Best Half Marathons in the U.S.


Half marathons, the enticing middle ground between a 5K and a full marathon, offer a unique and exhilarating running experience that captivates athletes of all levels.

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People running a marathon

Why Run a Half Marathon?

There are countless reasons why these 13.1-mile (21,1 km) races have gained massive popularity:

  • Achievable Yet Challenging

    Half marathons present a realistic yet thrilling challenge for both seasoned runners and those venturing into longer distances. The training and dedication required are manageable, making it an attainable goal that instills a profound sense of accomplishment.

  • Endorphin Rush

    Crossing the finish line after conquering 13.1 miles is an unforgettable experience that floods the body with a euphoric rush of endorphins. The sense of triumph and pride is incomparable, leaving runners with a lasting sense of empowerment.

  • Community and Camaraderie

    Half marathons are social events that bring together a diverse community of runners. The camaraderie among participants, the cheers from spectators, and the support from fellow racers create an electric atmosphere of unity and motivation.

  • Personal Growth and Resilience

    Training for and completing a half marathon demands dedication, perseverance, and mental fortitude. As runners face physical and mental challenges, they develop resilience and self-discovery that extends beyond the race.

  • Health Benefits

    Half marathons promote physical fitness and well-being, enhancing cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, and overall stamina. Engaging in regular training also leads to increased energy levels and improved sleep patterns.

  • Supporting Causes

    Many half marathons are associated with charitable causes, allowing participants to run with a purpose and contribute to meaningful initiatives while pursuing their running goals.

  • Gateway to Marathon Running

    For aspiring marathoners, half marathons serve as a stepping stone, providing invaluable experience and confidence before tackling the full 26.2-mile (42,2 km)distance.

  • Memorable Milestones

    Whether it's your first half marathon or your tenth, each race holds a unique significance, creating cherished memories and personal milestones that become an integral part of your running journey.

  • Empowerment

    Crossing the finish line of a half marathon is a testament to the strength and determination of the human spirit. It's a celebration of the mind's power to push beyond limits, making each stride a declaration of empowerment.

"Crossing the finish line after conquering 13.1 miles is an unforgettable experience that floods the body with a euphoric rush of endorphins."

What makes a half marathon qualify as one of the best?

A half marathon can be considered one of the best based on a combination of factors that contribute to its overall appeal and popularity among runners. Here are some key aspects that often distinguish a top-tier half marathon:

  • Well-Organized Event

    Top-rated half marathons are well-organized with efficient logistics, clear communication, and experienced race management. Adequate support stations, medical facilities, and a smooth race flow contribute to a positive participant experience.

  • Professional Timing and Results

    Accurate timing systems and quick availability of race results contribute to the race's credibility and satisfaction among participants.

  • Diverse Participant Base

    A diverse participant base, including both elite runners and recreational athletes, contributes to the race's appeal and showcases its inclusivity.

  • Runner-Friendly Environment

    The best half marathons prioritize the safety and comfort of runners. Closed roads, sufficient crowd control, and well-marked courses ensure a runner-friendly environment.

  • Enthusiastic Crowd Support

    Energetic and enthusiastic crowd support can elevate the race atmosphere, motivating runners and creating a sense of camaraderie along the route.

  • Positive Reviews and Testimonials

    A great half marathon often receives positive reviews and testimonials from past participants, highlighting their enjoyable experiences and recommending the race to others.

  • Well-Defined Course Support

    Adequate course support, including clear mile markers, ample hydration stations, and cheering stations, helps runners stay motivated and focused throughout the race.

  • Charity Involvement

    Half marathons associated with charitable causes attract runners who desire to contribute to meaningful initiatives while pursuing their running goals.

  • Scenic and Iconic Course

    A great half marathon often features a visually stunning and memorable course, taking participants through picturesque landscapes, famous landmarks, or culturally significant areas. Scenic views and iconic locations add to the overall experience.

  • Variety of Amenities

    Providing amenities such as race shirts, finisher medals, digital race photos, and post-race refreshments adds to the overall race experience and makes participants feel appreciated.

Overall, a combination of a captivating course, exceptional organization, enthusiastic crowd support, and a positive runner experience all contribute to a half marathon being considered one of the best. The race's ability to leave a lasting impact on participants, both physically and emotionally, is a defining factor in its reputation and popularity.

"A captivating course, exceptional organization, enthusiastic crowd support, and a positive runner experience all contribute to a race being considered one of the best."

Best Half Marathons in the U.S.

Race Where When
1. United Airlines NYC Half Marathon New York March
2. Golden Gate Half Marathon San Fransisco, CA November
3. Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon Tennessee September
4. Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Las Vegas, Nevada February
5. OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Indianapolis, Indiana May
6. Disney Princess Half Marathon Florida February
7. Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon California June
8. Kauai Half Marathon Kauai, Hawaii September
9. Key West Half Marathon Key West, Florida January
10. Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon Miami, Florida October

United Airlines New York City Half Marathon

The United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, the largest half marathon in the U.S., showcases a glitzy route through iconic New York City landmarks. Starting in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, runners journey through downtown Brooklyn, cross the Manhattan Bridge for breathtaking skyline views, and pass through the heart of Times Square. The race culminates in Central Park, attracting participants and spectators from around the world.
Hosted by New York Road Runners, this legendary event blends professional runners and recreational athletes. The popularity of the NYC Half requires a lottery entry, adding to the race's allure. It's a must-do for anyone seeking an unforgettable running experience in the Big Apple.


Golden Gate Half Marathon

Experience the breathtaking Golden Gate Half Marathon, a single loop along San Francisco Bay with views of Alcatraz in the distance. Traverse the Marina District and Presidio Park before the highlight—stepping onto the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, a #FeelsLikeTheMovies moment.
Take in the stunning coastline and cityscape en route to the finish line at Beach Street and Ghirardelli Square.
In November's cool to warm weather, this race showcases San Francisco's top landmarks, offering locals and visitors a unique perspective.
With a challenging 907-foot (276 m) elevation gain and a rewarding downhill finish, it's an unforgettable opportunity to run across the legendary bridge twice!


Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon

Discover the incredible Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon, a scenic run through the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
Starting just outside Maryville, the gradual 13.1-mile course with gentle hills leads runners through the picturesque towns of Walland and Townsend. After crossing the finish line, get ready to explore the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its untouched natural beauty.
The gentle elevation gain of only about 130 feet (40 m) makes it a fairly easy half marathon, allowing you to savor the beauty of one of the nation's most-visited parks.


Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

Experience the ultimate running party at the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, one of the most popular races in the US. Hosted in the party capital of the nation, this race offers a unique evening run along the iconic Las Vegas Strip, with live rock bands providing the soundtrack as participants pass by iconic casinos, creating an electric atmosphere.
The race offers the ultimate Vegas experience without the risks, allowing runners to soak in the neon lights and enjoy themed water stations along the way.
Concerts and exclusive after-parties in top clubs add to the excitement. Enjoy ample crowd support and an unforgettable atmosphere as you race freely through Sin City's famous streets. Join this spectacular event for an extraordinary running experience that blurs the line between race and celebration.


OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon

The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, known as the Indy Mini, is an annual half-marathon in Indianapolis, Indiana. With around 35,000 runners, it's among the largest in the US, winding through downtown and past landmarks like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Indy Mini is part of the 500 Festival, leading up to the iconic Indianapolis 500 car race.
In spring, Indianapolis hosts two iconic races: the 500-mile Indy 500 and the newer Indy Mini. This half-marathon allows runners to experience the famed racetrack, swapping tires for sneakers and creating a once-in-a-lifetime moment amidst the excitement of motorsport history.


Disney Princess Half Marathon

The Disney Princess Half Marathon is a beloved crowd favorite among runDisney events. This lighthearted half marathon, held in February, offers a flat course and mild race weather, making it a delightful escape from winter for North residents.
Dressing in costumes is encouraged, adding to the fun as you run alongside Disney's colorful cast of characters. Families can enjoy the ultimate destination half marathon, followed by a magical vacation in the parks.
The course takes you through iconic spots like EPCOT and Magic Kingdom, with plenty of photo ops, especially the must-have shot with Cinderella Castle. Don't miss the chance to experience the royal treatment at least once by running the Disney Princess Half Marathon.


Rock 'n' San Diego Half Marathon

The San Diego Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon is the runner-up in popularity among the Rock 'n' Roll series. It's known for its scenic coastal routes, offering fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean and picturesque landscapes.
With a fun and supportive atmosphere, local communities and spectators cheer along the course. Starting in Balboa Park, the half curves through historic neighborhoods before ending downtown.
The finish area becomes a concert, with musicians playing while runners enjoy snacks and beer with their medals.
San Diego's beauty makes it a top choice for runners, and its temperate climate makes it an excellent summer half marathon. It's no wonder it's California's most popular half marathon.


Kauai Half Marathon

Experience a race-cation like no other at the breathtaking Kauai Half Marathon!
Starting at the sunny Poipu resort, you'll be treated to paradise views as you run along the scenic coastline. Feel the magic of Kauai's untouched wilderness, volcanic peaks, and lush rainforests. Don't miss the iconic Tunnel of Trees, a century-old wonder that'll leave you in awe. Run through charming towns with tree-lined streets, and catch your breath at the stunning Kukui'ula Resort, offering sweeping ocean views.
Whether you're a seasoned runner or a first-timer, this race promises an unforgettable journey through one of the world's most gorgeous landscapes!


Key West Half Marathon

Escape the winter chill and experience the beauty of Key West at the January Key West Half Marathon!
With a stunning course that runs along the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, you'll be treated to turquoise ocean views and a tour of the charming Old Town. It's the perfect excuse to visit this popular Florida destination.
The flat and fast 13.1-mile (21,1 km) course takes you through iconic spots like Duval Street and the Southernmost Point.
After the race, celebrate at the famous Half Shell Raw Bar with refreshing seafood and cocktails. Don't miss this chance for a memorable winter getaway and a fantastic beach party finish!


Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon

Get ready for a wickedly fun time at the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon! You'll be running on the Miami Beach Boardwalk, enjoying the incredible waterfront views while wearing your favorite Halloween costume.
It's not your typical serious race, but it'll definitely get your heart pumping! And here's the best part - South Beach on Halloween! That's where the real party is!
The race is limited to 1,800 runners, so you better sign up fast if you want in on the spooky action. Join a Halloween celebration like no other - costumes, running, and loads of fun!