Experience a Race Like No Other. Old-world practices. Lush countryside. Hard-working people. All these things and more make BIH Half a special experience. But some things can’t be described – like the sense of community that follows well after you cross the finish line. Tour the gorgeous Amish farmlands of Bird-in-Hand, PA.
The Bird in Hand Half Marathon course runs through the Valley of No Wires and half marathon finishers will earn their horseshoe finisher’s medal! REAL horseshoes from REAL horses on the farms in our community, not some factory medal made to look-like a horseshoe. They’re big and heavy and each one is unique, just as each runner is unique.
Fully supported course, water stations every two miles, every mile marked, every turn on the course marked, rest stops at one room school houses, run through a real working Amish farm, chip timing, tech shirts, age group awards, FREE parking right at the start/finish area and so very much more!
The Hand-in-Hand Fire Company challenges you to run two races – 5K on Friday evening and Half Marathon on Saturday morning! Show your strength and earn a bonus premium item.
Do not wait to register – the half marathon always sell out! And it’s a hard cap.
Cool farm running with the amish!
The weather was absolutely perfect on this September day! Great farm-land running. Everyone was encouraging and helpful. You're running through active farms so we saw tractors and a dairy truck … MORE
The weather was absolutely perfect on this September day! Great farm-land running. Everyone was encouraging and helpful. You’re running through active farms so we saw tractors and a dairy truck that blocked the course at one point, but it was easy enough to run around. Plenty of water/aid stations. The meal after was great and the entire town is so much fun to visit. Highly reccomend!
Love this race!
It’s a small race in a small town with big beauty and so well done! Race management did a fabulous job! I will definitely run again. Minimal fluff but in … MORE
It’s a small race in a small town with big beauty and so well done! Race management did a fabulous job! I will definitely run again. Minimal fluff but in a good way. The ice chests throughout the course to cool off were key. The course isn’t easy but just right. Although I do like my hills soo….
One for the books
What an amazing experience! Plenty of swag, hospitality, and goodies from Amish country. Well organized race with an amazing atmosphere. I ran the 5k and half to complete the firemen's … MORE
What an amazing experience! Plenty of swag, hospitality, and goodies from Amish country.
Well organized race with an amazing atmosphere. I ran the 5k and half to complete the firemen’s challenge which was worth the extra miles. No medal for the 5k but race tee included as well as campfire smores and if you do the challenge you get extra swag. This year was a thermal water bottle. Lots of course support, great farm scenery, and great atmosphere. Plenty of rolling hills then a few big ones around mile 9 to 10 and no shade due to all the farms. Tough for someone from Florida or any flat area.
The ultimate swag is the half medal. An actual horseshoe used within the community and retired to become the half medal. I truly understand why so many people have this race on their bucket list and come back year after year. Remember to watch out for road apples on the course (fun Amish saying for horse poop)
MUST DO RACE!!!!!
This is one of if not the best race that I have done! Great scenery, yes there are rolling hills, but it is beautiful!!! Great support from the local Amish … MORE
This is one of if not the best race that I have done! Great scenery, yes there are rolling hills, but it is beautiful!!! Great support from the local Amish community throughout the race. Great food after the 5k and the half, you get to make your own smores after the 5k! I absolutely LOVE my horseshoe medal!!! Cannot recommend it enough! My performance wasn’t the best but that was all my fault, I’ll be back to this one for sure!!!
One for your bucketlist
This was a beautiful race full of rolling hills that coursed through farmland. There were ample water stops throughout along with music entertainment by the locals along the route. The … MORE
This was a beautiful race full of rolling hills that coursed through farmland. There were ample water stops throughout along with music entertainment by the locals along the route. The pre and post race meals were ample and filled with delicious homemade goodness.
The Amish do a great job of organizing this race. I highly recommend adding this race to your bucket list for a wonderful experience.
As good as I remembered!
I loved this race years ago when I ran it for the first time. I did the virtual run in 2020 and was glad to be able to attend in … MORE
I loved this race years ago when I ran it for the first time. I did the virtual run in 2020 and was glad to be able to attend in person this year. It was my first in-person half since March 2020 and only my 4th in-person race at that point. The event is well-run and this year we had outstanding weather. The community is amazing. Can’t wait to return!
Pretty Pretty Race
Ever since I decided to run a half marathon in all 50 states, this race has been pegged as my Pennsylvania race. I did register last year but with Covid … MORE
Ever since I decided to run a half marathon in all 50 states, this race has been pegged as my Pennsylvania race. I did register last year but with Covid it was cancelled. Unlike most other races, these people offered refunds since the race was cancelled. I was still compelled to do this race so I signed up again this year.
This was my first race since Oct 2019. Packet pick up was smooth, not much in terms of swag (a race book, t shirt and whoopie pie). Race expo was also small but the volunteers were so friendly.
Race morning was chilly and the hot air balloon launch was cancelled due to it being in President Biden’s fly zone that morning. I agree with all the other racers in saying you will not PR on this race. The scenery is beautiful and serene but lots of slow incline hills! This race also had more water stations then I have ever seen-10 of them that got closer together the closer to the end you got. There was only water and power ade at each stations-nothing in terms of energy gu’s etc. There were a few very small pockets of spectators on the course, a bit larger of a group at the finish. Mile 10 you do have to run in gravel, mile 12 you run on grass through a corn field. While they host a family picnic afterwards, the lines were so long that I did not want to wait.
Overall, this is a really well done race with beautiful scenery. I’m so happy I picked this for my Pennsylvania race.
I can’t top Lorelei’s review of this race so please read hers. This race lived up to all that I had heard, and then some. The weather in 2021 was … MORE
I can’t top Lorelei’s review of this race so please read hers. This race lived up to all that I had heard, and then some. The weather in 2021 was perfect, 54 at the start, low 70s at the end. Perfectly clear. It is hard to describe the scenery, it was all fantastic. There were 1,116 finishers. It was so much fun to be part a large group of runners enjoying the event so much.
The production was fantastic. The water stations classic, with Amish children handing out water. The swag you have probably heard about – the medal made out of a used up local horseshoe on a strip of leather from a local harness shop. And a nice short sleeve tech shirt with the distance and date, a whoopee pie, and a souvenir quality race book.
Depending on where you are from, the course may or may not have hills. My watch had 525 feet of total ascent, coming from east Tennessee they mostly seemed like inclines rather that steep hills.
This is definitely an event in it’s own class. If you enjoy a rural setting and well run event, this must be one of the best.
Worth the Trip by Itself
I ran this as part of the Fire Company Challenge- running both the 5K Friday evening and the half marathon Saturday morning. It was a relaxed and beautiful preview of … MORE
I ran this as part of the Fire Company Challenge- running both the 5K Friday evening and the half marathon Saturday morning. It was a relaxed and beautiful preview of what the half marathon would be like. The weather was perfect, clear and 70 with a slight breeze for the 6:30 pm start. There were 616 runners. I thought the scenery was gorgeous. There were runners of all ages and families running together. So much fun. My watch had an ascent of 46 ft.
The pasta dinner from 4-8 was fun and well attended, tickets had to be purchased for it. It was fun sitting down with everyone under the big tent and eating after the race. Swag was a short sleeve tech shirt with the date and race length on it.
I was there for the half but had it just been the 5k I would have been completely satisfied.
In Amish Country
The Bird in Hand half marathon is a destination race. It is worthwhile. The primary attraction is the locale: Amish country. I saw more cows than at any other race … MORE
The Bird in Hand half marathon is a destination race. It is worthwhile. The primary attraction is the locale: Amish country. I saw more cows than at any other race I’ve run and more cow poop on the road. I smelled more cow too. I also saw more sheep and goats and homemade cheese for sale. I also saw two camels, I’m guessing a mother and child, but no indication of the father. That was unusual enough that others stopped to take photos. There were bonnets and Amish scooter-bicycles in abundance. The organizers and volunteers all appeared to be community members. Driving in, I was nervous about the horse drawn carriages on the road. There also was lots of corn. That isn’t a distinguishing characteristic. There are other races through fields. Crops are not that interesting.
The course itself has gentle hills. They are just enough for the word “flat” to be inappropriate but not challenging enough to scare off anyone who is experienced in this type of thing. They offer agricultural views with a couple of more idyllic vistas.
Another high point, a sign of how well thought out things are, was the porta potty situation. The had ample units and a traffic guide directing folks to empty ones. They even had a few fire pits going at the beginning. It was just chilly enough to appreciate them.
Community members participated in the race as well. The guy who guided me to the start line and assured me I could get my bib grew up in the neighborhood but had moved away; he was coming back to run. A husband and wife passed me, each pushing a stroller, presumably with twins.
The medal was a horseshoe, a real one and not just a token shaped like one. I am not sure, but I might have read it was used on a local animal.
The food was excellent. I had BBQ chicken, a sausage, potato salad, celery, and cake. I skipped the ice cream. The line moved quickly. They have a great sense of how to put on an event such as this. There were big tents to sit under and picnic tables under the sun.
A new favorite.
THE TOWN: it’s small and it’s Amish, two qualities that make it amazing. The biggest road is two lanes: this way and that way. I came the day before the … MORE
THE TOWN: it’s small and it’s Amish, two qualities that make it amazing. The biggest road is two lanes: this way and that way. I came the day before the event to avoid heavy traffic – a wise decision. Considering accommodations were inexpensive, it was worth the money. Everything is walking distance: the food, sightseeing, shopping. But you have to walk the horse and buggy paths as there are no sidewalks. Easy peasy, but noteworthy. Food at the restaurants are very inexpensive. It’s a foodie-Amish town. It’s easy to find good eats.
HOTEL: I stayed at the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn. It was very nice, rather inexpensive, and directly across the street from packet pickup and the start/finish line. I’ve already booked a room for when I return next year. I wouldn’t stay anywhere else. With that said, if you miss your chance to book it, there are plenty of other nice places to stay nearby. There’s probably not a bad one.
THE EXPERIENCE: this race occurs in conjunction with their hot air balloon festival. They launch hot air balloons after the 5K on Friday and before the half marathon on Saturday. On Friday night, they inflate them and have a balloon light show which is jaw-dropping. You can enjoy the balloon show while making your own s’mores over the huge flaming trough!!! All the fixins’ are laid out on a hay wagon. Seriously seriously fun!!! Before or after the Friday 5K, you can choose to participate in the Amish-prepared pasta dinner. Say yes to this. You’ll get to eat with your old friends, your new friends and the Amish. A great experience with great food.
Wake up early on Half Marathon day to make sure you don’t miss the morning balloon launch. They promised a 7:15 launch but it was actually earlier than that. The sky fills up quickly with this amazing show. The launch is right across the street from the hotel. Imagine my surprise when I looked out my window to see not a sky but a humongous balloon. The last balloons launch as the race kicks off.
They say that they start exactly on time using an atomic clock. Yes. This is true. Also, they use lead buggies! Too cool. Be sure to read the booklet they give you packet pickup. On the course map, they will tell you what you can expect to see. There are a few unbelievable things on the list and you will think that perhaps they are lying or stretching the truth a bit. Well, I saw everything they listed. You’ll have some surprises.
The course itself is my new favorite. It’s as gorgeous as can be. The Amish community is breathtaking. It’s NOT flat. I loved the hills. Other folks hated them. All I can say is…train for hills and embrace the joy.
The Amish will run with you, especially the 5K. I know. I know. You’re wondering the same thing I did. What do they wear? Well, I’m not going to tell you. You’ll have to find out for yourself. The Amish also man the aid stations and giant groups can be seen throughout cheering you on. They even have bands that will sing to you.
After the race, the Amish will feed you a giant meal again. Don’t miss out on the pies, cakes and ice cream. Amish pie! Amish cake! Seriously, it’s worth every calorie and fat.
SERIOUS STUFF: SWAG: you’ll get a nice tech shirt for each race. That means two shirts if you do the fireman’s challenge (5K & Half). You’ll get a Whoopie pie. Don’t know what that is? Well, come to this race and get an Amish one. You’ll love it a hundred times more than the shirts. If you do the fireman’s challenge, you’ll get a bonus gift. This year, it was a triple insulated water bottle. Think Kleen Kanteen type, in a choice of colors. THE MEDAL! Hands down, my new favorite. They solder a plaque to an old horseshoe and add a leather strap from their own tanneries to hang it around your neck. We asked an Amish girl where they were made and she said, “in my grandpa’s barn.” Like, wow! Grandpa made 2000 medals! Take a look at the photographs.
Are you signing up????? Make sure to study up on the Road Apple award you can earn.
ITS AN UNDERSTATEMENT TO SAY THIS WAS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE!
THE BEST HALF EVER!
IMHO BIH is the best race I've ever run. The Amish community know how to throw a gr8 race. Awesome beautiful course, rolling hills and gr8 crowd support. Nice handmade … MORE
IMHO BIH is the best race I’ve ever run. The Amish community know how to throw a gr8 race. Awesome beautiful course, rolling hills and gr8 crowd support. Nice handmade horseshoe bling. Organization was tops. Weather was a factor too. Cools temps, overcast. Gr8 pre and post parties too. I highly recommend.
Such a Great Race
Bird in Hand PA is located in the heart of Amish country in Lancaster County. The proceeds of this race go to support the local volunteer fire department, is limited … MORE
Bird in Hand PA is located in the heart of Amish country in Lancaster County.
The proceeds of this race go to support the local volunteer fire department, is limited to 1500 runners and is always sold out. Packet pickup is the day before so you have to plan to be there a day early or have someone pick it up for you.
There is also a Hot Air Balloon festival going on at the same time and they do a night glow Friday night when the 5K is run.
Race day was rainy but most of the race is on country roads so the footing was good. Rolling hills, farms and Amish buggies dot the landscape during this race and honestly I would have stopped to take pictures if I had brought my phone.
Water stops are plentiful and have both water and powerade. The volunteers are the local Amish so their kids line up and hand out the cups. At one water stop they even had Ritas Italian Ice!
The hills were plentiful but not too steep. It did feel like we were climbing all of the time although they did not wear me out like big hills in other races I have done.
Crowd support was at a minimum because of the rural nature of the race, but, where there were crowds, the enthusiasm was high.
Race Swag includes a real horshoe medal handcrafetd from a used shoe worn by an Amish horse. It is by far the favorite medal I have ever received.
Post race food included water, bagels, granola bars and pretzels. At 11:00 they hold a free barbecue for participants and anyone else who wants to eat. It included barbecued Chicken, Sausage, potato salad, chips and fresh vegetables. For dessert there was Cake and Ice Cream!
All in all this is the best supported and organized race I have done thus far. I will be signing up again for next year!
This is a "MUST DO" a true "CAN'T MISS".
SO far I have run almost 60 half marathons and this is one of my top 2. It is in the middle of Amish and run by the local Amish … MORE
SO far I have run almost 60 half marathons and this is one of my top 2. It is in the middle of Amish and run by the local Amish with all money going toward the volunteer fire department. All of the water stops are run by local Amish families. The medal is an actual horseshoe that locals collect throughout the year. The families put on a spaghetti dinner the night before and your entry comes with a home made whoopie pie. The course is hilly but that just adds to the scenery of the area. I can’t recommend this race enough.
Hot, hilly, but unique, well supported
This race is a benefit for the local Amish community fire and emergency medical services, so the entire town pretty much helps out with the race. The course is almost … MORE
This race is a benefit for the local Amish community fire and emergency medical services, so the entire town pretty much helps out with the race. The course is almost entirely in the Amish community, with 90% on paved roads and 10% on farm dirt roads. You will see beautiful views of cornfields and farm lands, and a special area called the “Valley of No Wires” as the homes do not have electricity. The course has occasional hills, but the biggest thing to be aware of is that there is zero shade, very little breeze, and it can be very hot and humid. This year temps passed 90 degrees in the sun, and I wound up walking most of the second half of the race out of my own safety. Most people I know had a finish time much longer than normal because of the heat. Cool aspects- the water stops are manned by Amish families including children; the medal is an actual used horseshoe; and the post-race food is amazing- bbq with chicken, pasta, fruits, lemonade, ice cream and more, and it’s open to everyone, even family members who didn’t run.
Run With The Amish
I've run this race 3 times, including the inaugural. It is very well run. It is growing but still a smaller sized field. Parking is in a field, so if … MORE
I’ve run this race 3 times, including the inaugural. It is very well run. It is growing but still a smaller sized field. Parking is in a field, so if it has been raining, prepare for muddy feet.
At the start, you literally line up beside the Amish. They are an integral part of this race. They cheer, they run with you in the race, they man the water stations (even the littlest of kids), they ride their bikes on the roads and you’re guaranteed to see at least one horse and buggy. Watch out for the “road apples” though.
The course is not easy. This is the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania. The temperature can be hot in September, so prepare for it. There were a lot of runners needing medical treatment at the finish line due to the heat. There were ambulances stacked up, taking people to the hospital.
The finish line area is nice. They have a few vendors, including Amish selling baked goods. There is one lady who will make a quilt out of your race t-shirts and she does outstanding work. There is food to purchase, but they have a picnic with hot dogs, burgers, sides, snacks for everyone, including your family. They only ask for a head count prior to the race so they can plan accordingly.
I have to say the medal is one of my all time favorites. It is an actual, used horseshoe forged by Amish blacksmiths. If you do their “sister race” (Garden Spot Village), you get a “Road Apple” award. Look it up, if you don’t know what road apples are.
I would recommend this race, but do it for the scenery, fun atmosphere and medal. Don’t expect a PR. Slow down and look around.