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RaceRaves Runners Choice: Best Half Marathons in the U.S. map with 13.1 logo

Welcome to the results of our 2024 “Best Half Marathons in the U.S.” poll! Here we crown the top half marathon in every U.S. state as chosen by you, the runners. THANK YOU to all who voted — your overwhelming support enabled us to compile this list with confidence.

Whether you’re a first-time or long-time half marathoner, we hope you’ll add some of these to your own Future Races wish list on RaceRaves! 👏

🏆 = Top Rated (Overall rating of at least 4.7 across 10+ reviews)

You can also view the full list organized by month.

Best Half Marathons in the U.S. by state


War Eagle Run Fest logoWar Eagle Run Fest
Auburn, AL (Feb)
If high-fiving a Tiger mascot to cries of “War Eagle!” sounds like your kind of race day, then the War Eagle Run Fest is your kind of race. Produced by the team behind the Louisiana Marathon and Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, WERF has forged its own reputation as a southern standout. Starting alongside Jordan-Hare Stadium, home of the Auburn University football team, the hilly tour of campus and surrounding neighborhoods features stately red-brick façades and a visit to historic Toomer’s Corner, plus a lap on the world-class Hutsell-Rosen Track. Then it’s back to the stadium for an exhilarating finish on the field at the 50-yard line followed by post-race photos with Aubie, the university’s famed furry mascot.
Runner-up: Big Beach Half (Jan)


Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon logoAnchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon
Anchorage, AK (Jun)
Get ready to see the light (and lots of it) at this summer celebration in Alaska’s largest city. Held the weekend nearest the summer solstice when daylight approaches 20 hours per day, Anchorage Mayor’s has more the feel of an intimate trail race (off-road section included) than a big-city road half marathon. “Gorgeous views” of Cook Inlet and the Chugach Mountains help take your mind off the hilly course, though don’t get too distracted since you’ll want to watch for early-morning moose or bears out strolling the Tony Knowles Trail. With distances ranging from a free kids mile to the full 26.2, AMM is a “great destination race” for the entire family to run together and “take in the beauty of Alaska.”
Runner-up: Prince of Wales Island Half (May)


RunSedona logoRunSedona 🏆
Sedona, AZ (Feb)
Named one of the “10 Most Beautiful Places in America” by Good Morning America, Sedona has emerged as a popular “racecation” destination for runners eager to kick off their racing year and escape the dead of winter back home. The out-and-back course features a stunning backdrop of stark desert landscapes and red sandstone formations accentuated by the warm light of the rising sun. And if the Red Rocks of Sedona don’t leave you breathless, the route’s challenging “Swiss Alps profile” just may. Either way, it all adds to the memories of what one finisher calls the “most beautiful half I’ve ever done.” RunSedona is a recommended winter getaway for first-timers, traveling runners and 50 Staters alike.
Runner-up: Havasu Half (Mar)


Little Rock Marathon logoLittle Rock Half Marathon
Little Rock, AR (Mar)
Yes, it’s the largest race in the state’s largest city, but it’s the sheer size of its finisher medals that solidifies Little Rock’s reputation as the go-to half marathon in Arkansas. Proud finishers annually share photos of their oversized bling on social media, prompting oohs and aahs from amazed followers. Little Rock’s appeal goes beyond the bling, though, as the event welcomes both runners and walkers, promising “a race for every pace” on its hilly and historic course highlighted by the Broadway Bridge and Little Rock Central High School. And the organizers clearly enjoy hosting their citywide party, case in point its ever-changing theme which brings a smile to even the most serious competitor’s face.
Runner-up: Summit2Summit Half (Spa Running Festival) (Nov)


Monterey Bay Half Marathon logoMonterey Bay Half Marathon 🏆
Monterey, CA (Nov)
With a victory in the Golden State, the Monterey Bay Half follows in the winning footsteps of its celebrated sister race, the Big Sur International Marathon. And for good reason — like BSIM, finishers hail Monterey Bay as “otterly picturesque” and a “must-do, bucket-list type race.” Unlike Big Sur’s hilly profile, however, MBHM’s flat, fast route appeals to first-timers as well as runners chasing a personal best. The dramatic course hugs the coastline, passing historic Cannery Row and the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium as waves crash against the rocky shore. And all runners who finish within the 3½ hour time limit receive MBHM’s distinctive, locally handcrafted ceramic finisher medallion.
Runner-up: Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Half (Mar)


Slacker Half Marathon logoSlacker Half Marathon
Georgetown, CO (Jun)
Only in Colorado could running 2,200 ft down a mountain in thin air earn you the coveted title of “Slacker.” Billed as the highest downhill half in the country, this 13.1-mile journey follows a quad-busting downhill trajectory from the start line at Loveland Ski Area (elevation 10,630 ft) to the finish line in quaint City Park, just down the road from the Georgetown Bighorn Sheep Viewing Area. With its high-altitude start and finish, subalpine evergreen landscapes, and breathtaking views of the Continental Divide, the Slacker Half is the quintessential Colorado experience. Plus, Slacker scores bonus points for its post-race pampering, free race photos, complimentary craft beer and other fun freebies.
Runner-up: Rocky Mountain Half (Aug) 🏆


Hartford Marathon logoHartford Half Marathon
Hartford, CT (Oct)
The biggest race day in Connecticut is a New England favorite and “always an excellent experience.” Hartford is a well-oiled machine with respect to race logistics, a fact that earns the event particularly high marks for production. Starting at the Connecticut State Capitol, the route features modest hills and a diverse mix of commercial and residential scenery, including a stretch alongside and through Elizabeth Park which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Finishers agree that running beneath the imposing Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch with its twin brownstone towers in the home stretch is a highlight, while more leisurely participants should note the race’s strict 3-hour time limit.
Runner-up: Mystic Half (May)


Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon logoRehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon
Rehoboth Beach, DE (Dec)
Enjoy the beach and boardwalk without the crowds at this late-season half marathon in Delaware’s “most visited city.” Situated on the Atlantic Coast, Rehoboth Beach draws enthusiastic runners with its flat and scenic course, which starts at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand before traversing mature conifer forests and wetland habitats. Finishers tout the bustling after-party (free with race registration) which includes unlimited food and three beer tickets. And the town’s eclectic assortment of colorful cottages, funky shops and charming restaurants appeal to runners and non-runners alike. Looking for a fast half marathon in a coastal setting? Come “sea” what all the fuss is about in Rehoboth Beach.
Runner-up: Coastal Delaware Running Festival (Apr)


Life Time Miami Marathon logoLife Time Miami Half Marathon
Miami, FL (Jan/Feb)
“Simply beautiful.” “Superbly executed.” “Almost perfect.” These are just a few of the superlatives deployed by past finishers to describe South Florida’s “always awesome” winter race weekend. The fast, flat course features breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay as it visits some of the most iconic spots in Miami & Miami Beach. With average temperatures in the mid-60s and athletes from 60+ countries running, walking and wheeling to the finish line, the Magic City exudes a warm and welcoming international spirit that’s “uplifting from start to finish.” Note that both the marathon and half marathon sell out months in advance, so you’ll want to register early to avoid being left out in the cold.
Runner-up: St. Pete Run Fest (Nov)


Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon logoChickamauga Battlefield Half Marathon
Fort Oglethorpe, GA (Nov)
Hosted annually on Veterans Day Weekend, Chickamauga is an “amazingly beautiful” tour of a hallowed and historic venue. Run entirely within the 9,000-acre Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, race day starts with a booming cannon shot that sends runners on their way along quiet wooded roads and peaceful paved trails. What the course lacks in spectator support (aside from curious deer and turkeys), it makes up for with the park’s 700+ monuments, markers and tablets that commemorate one of the Civil War’s most important battles. Each year’s finisher medal honors a different state, and first-time finishers receive a framed version of their bib to immortalize their accomplishment.
Runner-up: Publix Atlanta Half (Feb/Mar)


Maui Oceanfront Marathon logoMaui Oceanfront Half Marathon
Mā’alaea, HI (Jan)
What better destination than the Valley Isle to get your year off to a “running” start? Maui Oceanfront’s point-to-point course, which was modified in response to the August 2023 wildfires, now starts in Mā’alaea and hugs the coastline en route to its new finish line at Launiupoko Beach Park. What hasn’t changed is the route’s “awesome beauty,” with sunrise cresting the mountains on one side and whales breaching the ocean’s surface on the other. Finishers agree Maui Oceanfront is a “marathon with a big heart,” case in point its recognition of runners who finish their 50th state in Maui, with each athlete receiving bib #50 plus a bonus medal (and cake) to celebrate the end of their journey.
Runner-up: 100% Pure Kona Coffee Half (Nov)


Jackass Half Marathon logoJackass Half Marathon 🏆
Kellogg, ID (Oct)
If you hear someone say “Jackass” like it’s a good thing, chances are they’re a fan of this Pacific Northwest favorite. The Jackass Half scores high marks for its {deep breath} “beautiful course, fantastic organizers, friendly volunteers, perfect weather, fun swag, and completely reasonable registration price!” The “smooth and meditative” downhill course showcases the region’s “gorgeous” autumn colors while offering “a dash of challenge” in the form of two hills in miles 8 and 13. And the event’s community spirit extends to its finisher medals, which are hand-crafted by the local high school shop class. If the race-day equivalent of a group hug sounds appealing, you’re sure to embrace Jackass.
Runner-up: Coeur d’Alene Half (May) 🏆


Quad Cities Marathon logoQuad Cities Half Marathon
Moline, IL (Sep)
Four cities + three bridges + two states = one memorable half marathon along the Mississippi River. Your two-state tour gets off to a fast start with a bridge crossing into Iowa, followed by six miles in the Hawkeye State before crossing back over the river, through the Rock Island Arsenal Army Base and into Moline to finish where you started. Given its slogan of “Run the River” there’s no question as to the centerpiece of this event, with much of the rolling, picturesque course paralleling the mighty Mississippi. Runners rave that QCM is “superbly organized” and “very friendly,” as evidenced by Race Director Joe Moreno, who after more than 25 years at the helm still makes an effort to high-five every finisher.
Runner-up: Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend (Apr) 🏆


OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (Indy Mini) logoOneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (Indy Mini)
Indianapolis, IN (May)
Ask Indiana runners “Hoosier favorite half marathon?” and the consensus is clear: it’s the Indy Mini. Annually one of the nation’s largest half marathons, the Indy Mini garners praise as a “fantastic race” and “always a good time” thanks to race production that consistently fires on all cylinders. The event lives up to and embraces its billing as “The Greatest Spectacle in Running” with on-course entertainment ranging from rock bands to school spirit squads to cloggers. And as part of the city’s 500 Festival, the hands-down (and face-down) highlight of the course is a 2½-mile lap around the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the opportunity for runners to “kiss the bricks” like an Indy 500 winner.
Runner-up: Indianapolis Monumental Half (Nov)


Des Moines Marathon logoDes Moines Half Marathon
Des Moines, IA (Oct)
Not only is Des Moines the dominant half marathon in Iowa, it’s also one of des best in des Midwest as indicated by its glowing reviews on RaceRaves. Starting and finishing in the shadow of the Polk County Courthouse, the tree-lined route avoids the rolling hills of its 26.2-mile counterpart. Highlights include a lap of Water Works Park and Gray’s Lake with the city skyline beckoning in the distance. And a shout-out to the good-natured, supportive volunteers who patrol the course on bikes acting as mobile aid stations. One half marathon not enough? Runners who accept the I-35 Challenge commit to tackling Des Moines and Kansas City on consecutive days or (in some years) weekends.
Runner-up: DAM to DSM Half (Jun)


Running with the Cows Half Marathon logoRunning with the Cows 🏆
Bucyrus, KS (May)
“You race it once, I can guarantee you will come back” says one finisher of this hidden gem of the heartland. RWTC starts and finishes at Holy Rosary Wea Catholic School (for which the event is an annual fundraiser) with a rural course featuring miles of bucolic countryside. Along the way, “super friendly” volunteers help you conquer the rolling hills with the help of — you guessed it, more cowbell. But as gratifying as the miles are, “the finish line is truly where this race shines” with a post-race “smorgasbord” that includes “everything you can imagine.” For an “udderly” irresistible half marathon with huge com”moo”nity support, RWTC may be the most fun you’ll “heifer” have on race day.
Runner-up: Garmin Olathe Half in the Land of Oz (Apr)


Run the Bluegrass logoRun The Bluegrass
Lexington, KY (May)
“America’s Prettiest Half Marathon” treats its runners to 13.1 miles through the heart of Kentucky Thoroughbred country. After 14 years at Keeneland, Run The Bluegrass moves its start and finish down the road to Talon Winery, where its new loop course promises a similarly idyllic tour of Bluegrass Country. Reviewers tout RTB as “top notch all around” while singling out the “awesome” and “stunning” finisher medal, which each year honors a different racehorse. Plus, Race Director Eric Marr hosts a weekend of festivities, private events and (naturally) bourbon tastings. When it comes to hosting a race that “should be on everyone’s half marathon to-do list,” Run The Bluegrass doesn’t horse around.
Runner-up: Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon (Apr)


Louisiana Marathon logoLouisiana Half Marathon
Baton Rouge, LA (Jan)
Baton Rouge promises lagniappe (a little something extra) with its race weekend, and the city delivers big. Starting downtown, the pancake-flat course takes runners through parks and tree tunnels, along oak- and magnolia-lined streets, and around University Lake and the LSU campus. (Keep an eye out for Tiger Stadium, the centerpiece of the campus.) Finish alongside the nation’s tallest state capitol, then kick back and feed your soul at the culturally rich finish festival featuring food tents (Cajun cuisine as well as vegan options), local craft beer and live musical entertainment. Want more of a good thing? Run the quarter marathon or 5K on Saturday and the half on Sunday to earn the Déjà Vu Award.
Runner-up: Northshore Half (Oct) 🏆


Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon logoShipyard Old Port Half Marathon
Portland, ME (Jun)
Maine’s largest city knows how to throw a scenic and celebratory running pahty. Starting in the quaint Old Port warehouse district, the modestly hilly route traces a 3½-mile lap around Back Cove in the East End, circling back along Casco Bay where runners enjoy dazzling views across the water. Passing the historic waterfront, it’s on to the West End for a tour of its famed colonial and Victorian architecture before a hilly and challenging return to Old Port. Race day doesn’t end at the finish, though; after all, it’s the “superbly done” after-party that makes the Old Port Half “an all-around festive event” with live music plus pizza, ice cream and complimentary craft beer courtesy of the title sponsor.
Runner-up: Mount Desert Island Half (Oct)


Baltimore Running Festival logoBaltimore Running Festival
Baltimore, MD (Oct)
When Baltimore calls its annual event a “running festival,” it means it. This celebration of Charm City features race distances from 0.05K (yes, you read that right) to 26.2 miles, with the 13.1-miler starting and finishing in Inner Harbor, the city’s popular tourist hub. The challenging course leads runners on a tour of hilly neighborhoods highlighted by Patterson Park and Lake Montebello, before returning to Celebration Village where festivities and refreshments (including a local favorite, crab soup) await. Runners with a thing for bling can complete the half and 5K to earn a special BaltiMORON medal. As a fun urban half or a Maryland option for your 50 States quest, Baltimore won’t leave you crabby.
Runner-up: Frederick Running Festival (May)


Cape Cod Marathon logoCape Cod Half Marathon
Falmouth, MA (Oct)
U.S. News & World Report calls the fall season “one of Cape Cod’s best-kept secrets,” as temperatures cool and hotels drop their rates. As such, it’s the perfect time to roll out the red carpet for runners. The flat (but for one short, steep hill), seaside course features dazzling views of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sound, while inland stretches past classic Cape Cod homes offer a reprieve from the exposed coastline. And though Cape Cod’s October weather can be unpredictable, finishers praise its stalwart volunteers as “amazing” and “second to none.” For the full Falmouth experience, the Clam Chowdah Challenge rewards runners who complete the half on Saturday followed by the marathon on Sunday.
Runner-up: B.A.A. Half (Nov)


Detroit Free Press Marathon logoDetroit Free Press Half Marathons
Detroit, MI (Oct)
To cross or not to cross? That is the question facing half marathoners at Michigan’s fall favorite. The Freep (as locals affectionately know their race) offers two half marathon options: the Motor City Half, which navigates commercial and residential neighborhoods of Detroit, and the more popular International Half, which crosses the Ambassador Bridge into Canada before returning stateside via the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel (a stretch billed as “the world’s only underwater mile”). As a bonus, International Halfers profess to being “awed” by the “amazing views” of sunrise over the Detroit River. So if the idea of visiting Canada on foot piques your interest, then cross that bridge when you get to it in the Motor City.
Runner-up: Grand Rapids Half (Oct) 🏆


Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon logoGarry Bjorklund Half Marathon (Grandma’s Marathon Weekend)
Duluth, MN (Jun)
Runners who prefer their scenery aquatic will delight in Duluth. Named for former Minnesota Olympian Garry Bjorklund and part of Grandma’s Marathon weekend, the point-to-point course follows the second half of the marathon route along MN-61, hugging the shoreline of Lake Superior before finishing harborside in Canal Park. And the lake isn’t the only thing that’s superior, as finishers rave about the “wonderful crowd support” and “flawless execution.” Be aware that the race sells out quickly. And local hotels, knowing they have a captive audience, do raise their rates significantly for race weekend. That said, when it comes to hosting a scenic destination event, Grandma’s knows best.
Runner-up: Mankato Half (Oct)


Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon logoMississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon
Biloxi, MS (Dec)
Featuring a PR-friendly course and laid-back coastal vibe, Mississippi’s finest welcomes runners from across the U.S. to the “Secret Coast.” With the rising sun as your muse, you’ll soak up the run on a flat, straight journey from Gulfport to Biloxi highlighted by miles of white-sand beaches and historic homes, unobstructed views of the Gulf of Mexico, and a triumphant finish on the field (and on the big screen) at MGM Park. If bling’s your thing, you’ve come to the right coast—run both the Saturday 5K and Sunday half marathon to earn the Double Down Award medal, or pair Mississippi Gulf Coast with January’s Louisiana Marathon to take home the two-state Beach to Bayou Challenge medal.
Runner-up: Hattiesburg Half (Apr)


Bass Pro Shops Cohick Half Marathon logoBass Pro Shops Cohick Half Marathon
Springfield, MO (Nov)
Situated in the heart of the Ozarks, Missouri’s third most populous city hosts a lovely “fall”ternative to crowded big-city half marathons. Starting and finishing (where else?) at the Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters, this mostly flat tour of attractive neighborhoods includes a visit to local favorite Mother’s Brewing Company as well as a short stretch on historic Route 66. (Springfield is recognized as the birthplace of the Mother Road.) Along the way, expect motivational boosts courtesy of the season’s changing colors, plus energetic themed aid stations and designated spectator party zones. Enthuses one happy finisher, “It would be hard to surpass the professionalism” of the Bass Pro Shops Fitness Series.
Runner-up: MO’ Cowbell Half (Oct)


Missoula Marathon logoMissoula Half Marathon 🏆
Missoula, MT (Jun)
Big Sky Country boasts eye-popping nature and one of the most beloved half marathons in the U.S. As evidenced by its rhapsodic reviews on RaceRaves, Missoula gets everything right, from pre-race communication to breathtaking scenery to spot-on support. Merging with the marathon at mile 16, the tranquil route crosses photogenic Maclay Bridge and enters residential Missoula where locals offer cooling sprinklers, spirited support and even a piano serenade en route to a downtown finish. Strategically located between Glacier National Park to the north and Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Parks to the south, and with hospitality to spare, Missoula’s “top-notch” event is a jewel of the Treasure State.
Runner-up: Glacier Half (Jun) 🏆


Good Life Halfsy logoGood Life Halfsy 🏆
Lincoln, NE (Oct)
When it comes to choosing the best in the Cornhusker State, runners nationwide agree that Halfsy does it. Where else can you run your best 13.1 miles, ring the PR gong and high-five a dancing pink gorilla, all in one morning? Nebraska’s largest half is a point-to-point celebration of the capital city that features lovely parks & neighborhoods, local landmarks, and a raucous downtown finish in the Historic Haymarket District. The rolling, net downhill course boasts plenty of Cheer Stations and entertainment acts including trombone-toting pink gorillas, the namesake of the Halfsy’s parent company. And Halfsy hopefuls take note: the race does sell out every year, so it’s best not to monkey around on registration.
Runner-up: Lincoln Half (May)


Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas logoRock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV (Feb)
It should come as no surprise the lone nighttime race on this list happens in Sin City. As the only private event to shut down the iconic Las Vegas Strip, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas offers an exclusive opportunity to savor its glitz and glamour. Starting at New York–New York Hotel & Casino, the lively procession travels the length of the Strip with almost all of the route’s 13.1 miles being run on Las Vegas Blvd before returning for a Vegas-style finish alongside The Bellagio. Finishers applaud RnR Vegas as “an unforgettable experience,” and “a party from start to finish,” calling it “one of the most fun races that I have ever done.” For runners in search of a high-energy half marathon experience, Viva Las Vegas!
Runner-up: Run Laughlin Half (Dec)

New Hampshire

Smuttynose Rockfest Half MarathonSmuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 🏆
Hampton, NH (Oct)
With a name like Rockfest and a title sponsor like Smuttynose Brewing, you’d expect the Granite State’s favorite half marathon to host an epic post-race party. And while Rockfest rightfully prides itself on its festive finish line, the spectator-friendly seaside course is the real star of the show with miles of fast, flat running along the Atlantic Ocean and around the quaint coastal town of Hampton, highlighted by New England’s fall foliage and an out-and-back across the Hampton Bridge. Then it’s time for the celebrated aftah-pahty in Hampton Beach, where finishers can partake of lobstah rolls, clam chowdah, vegetarian options, two free beers and all the live music they can shake a tired leg at.
Runner-up: Clarence DeMar Half (Sep) 🏆

New Jersey

Atlantic City Marathon & Half Marathon logoAtlantic City Half Marathon
Atlantic City, NJ (Oct)
First run in 1958, Atlantic City is one of the oldest race weekends in the nation. Race day starts in front of Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino near the corner of Boardwalk and Park Place (which may sound familiar, since the city was the inspiration for the board game Monopoly). The centerpiece of the flat course is six miles on the popular beach boardwalk with its oceanfront casinos and notoriously stiff headwinds. Off the boardwalk, seven miles of urban and residential neighborhoods include the well-lit Atlantic City–Brigantine Connector tunnel and the sparkling waters of Absecon Bay. And runners who crave more miles on the boardwalk can earn their trident with the King Neptune Challenge.
Runner-up: OCNJ Half (Sep) 🏆

New Mexico

Great Balloon Chase logoGreat Balloon Chase
Albuquerque, NM (Oct)
For runners who live with their head in the clouds and their feet on the ground, RaceNM’s fall favorite offers the best of both worlds. Held during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest hot air ballooning event, the Great Balloon Chase boasts arguably the most colorful backdrop in racing with hundreds of hot air balloons rising into the sky framed by the stunning Sandia Mountains. The out-and-back route starts and finishes on hard-packed dirt with the bulk of the miles run on a shared, multi-use paved trail along the Rio Grande River. And though the focus here is on the hot air, prospective Chasers shouldn’t overlook Albuquerque’s thin air and dry, desert climate.
Runner-up: Bataan Memorial Death March Honorary March (Mar) 🏆

New York

United Airlines NYC Half logoUnited Airlines NYC Half 🏆
New York City, NY (Mar)
With 25,000+ finishers and the nation’s largest city as its playground, the New York Road Runners’ powerhouse half is a race day worthy of the Big Apple. What’s more, it’s the only annual event aside from New Year’s Eve that closes Times Square to traffic. Yes, the steep registration fee and lottery draw for non-guaranteed entries is the price of admission. Finishers agree it’s worth it, though, for the unique opportunity to cross the Manhattan Bridge on foot, see the United Nations HQ, and enjoy a traffic-free Times Square before riding the contagious energy of the crowds to an epic finish in Central Park. Big, bold and beyond compare, the NYC Half is “one of a kind” and “a bucket list race, for sure.”
Runner-up: Wineglass Half (Oct)

North Carolina

Wilmington Historic Half Marathon logoWilmington Historic Half Marathon
Wilmington, NC (Dec)
Over three bridges & ’round the lake, to Riverfront Park we go. Playing to its host city’s strengths, the Historic Half starts with a two-mile tour of Wilmington’s downtown Historic District, one of the largest contributors to the National Register of Historic Places. Leaving downtown, the course makes three bridge crossings over the Cape Fear River followed by a loop of charming Greenfield Lake and a home stretch on the nationally acclaimed Riverwalk. (Look for the WWII-era Battleship North Carolina across the water in mile 13.) Once across the finish in Riverfront Park, it’s time to refuel with complimentary craft beer and Carolina BBQ while flaunting your signature oversized finisher’s medal.
Runner-up: Flying Pirate Half (Apr)

North Dakota

Fargo Marathon logoFargo Half Marathon 🏆
Fargo, ND (May/Jun)
Mention Fargo to anyone who has run it, and you’re likely to be greeted with wide-eyed enthusiasm and regaled with reasons why you have to run this race. All roads on race day lead to (and from) the Fargodome on the campus of North Dakota State University. From there, runners embark on a scenic tour of the city highlighted by stretches along the Red River (which separates North Dakota from Minnesota) and a visit to the historic Fargo Theatre in mile 10. The event attracts first-timers and seasoned half marathoners alike with its flat-as-it-gets elevation profile, cool May temperatures, and plenty of on-course support and entertainment. And did we mention the Midwestern hospitality? You betcha!
Runner-up: Maah Daah Hey Trail Half (Jul) 🏆


Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon logoCincinnati Flying Pig Paycor Half Marathon 🏆 (★ Top vote-getter ★)
Cincinnati, OH (May)
Runners go hog wild for the Flying Pig, one of the most revered races in the country. Celebrating the city’s history of pork production, Cincinnati’s hometown half earns rave reviews for embracing its namesake, with start corrals known as “pig pens,” volunteers affectionately referred to as “grunts,” and a “finish swine” where finishers collect pig-themed swag. The scenic urban course (which briefly crosses into Kentucky) and unrivaled crowd support help distract from the “miles and miles of hills,” while Skyline Chili Challenges are a popular way for runners to bring home more bacon. In a state with no shortage of first-class running events, the Pig leaves other races pink with envy.
Runner-up: Air Force Half (Sep)


Williams Route 66 Marathon logoWilliams Route 66 Half Marathon
Tulsa, OK (Nov)
Anyone who has never used “fun” and “half marathon” in the same sentence has never run Route 66. From the confetti cannon that starts you off “feeling like you can conquer the world” to the “amazing community support” that makes you “feel like a rock star when you cross the finish line,” Route 66 is “one of Oklahoma’s biggest block parties.” The hilly course showcases Downtown Tulsa’s Art Deco architecture along with the Gathering Place, a world-class riverfront park named the nation’s “Best New Attraction” of 2018 by USA Today. And first-timers receive an exclusive “My First Half Marathon” finisher medal to commemorate their achievement. It’s no secret why runners get their kicks at Route 66.
Runner-up: Oklahoma City Memorial Half (Apr)


Bridge of the Gods Half Marathon logoBridge of the Gods Half Marathon 🏆
Cascade Locks, OR (Aug)
In a word, the Bridge of the Gods Run is “gorge”ous. Starting in Washington, this “stunningly beautiful” “bucket-list race” immediately crosses its namesake span, treating runners to sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge far below. Once on the Oregon side, the course joins the paved Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail for a rolling, 12-mile out-and-back that ends in the “great little town” of Cascade Locks. This is the Pacific Northwest, so expect lush greenery plus the occasional waterfall (which may or may not be flowing in August). And if you’re the superstitious (or acrophobic) type, you may want to take a moment as you cross into Oregon to appeal to Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
Runner-up: Columbia Gorge Half (Oct) 🏆


Bird in Hand Half Marathon logoBird in Hand Half 🏆
Bird in Hand Half, PA (Sep)
From its horse-drawn buggies and iconic horseshoe medals to its “welcoming community vibe from start to finish,” Bird in Hand is an old-world delight and a bucket-list experience. Hosted by the Amish community of Lancaster County (aka the Valley of No Wires), the weekend begins with a pizza/pasta dinner and ends with a family picnic to fuel your “gorgeous as can be” journey through peaceful farmland and rolling backcountry roads dotted with road apples, i.e. horse droppings. And while race swag does include the coveted medal plus a tasty Whoopie pie (a classic Amish confection), finishers agree the real take-home is the singular sense of community that endures long after you cross the finish.
Runner-up: UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half (May)

Rhode Island

Newport Rhode Races logoNewport Rhode Races
Newport, RI (Apr)
The most popular of the four events owned by Rhode Races & Events is a “breathtakingly gorgeous” circuit of the City by the Sea. Starting and finishing at Easton’s Beach, the challenging course treats its runners to a “stunning beautiful” tour of the rocky and rolling coastline highlighted by seaside cliffs, sublime ocean views, and Gilded Age mansions such as The Breakers, which was once owned by the Vanderbilt family and is now the city’s most visited landmark. As a beguiling bonus, race day (aka the dash through the daffodils) coincides with Newport Daffodil Days, an annual festival that celebrates the springtime bloom of more than 1.2 million of these flowers throughout the Newport area. 🌼
Runner-up: Amica Newport Half (Oct)

South Carolina

Kiawah Island Marathon logoKiawah Island Half Marathon
Kiawah Island, SC (Dec)
Located on the state’s southeast coast, Kiawah Island is a private beach and golf resort and the ideal venue for a “quaint little island race.” The “pancake flat” course winds its way past brackish and freshwater ponds, maritime forest and luxury homes. Watch for egrets or one of the 200+ other bird species (or 700 alligators) that call Kiawah home. And though the off-island shuttles “ran like clock work,” finishers recommend the convenience and peace of mind that comes with staying close to the start line. If “nonstop crowds or a crazy beach vibe” are your cup of (sweet) tea, you may want to look elsewhere. But if a “great race getaway weekend” in a “beautiful area” sounds appealing, look to Kiawah.
Runner-up: Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon (Oct)

South Dakota

Run Crazy Horse logoRun Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse, SD (Oct)
Few race destinations can rival the unspoiled beauty of the Black Hills, and few start lines can rival the majestic Crazy Horse National Memorial. Starting at 5,900 ft in the shadow of the world’s largest (albeit unfinished) mountain monument, half and full marathoners share a challenging climb to the base of the memorial before parting ways at mile 3. Half marathoners then enjoy a gradual descent through vibrant fall colors on the crushed gravel surface of the popular George S. Mickelson Trail. Early October weather in the Black Hills is as unpredictable as it gets, but don’t let that deter you from planning a post-race visit to nearby Mount Rushmore National Memorial or Wind Cave National Park.
Runner-up: Mount Rushmore Half (Sep, rotating event) 🏆


St. Jude Memphis Marathon logoSt. Jude Memphis Half Marathon
Memphis, TN (Dec)
As the largest single-day fundraiser of the year for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend is a “must-do race” that “touches your heart.” Expect “top-notch organization” and “outstanding crowd support” (plus a hip-swiveling Elvis or two) in the birthplace of Rock and Roll. Starting in the historic Beale Street Entertainment District, the half marathon rolls gently through downtown before an emotional visit to the St. Jude campus where patients, their families and onlookers gather to cheer on the runners. No matter how fast or how far you run, you’ll celebrate a personal best feeling knowing you made a difference in the battle against childhood catastrophic diseases.
Runner-up: Great Smoky Mountains Half (Sep)


The Cowtown logoThe Cowtown 🏆
Fort Worth, TX (Feb)
The pride of Fort Worth knows how to put runners in a good “moo”d. The scenic loop course showcases the city’s rich cattle drive heritage, highlighted by the historic Fort Worth Stockyards in mile 7. Finishers laud every aspect of race weekend from the “top-notch organization” and “awesome swag” to the “overwhelming local support,” but its appeal may be most evident in the high number of repeat runners. And the 4½-hour time limit caters to walkers as well as back-of-the-packers. Participants who complete one distance on Saturday and one on Sunday earn exclusive Cowtown Challenge swag to separate themselves from the herd. Ain’t no bull to say The Cowtown is how the West is run.
Runner-up: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio (Dec)


Snow Canyon Half Marathon logoSnow Canyon Half Marathon
St. George, UT (Nov)
“You cannot beat” the “absolutely breathtaking” scenery at this “all-time favorite” held just north of St. George in Snow Canyon State Park. Starting at a relatively low (for Utah) elevation of 4,600 ft, the point-to-point course leads runners on a “blazing fast” descent, dropping 1,800 ft past petrified sand dunes, ancient lava flows and burnt orange Navajo sandstone illuminated by the morning sun. Don’t burn out your quads too soon, though, lest you lose steam in the final rolling miles before a triumphant finish on the track at Snow Canyon High School. Be sure to save time after the race to explore nearby treasures like Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Runner-up: Zion Half (Mar) 🏆


Covered Bridges Half Marathon logoCovered Bridges Half Marathon
South Pomfret, VT (Jun)
Covered Bridges is one of the nation’s best-kept half marathon secrets. The rolling, net downhill course features miles of pristine green countryside and quintessential New England charm. And while its name sounds more impressive in the plural, the point-to-point route in fact crosses only one covered bridge while bypassing two others. Bib pickup conveniently happens on race day, with finisher shirts and medals collected at the finish line. CBHM hopefuls take note: the event’s laid-back vibe doesn’t extend to registration, which sells out “faster than a Taylor Swift concert.” For a scenic, low-key half that delivers on the promise of the Green Mountain State, CBHM’s got you covered.
Runner-up: Mad Half (Jul)


Marine Corps Historic Half logoMarine Corps Historic Half
Fredericksburg, VA (May)
The self-proclaimed “Greatest Half in History” starts with a blast from a Howitzer and ends with a finisher medal from a Marine. Race day takes place in the city of Fredericksburg, home to four Civil War battlefields and Fredericksburg National Cemetery, the final resting place for 15,000+ Union soldiers. The rolling course showcases the host city’s quaint downtown and charming residential neighborhoods, highlighted by the emotional wear blue Mile in mile 9 and the charge up (in)famous Hospital Hill in mile 11. Along the way you’ll enjoy support and encouragement from enthusiastic Marines who line the streets, cheering every runner and even escorting the last participant across the finish line. Oorah!
Runner-up (tie): Anthem Shamrock Half (Mar), CarMax Richmond Half (Nov) 🏆


Iron Horse Half Marathon logoIron Horse Half Marathon 🏆
North Bend, WA (Aug)
“What’s not to love?!” asks one excited finisher about this late-summer offering from Orca Running. Run on the smooth, packed gravel surface of converted railroad tracks (hence the name), the gentle downhill course is ideal for first-timers and anyone chasing a personal best as it drops nearly 900 feet to a finish line that makes you “feel on top of the world.” At the same time, the company’s cupless racing policies ensure the 13 miles from Olallie State Park to North Bend stay just as “OMG so beautiful” as you found them. Throw in free race photos, a post-race beer garden and finisher medals that are “works of art,” and it’s easy to understand why Pacific Northwest runners have a whale of a time with Orca.
Runner-up: Jack & Jill’s Downhill Half (Jul)

West Virginia

Hatfield McCoy Marathon logoHatfield McCoy Half Marathons 🏆
Williamson, WV (Jun)
Expect “No Feudin’, Just Runnin’ ” at this laid-back favorite in the heart of Appalachia. Runners can choose from two scenic courses, each of which finishes in West Virginia: the Blackberry Mountain Half starts in Kentucky, whereas the River Road Half starts in West Virginia. Both routes follow wooded backroads and tranquil countryside dotted with colonial-style homes and patrolled by the Blackberry Fork and Tug Fork rivers. With the “best volunteers on the planet,” personalized signs to welcome back returning runners, and rifle-toting characters who greet every runner at the finish, it’s no wonder first-timers and 50 Staters alike call Hatfield McCoy “amazing in every way possible” and a “must-do event!”
Runner-up: Marshall University Half (Nov)


Eau Claire Marathon logoEau Claire Half Marathon 🏆
Eau Claire, WI (Apr)
The City of Bridges lives up to its billing (and then some) at this spirited springtime event. With nine unique bridge crossings over the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers, the “gorgeous” course showcases the city and its many green spaces. Finishers agree Eau Claire “lives up to the hype,” touting the “beautiful scenery” and “amazing atmosphere fueled by its community support.” And just when you need a pick-me-up, the closing mile provides a “fun (and much-needed) boost of energy” courtesy of the Blugold Mile powered by exuberant UW–Eau Claire students. Finish strong, then join the Barstow Block Party to grab a beer and cheer on your fellow runners as they near the end of their own 13.1-mile journey.
Runner-up (tie): Madison Mini (Aug), Madison Half (Nov), 


Grand Teton Half Marathon logoGrand Teton Half Marathon 🏆
Wilson, WY (Jun)
Staged under the watchful eye of its namesake mountain, Grand Teton is among the most beloved of the National Parks half marathons from Vacation Races. The point-to-point course enjoys an early bridge crossing of the celebrated Snake River and several miles along Teton Pass Hwy before starting a gradual climb toward the snow-capped Teton Range in the distance. The “breathtaking course” and “magical views” may leave you feeling weak in the knees, or more likely that’s the altitude since Jackson sits at an elevation of 6,000+ feet. But once you’ve acclimated, you may as well stick around for the following weekend’s Yellowstone Half & 5K for the chance to earn up to eight (!) unique medals.
Runner-up: Jackson Hole Half (Sep)

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Author: Mike Sohaskey

Mike Sohaskey, co-founder of RaceRaves

Mike Sohaskey is the co-founder of RaceRaves, the premier online reviews community for runners to share their race experiences and find their next challenge. Mike honed his creative and critical thinking skills as a research scientist, earning a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Stanford. He’s completed over 120 races — including 60+ marathons and ultras plus all six Abbott World Marathon Majors — in locations ranging from Antarctica to Zimbabwe.


Other RaceRaves articles you’ll enjoy (trust us!):

Introducing your (smart) 50 States Map
Unconventional Races that dare to be different
Runners Choice: Best Marathons in the U.S.
Best Bets for Boston Marathon Qualifying Races

And for more helpful articles, check out our blog!

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