yes, there will be wine tasting!
21. The Charlottesville Marathon and Half Marathon
- Date: April 1, 2023
- Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville is an American city everyone should visit at least once, and runners will adore this spring race that was ranked as one of the top five destination races by the New York Times. It starts and finishes in the historic downtown area where you will see charming neighborhoods, restaurants, and supportive crowds. It is hilly, but it's worth it!
22. Brooklyn Half Marathon
- Date: April 23, 2023
- Location: Brooklyn, NY
The course takes you through North Brooklyn streets to the waterfront where you'll pass under the historic Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges. There will be an elite field, which will attract crowds and add to the special race day vibe. The race also offers aid stations and restrooms every 1.5 miles, pace groups, and an incredible 4.5-hour cutoff time. Oh, and if you are the top Brooklyn finisher, you win cash! But no worries if you're not that speedy—every runner gets a bagel with schmear, New York state apples, and a DJ-hosted dance party in Prospect Park at the finish line.
23. National Women's Half Marathon and 8K
- Date: May 7, 2023
- Location: Washington, D.C.
Racing in D.C. is a runner's dream. This women-only race begins in Potomac Park before passing national monuments like the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the WWII Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial. There are some gentle rolling hills throughout, but the course is considered mostly flat. You will also get to run alongside the Potomac River for a good portion of miles. There is never not something to see during this race in our nation's capital!
24. The Brooklyn Beach Half, 10K, 5K
- Date: June 4, 2023
- Location: Brooklyn, New York
Imagine running a half marathon in the early days of summer, along the ocean, on the Coney Island boardwalk. This Brooklyn race has the best of everything: it's a fun destination for those outside New York City and a convenient half marathon for those within the metro area. You will race with the sea breeze pushing you along against the backdrop of the legendary Coney Island amusement park. The course is three loops of 4.36 miles, which makes it easy to break the distance up and control your pacing. At the end of the race, you'll be treated to a real Brooklyn bagel. At just $60, this city race is a steal.
25. Heber Valley Half Marathon
- Date: June 18, 2023
- Location: Heber Valley, Utah
Race with the incredible Wasatch mountains in the background through some of Utah's most gorgeous landscapes. This is the ideal event for someone looking to test their early summer fitness, and don't fret—the morning June temperatures in Utah are typically chilly enough for a good performance. The race begins at Jordanelle Reservoir and then leads you down quiet country roads. After the race, visit downtown Heber for a bite to eat or Midway to see a village that looks like a Swiss ski town. If you are doing a race-cation, the higher altitude might affect you, so take it into consideration when you are setting goals.
Want to start with a half marathon first? Check out our 8-week half marathon training plan.
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