The Best Half Marathons in the U.S. That Are Worth Traveling For (2022)

This article about the best half marathons in nature was brought to by OOFOS, the makers of the best recovery sandals after finishing a long distance race in the great outdoors.

With a new year comes a plethora of new and exciting opportunities and experiences. Running a half marathon is a great way to stay motivated throughout the year to maintain a running routine, and check out new parts of the U.S. while you’re at it. If you’re a runner, there are so many incredible outdoor destinations to explore by foot.

We’ve listed 11 of the best half marathons coming up in 2020 with routes through iconic scenery to celebrate the diverse landscapes in the U.S. and encourage our readers to always keep exploring.

The Best Half Marathons in the U.S. That Are Worth Traveling For (1)

1. Zion Half Marathon

Date: February 29, 2020
Location: Springdale, Utah
Best Half Marathon For: National Park Lovers
Fees: $145

This incredibly scenic route through Zion National Park takes runners on a journey with views of of mesas, mountains, waterfalls, canyons, and red rock formations. Runners will face a challenging and hilly route that climbs 400 feet throughout the course of the race. Chase the sunset over The Watchman, a famous peak in Zion, while soaking in vibrant red cliffs surrounding the trail. This race has sold out the last 6 years, so sign up early!

2. Run Sedona Half Marathon

The Best Half Marathons in the U.S. That Are Worth Traveling For (2)

Image from Sedona Chamber of Commerce

Date: February 1, 2020
Location: Sedona, Arizona
Best Half Marathon For: Escaping the winter.
Fee: $55 – $90

(Video) BUCKET LIST RACES | Ep 1 | Best Running Races | Run4Adventure

The gorgeous red rock and sweeping valleys will keep you motivated during this hilly and challenging marathon. Sedona sits at 4,590 feet, so make sure you’re trained and ready for the elevation. This is one of the best half marathons if you’re looking to fly south for the winter and enjoy some of the most striking landscapes the U.S has to offer.

3. Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon

Date: April 18, 2020
Location: Boise, Idaho
Best Half Marathon For: Pushing your limits.
Fees: $60

This is considered the “toughest half-marathon in the Northwest” and has been a tradition among Boise runners for the past 40 years. If you’re looking for a challenge and want to see how much elevation your legs can handle, this is the best half marathon for you. Over the course of 13.1 miles, you’ll be climbing 2,072 feet. The course begins in the Boise foothills and ends at Aldape Summit.

4. Covered Bridges Half Marathon

The Best Half Marathons in the U.S. That Are Worth Traveling For (3)

Date: June 7, 2020
Location: Woodstock, Vermont
Best Half Marathon For: Picturesque New England countryside.
Fee: $75

This northeast half marathon is so adored that it regularly sells out its 2,300 spots in just 30 minutes. Its popularity may be due to this trail winding through Vermont’s scenic covered bridges and quaint countryside. The popular ski area in view, open farmland, and shimmering rivers along the way don’t hurt either. Age group winners even take home Vermont maple syrup and cheese as prizes. It’s a whole northeast experience.

5. Gorges Ithaca Half Marathon

Date: June 13, 2020
Location: Ithaca, New York
Best Half Marathon For: A Gorges weekend.
Fees: $75

This trail guides runners the Black Diamond Rail Trail and the paved Cayuga Waterfront Trail, offering a scenic run past hard-packed cinder and numerous waterfalls. The trail runs along the Cayuga Waterfront, one of western New York’s famously beautiful finger lakes. The post-race party includes a catered spread of local food and beverages.

(Video) Best Marathons in the U.S.

6. Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon

The Best Half Marathons in the U.S. That Are Worth Traveling For (4)

Date: June 20, 2020
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Best Half Marathon For: Celebrating the longest day of the year.
Fee: $65-$90

The longest day of the year is worth celebrating, especially if you’re from a state where the sun rises at 10am and sets at 4pm during the winter. Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon honors the summer solstice with a 13.1 miles along the coastal trails of Anchorage’s Cook Inlet. Runners can also enjoy this sunlit filled day in the Last Frontier with fantastic views of Denali on a clear day and running along forested trails with endless mountain views.

7. Missoula Half Marathon

Date: June 28, 2020
Location: Missoula, Montana
Best Half Marathon For: Rocky Mountain views.
Fees: $77-$87

You’ll get some fantastic views of the rockies and be able to explore the town of Missoula with this half marathon. Missoula hosts 4,000 runners on this rural, point-to-point race that travels through the countryside with views of the rockies, along the glistening Bitterroot River and finishes in downtown Missoula, a town with a strong western heritage. Be prepared for elevation–this race starts at 3,200 feet above sea level.

8. Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

The Best Half Marathons in the U.S. That Are Worth Traveling For (5)

Date: July 18-19, 2020
Location: Napa, California
Best Half Marathon For: Wine lovers.
Fee: $180

Treating yourself with a little wine after a 13.1-mile run sounds like proper self care to me. The Napa to Sonoma half marathon is a point-to-point run through rolling vineyards in California’s wine country. The run begins at Cuvaison Estate Wines and ends with tasting in Sonoma Plaza to celebrate what your legs can do. Runners experience sweeping views of Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area, the San Pablo Bay and the Marin County hills. You’ll end the race with a post-finish party with lots of opportunity for tasting.

(Video) Best Marathons top 20 list

9. Aspen Golden Leaf Half Marathon

Date: September 2020
Location: Aspen, Colorado
Best Half Marathon For: Fall colors.
Fee: $80

The Aspen Golden Leaf Half Marathon is scheduled so that runners are surrounded by the vibrant fall colors of aspen-lined trails. This is a point-to-point course starting in Snowmass Village and finishes in Aspen. It has been named by Colorado Runner and Trail Runner as one of the countries’ most scenic trails. 1,000 serious runners hit this trail every year. There are major elevation changes on backcountry trails, so this is typically for trail runners looking for a heft challenge. But the brilliant colors of fall may keep you motivated.

10. Bellingham Bay Half Marathon

The Best Half Marathons in the U.S. That Are Worth Traveling For (6)

Date: September 17, 2020
Location: Bellingham, Washington
Best Half Marathon For: Northwest beauty.
Fees: $75-$115

The race travels along the scenic Bellingham Bay, making for one of the most tranquil and best half marathons in the PNW. Runners can enjoy impressive seaside, forest and mountain views, showcasing the epic trifecta that makes the Pacific Northwest so special. 2,000 runners will have the chance to see views of the nearby San Juan Islands, Mount Baker, and of course, the Bellingham Bay. The race will finish with a festival featuring live music, food, and a beer garden (runners get one free beverage).

11. Twilight Red Rock Half Marathon

Date: October 17, 2020
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Best Half Marathon For: Running under the moonlight.
Fees: $75-$100

This half marathon is majestically situated in Red Rock Canyon, the most notable natural treasure in the Las Vegas area. The race will begin just before sunset, so that runners can run through the canyon while enjoying the historically beautiful sunsets in Red Rock Canyon. The race will continue into the night, when the sun is replaced by the moon and stars. Runners will pass Joshua trees in the moonlight with views of the neon lights of Las Vegas in the distance on this scenic course. Runners are required to wear reflective clothing and wear a headlamp while running.

This article was brought to you by OOFOS.

(Video) 6 Marathons Worth Traveling the World For

The Best Half Marathons in the U.S. That Are Worth Traveling For (7)

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  • FAQs

    What is a good US half marathon time? ›

    Setting Your Goals

    Finishing a half-marathon in less than two hours is a common goal for experienced half-marathon runners. Running a 1:59:59 half-marathon means maintaining an average pace of 9:09 minutes per mile, which is considered a good half-marathon time among runners.

    What is a respectable half marathon? ›

    The site classifies a good half marathon time for men to be 1:43:33, which is a 7:54 pace for the 13.1 miles. This is the average half marathon time for men across all ages and falls roughly in line with the level of an intermediate runner. A good half marathon time for women is 2:00:12, which is a 9:11 pace.

    What is the biggest half marathon in the US? ›

    13 Jan The Indy Mini Marathon: The Biggest Half-Marathon in the U.S. Thousands of people set running or walking the 13.1 miles of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini- Marathon as one of their New Year's resolutions – and you may even be one of them!

    What is the hardest half marathon? ›

    Pikes Peak Ascent

    Look no further than “America's Ultimate Challenge.” As its nickname suggests, Pikes Peak is widely acknowledged as the nation's toughest half marathon, boasting an average grade of 11% across 7,815 feet of elevation gain with its finish line at the summit, 14,115 feet above sea level.

    What is the biggest half marathon in the world? ›

    1. Great Wall Half Marathon, China. The route: 5164 vertical steps along one of the great Wonders of the World. Yup, you guessed it, this is for experienced runners only.

    What is the average half marathon time for a beginner? ›

    If you are a beginner between the age of 20-50, you may expect to finish your first half-marathon likely between 3:05 and 2:45, which is the average time for these age groups and running level. If you become more advanced, expect to be close to sub 2 hours.

    How many miles a week should I run for a half marathon? ›

    For the Half Marathon

    The typical weekly mileage for average runners training for a half marathon is 30-40 miles a week. Elite runners will have a volume closer to 100-110 miles per week.

    How many weeks do you need to train for a half marathon? ›

    Expect to spend 12 to 14 weeks training if you've never run a half-marathon and you're currently running under 10 miles each week. Plan on running at least three times a week at first and at least four times a week as your training progresses.

    Can I run a half marathon without training? ›

    Running a half marathon with no training and running experience. Some people do it- they decide to try a half marathon as their first race without any prior training. It is possible to do it but it might be kind of tough on your body and even mentally. If you like challenges- go for it!

    What should I eat while running a half marathon? ›

    Stay away from dairy, high fats, and high fibre foods like yoghurt, nut butters, whole eggs, nuts and seeds, high fibre fruit and dried fruit. Make it easy for your body to digest the food and stay happy during the run.

    Should I run the day before a half marathon? ›

    However, it is advisable to never wear yourself out with a run on this day. For many recreational runners, not running at all the day before the race is the best strategy to let the body rest. More experienced and elite runners may opt for a light run the day before the race. Some runners may have pre-race jitters.

    Does Nike still do the women's half marathon? ›

    Nike Women's Marathon and Half Marathon

    These races are no longer occurring, but you still ask about it, so it's on the list! I was lucky enough to run this while they still hosted in San Francisco.

    What is the biggest marathon in the world? ›

    The TCS New York City Marathon is the premier event of New York Road Runners (NYRR) and the largest marathon in the world. More than 1.2 million people have finished the race since its first running in 1970 with just 127 entrants and 55 finishers running four laps around Central Park.

    How many people run in the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon? ›

    Indianapolis, Indiana

    You could say the City of Indianapolis is a little obsessed with fast races and massive sporting events. On Saturday, May 6, 2023, more than 20,000 participants will take over the streets of downtown Indianapolis for The Greatest Spectacle in Running - the Indy Mini.

    What are the hilliest marathons in the US? ›

    The Hardest Marathons in the United States
    RacePersonal Record ScoreHigh/Low Elevation Difference
    Black Mountain Marathon90.852,879'
    Blue Ridge Parkway Marathon92.611,230'
    Red Rock Canyon Marathon90.811,107'
    Kauai Marathon89.12803'
    6 Jul 2015

    What is the hardest marathon to run in the US? ›

    Toughest: Boston is toughest of our top 25, but with a deceptively fastest overall time, being exclusive to the qualified marathoners. Among marathons open to all runners, Los Angeles, Disney World, Portland (Oregon), RnR San Diego and Marine Corps are most challenging, based on average finish times.

    What is the easiest marathon to run? ›

    With more than 1,100 marathon races in the U.S., each with very different courses and vibes, there are a whole lot of options for beginners!
    ...
    15 Beginner-Friendly Marathons
    • Bank of America Chicago Marathon. ...
    • Marine Corps Marathon. ...
    • Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon. ...
    • Honolulu Marathon. ...
    • Walt Disney World® Marathon.
    27 Jan 2015

    What are the 7 running events? ›

    Running events include:
    • Sprints (100m, 200m, 400m)
    • Middle distance (800m, 1500m)
    • Long distance (3000m Steeplechase, 5000m, 10,000m)
    • Hurdles (110/100m, 400m)
    • Relays (4x100m, 4x400m, mixed 4x400m)

    What is the biggest marathon in America? ›

    New York City Marathon

    It's the largest marathon in the country—both in terms of participants and spectators.

    What is the most popular running race in the world? ›

    Largest running events
    PositionRace NameParticipation
    1A Run for the Pasig River116,086
    2Bay to Breakers110,000
    3Cursa El Corte Ingles109,457
    4Broloppet/Broløbet92,266, 79,837
    63 more rows

    What happens to your body after running a half marathon? ›

    Thankfully, injuries are uncommon in half marathon runners. But you might experience lower body issues, including shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or muscle pain to your calves, hamstrings, or quads. Muscle aches can be treated with rest and gentle stretching.

    Do you need to drink water during a half marathon? ›

    Studies suggest that you drink to thirst for any event lasting 60–90 minutes so runners completing the race in less than 75 minutes should have no real need to drink unless they feel thirsty. However, slower runners taking more than 90 minutes should plan to consume fluids on the run, even in more temperate conditions.

    What percentage of population has run a half marathon? ›

    While a record number of runners are completing 26.2- and 13.1-mile races, marathoners and half-marathoner still make up less than 1 percent of the American population.

    Can I run a half marathon if I can run 6 miles? ›

    You Don't Have to Run 13.1 Miles in Training

    To be physically prepared for the race, you can participate in long runs totaling 13 miles or more, but you don't have to. If you can run or run/walk a 10-mile distance, you should be able to safely and comfortably complete a half-marathon.

    What should you do the week before a half marathon? ›

    Training the Week Before

    Your longest mileage day a week before a marathon should be 8 to 10 miles. For a half marathon, it should be 6 to 8 miles. During the week before your marathon or half marathon, continue to get in shorter fitness walks or runs of 30 to 60 minutes, each day or every other day.

    Can you train for a half marathon running 2 days a week? ›

    YES! It is possible to be fit, prepared, and ready to run a half marathon in 12 weeks, just 90 days, doing just 2 training runs a week!

    Is it OK to walk during half marathon? ›

    MOST MAJOR HALF MARATHONS ARE FOR RUNNERS–but walkers can do them too. One advantage of a half marathon over a full marathon is that you won't need to spend as much time on the course. Most reasonably fit individuals should be able to walk 13.1 miles in around four hours. Doing so is fun.

    Can you go from couch to half marathon in 12 weeks? ›

    Absolutely. As long as you have some running ability, it's entirely possible to get ready to cover 13.1 miles in 12 weeks. 12 weeks is about right for most people; it's enough time to allow you to gradually increase your mileage without overdoing it.

    Can you train for a half marathon on a treadmill? ›

    There are many ways to use a treadmill to make the most of your marathon or half-marathon training. Be mindful of the drawbacks of running indoors, and be sure to challenge yourself with long outdoor runs as much as possible. Then use indoor days to do targeted speed, incline, and tempo runs as needed.

    What pace is a 2 hour 15 minute half marathon? ›

    If you're aiming for a 2 hour 15 minutes half marathon pace you will need to run at a pace of around 10:18 minutes per mile or 6:24 minutes per kilometer to come in at just under your desired time.

    How do I pace myself for a half marathon? ›

    Take your 10K time, double it and then add 10–15 minutes:

    For example, if you run 45 minutes for a 10K, then double that time (which equals 90 minutes) and then add 10-15 minutes. A reasonable half-marathon goal time for a 45-minute 10k runner using this method is 1:40–1:45.

    Can you run a 50k without training? ›

    If you have a base level of running, it's possible to do it. But it won't be without pain and risk. Running 50k without training your body to be able to handle the distance will almost certainly lead to injury.

    Should you use gels for a half marathon? ›

    The short answer is yes. Your body will be running low on stored glycogen after about 75 minutes on the course, so unless you're extremely fast, you will definitely benefit from an energy gel (or chew, or bean) taken within the first hour.

    How often should you take gels during a half marathon? ›

    Take one Energy Gel Caffeine or Energy Gel Aqua Caffeine sachet around the 45-minute mark and another at 75 minutes. 2 hour plus runners: After 40 minutes, start taking Energy Gel Caffeine or Energy Gel Aqua Caffeine sachet and then take another sachet every 30 minutes throughout.

    What foods should runners avoid? ›

    Here's a handy guide to foods for runners to avoid so you can feel good inside and out as you power through those miles.
    • High-fiber foods. Beans, broccoli, and berries: remember those three B's as you don't want to eat them just before a run or a workout. ...
    • Dairy. ...
    • Sugary drinks. ...
    • Fried foods. ...
    • Spicy food. ...
    • Protein bars.
    10 Sept 2021

    What should you not eat the night before a race? ›

    Avoid too much fat.

    A high-fat meal can cause indigestion and stomach upset, which is the last thing you want the night before a race. Avoid greasy or fried foods, fatty meats, and cheesy sauces.

    What should I eat night before half-marathon? ›

    Oatmeal, bread, tortillas, pancakes, waffles, bagels, and yogurt are all easy-to-digest options. Just be sure not to stuff yourself at dinner the night before a race. Carb-loading does not mean overloading. Focus on consuming 4 grams of carbohydrate for every pound of body weight.

    What should I drink before a half-marathon? ›

    3. Drink water before, during, and after a run
    • Aim for 16 ounces (2 cups) of water at about two hours before you run. ...
    • About 15 minutes before a run, drink six to eight ounces of water.
    • During a run longer than 1 hour, drink water at regular intervals. ...
    • After a run, aim for at least 16 ounces of water with food.

    What marathon gives you a Tiffany necklace? ›

    The San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon, AKA, the run with a Tiffany necklace at the end. It is one of the most popular half marathons in all of California and has a massive waitlist to get in each year.

    What race gives a Tiffany necklace? ›

    Runners receive Tiffany's necklace as race medals at first USA Women's Marathon and Half Marathon in Palm Desert. A new marathon race debuted Saturday in Palm Desert. The USA Women's Marathon and Half Marathon brought a luxury experience to racers. News Channel 3's Caitlin Thropay was there.

    Will there be SeaWheeze 2022? ›

    The event, which was half rave atmosphere and half athletic competition, has unfortunately come to an end, with a recent tweet announcing the event will not be returning in 2022, or at all. The event has been running (no pun intended) for 10 years but the pandemic forced a shift to a virtual marathon last year.

    What is the hardest marathon to qualify for? ›

    From the hardest marathon to get into (it's not Boston) to the easiest course to run. Every runner has a race on their bucket list, but if you want to become an Abbott World Marathon Majors six-star finisher, you have six: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City.

    What marathon is most prestigious? ›

    Arguably the world's most famous marathon, the New York City Marathon takes place on the first Sunday of November, attracting professional and amateur runners from around the globe. Due to its popularity, runners are randomly chosen via a lottery system.

    What is the largest half marathon in the United States? ›

    13 Jan The Indy Mini Marathon: The Biggest Half-Marathon in the U.S. Thousands of people set running or walking the 13.1 miles of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini- Marathon as one of their New Year's resolutions – and you may even be one of them!

    Can you walk the Indy Mini marathon? ›

    As a reference, most walkers complete the Mini-Marathon between 3:15 and 4:00. This corral method is designed to help alleviate passing and congestion throughout the course making your race experience more enjoyable. The Mini-Marathon has a time limit of 4 hours (18-minute mile pace).

    Who won the 2022 Mini Marathon? ›

    Paul Stamm won the men's race with a time of 15:14 and Anna Weber won the women's 5K in 17:57.

    Does Nike still do the women's half marathon? ›

    Nike Women's Marathon and Half Marathon

    These races are no longer occurring, but you still ask about it, so it's on the list! I was lucky enough to run this while they still hosted in San Francisco.

    Is there a Boston half marathon? ›

    Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, will take place on Sunday, November 13, 2022. Registration is open now Athletes' Village!

    What time does the Pittsburgh half marathon start? ›

    When you get off the shuttle, you will get the red carpet treatment until the start of your race at 9 a.m. This event will be officially timed, and you will finish the race at the official downtown finish line. What do I need to do?

    What marathon gives you a Tiffany necklace? ›

    The San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon, AKA, the run with a Tiffany necklace at the end. It is one of the most popular half marathons in all of California and has a massive waitlist to get in each year.

    What race gives a Tiffany necklace? ›

    Runners receive Tiffany's necklace as race medals at first USA Women's Marathon and Half Marathon in Palm Desert. A new marathon race debuted Saturday in Palm Desert. The USA Women's Marathon and Half Marathon brought a luxury experience to racers. News Channel 3's Caitlin Thropay was there.

    Will there be SeaWheeze 2022? ›

    The event, which was half rave atmosphere and half athletic competition, has unfortunately come to an end, with a recent tweet announcing the event will not be returning in 2022, or at all. The event has been running (no pun intended) for 10 years but the pandemic forced a shift to a virtual marathon last year.

    How fast do you have to be to qualify for the Boston half marathon? ›

    Athletes must meet time standards which correspond to age and gender
    Age GroupMENWOMEN
    18-343hrs 00min 00sec3hrs 30min 00sec
    35-393hrs 05min 00sec3hrs 35min 00sec
    40-443hrs 10min 00sec3hrs 40min 00sec
    45-493hrs 20min 00sec3hrs 50min 00sec
    7 more rows

    Can you run a half marathon to qualify for Boston? ›

    Only a certified full marathon distance will be accepted for qualifying for the Boston Marathon Race. Distances shorter than a full marathon, like the BAA Half Marathon, will not be accepted or allow you to gain entry to the full marathon race.

    Is there a qualifying time for Boston half marathon? ›

    Official participants have three hours (3:00:00) net time to complete the race.

    How much does the Pittsburgh Half Marathon cost? ›

    Registration Opens at 1 PM on August 11, 2021

    Starting at 1 PM today, the Pittsburgh Half and Full Marathon cost just $95. Yes, you read that right – the full marathon and half marathon are the same price.

    Is Pittsburgh Half Marathon Hilly? ›

    Elevation Difficulty: Pittsburgh is known as being a hilly course. This was my first time running the race since the course changes. They didn't disappoint. It's still a hilly course with three bridge crossings.

    Can you wear headphones in Pittsburgh Marathon? ›

    Earphones are permitted at the Pittsburgh Marathon, and using them doesn't violate running etiquette if you keep them in both ears with the volume turned down. Without them, though, you'll be more likely to enjoy at least some of the 65 bands performing along the course in what are anything but nightclub gigs.

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