Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1006 Reviews)
4.7
(1006 Ratings) 🏆 (1006 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.4
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
4.4
Welcome to The Cowtown®! Thank you for choosing to run one of our great races, or challenging yourself with two. Voted America’s Rave Race in 2020, Cowtown Race Weekend takes place on the last weekend in February of each year and is currently the second largest multi-event race in Texas. … MORE
Local Historical Weather (Feb 24):
  2024 2023 2022 2021 2020
 
H (°F)  69  46  28  70  67
L (°F)  44  41  20  54  51
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Recent reviews

    candratkinson FIRST-TIMER '23

    I ran the Cowtown half marathon for the first time in 2023. Oh. My. Heaven's. This was the best race ever. The production was amazing, very well organized. Parking wasn't … MORE

    I ran the Cowtown half marathon for the first time in 2023. Oh. My. Heaven’s. This was the best race ever. The production was amazing, very well organized. Parking wasn’t bad if you got there early. Running through the Stockyards was AWESOME. So much pretty scenery, Fort Worth’s best views. Already registered for the 2024 marathon, may even do the Ultra!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of John Pitzel
    slomojohn FIRST-TIMER '23

    The Cowtown is a well-organized, well run and all around great race in Fort Worth in February. There's really nothing more to say , but that everything is taken care … MORE

    The Cowtown is a well-organized, well run and all around great race in Fort Worth in February. There’s really nothing more to say , but that everything is taken care of; all you have to do is run your race. The course winds through Fort Worth, using parks as well as streets, and even go through the stockyards district. It was one of my first marathons, and I’m afraid it’s spoiled me for future events – I’m going to expect this level of organizations and execution.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    wcleiss REPEAT RUNNER '23

    I grew up in the Fort Worth area and you kind of take this race for granted. Yes, this race has affiliations with all the local elementary schools, so you … MORE

    I grew up in the Fort Worth area and you kind of take this race for granted. Yes, this race has affiliations with all the local elementary schools, so you are aware of it as a kid, but you always just kind of thought of it as the local race. Surely the races in big cities like New York, LA and Chicago must be better…

    No, this race actually deserves the accolades it gets. If you don’t believe me, run this race and then go run the BMW Dallas Marathon either the December before or December after you run the Cowtown. Nothing against the BMW Dallas Marathon but the contrast the Cowtown provides to that race is night and day difference. BMW Dallas is a fun race, but compared to the Cowtown, its a soulless, lifeless, bland, corporate race where if you blindfolded me and had me run it, I’d have no idea what city I was in. Generic city streets, generic residential streets, generic lake to run around.

    The Cowtown actually screams FORT WORTH. The race takes you on a tour of the city to sample what the city has to offer. It starts at the cultural district, then takes you into Trinity Park, then to the historic district, the Stockyards, Downtown, TCU, Overland Park, Colonial, Trinity Trails, and then back to the cultural district.

    The race is well organized and the people who run it care. I volunteered on the Friday/Saturday before the race this past year and it is a well oiled machine. The corral placement is smart, unlike BMW Dallas where there are only 4 corrals and even in the first corral you are having to weave through walkers in the first mile. Not here, you can’t purchase your way into the first corral like you can at Dallas.

    The crowd support is overwhelmingly strong for the first 10 or so miles, but then the half marathons split from the marathon and the crowd support dies – outside of aid stations and perhaps a small spattering of crowds here and there – for the backstretch of the marathon. Not necessarily a bad thing – but then the crowd support begins to return once you get into the Colonial Area and the residents throw their own block parties. Then when you rejoin the half marathoners around Mile 25 you have Lancaster Avenue lined with supporters on both sides all the way to the finish.

    This course is not flat, so it is not an easy course by any means. The first mile is downhill which can be deceiving and lead to a faster first mile split than you intended so make sure you pace yourself properly. There are some small hills leading up to the Mile 9 monster but I’ve never had a problem with the Mile 9 hill, its never as bad as you think it will be. Then you have rollers on the backstretch through the residential areas before it is mostly downhill rollers from Miles 18-25 until the last mile which is running that same first mile but in reverse, so you have an uphill finish – just keep this in mind as you are not out of the woods once you hit Overland Park and the residential rollers stop. I have run negative splits on this course before, but my last race here I was a bit too aggressive at the start because we were expecting a strong south wind that never materalized so I wanted to bank time before heading south from Miles 8 to 17. The wind never came so that banking of time was needless and I hit the wall around Mile 21 in the Colonial Area and ran on fumes to finish, but still set a PR. So I strongly suggest you strictly follow a pacing strategy!

    Weather can be a total mixed bag in terms of precipitation and wind, but for the most part I’ve run this in temperatures between 30 and 50 with calm winds. I see a lot of people way too overdressed for this race, which I get it, you want to be warm while in the corrals waiting for the race to start but after 2-3 miles of running you will be warmed up and will want to shed the layers unless it is brutally cold which is rare.

    Overall this is that race I will never miss and run until I cannot physically do so anymore. If I missed the other local big race, the BMW Dallas Marathon, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I could never miss this one. I occasionally have nightmares that it is Cowtown Race Day and I show up late and miss it – when you have nightmares like that, that’s when you know its a race you can not miss!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

    8 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    seteyed Feb 11, 2024 at 12:49pm

    100% agree with your comparison between BMW and Cowtown. Spot on

    100% agree with your comparison between BMW and Cowtown. Spot on

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    This one is NOT a small race. It is not big either. It's just right. It is well organized and everyone is extremely friendly. The race takes you from the … MORE

    This one is NOT a small race. It is not big either. It’s just right. It is well organized and everyone is extremely friendly. The race takes you from the oldest part of Fort Worth (the stockyards) to mansions by a country club. It is not an easy course but it is beautiful and definitely worth the run.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '23

    BOTTOM LINE: If you haven’t “herd,” there’s a reason The Cowtown was voted “America’s Rave Race” back in 2020. There’s a reason it was voted the Best Marathon in Texas … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: If you haven’t “herd,” there’s a reason The Cowtown was voted “America’s Rave Race” back in 2020. There’s a reason it was voted the Best Marathon in Texas and Best Half Marathon in Texas by runners across the US. And there’s a reason that as of this writing, the event has earned Top Rated status with 1,000 reviews—more than any other event—here on RaceRaves. The Cowtown ain’t one of them “all hat, no cattle” races, y’all.

    This was the first race where I felt like—for the first few miles, at least—I could HEAR each mile marker before I reached it. Every mile seemed to feature a different musical act, and in particular I appreciated the Elvis tribute as well as the high-energy accordion of the AlpenMusikanten polka band. If you’re a runner who finds motivation in the music, you’ll find what you’re looking (or listening) for in Fort Worth.

    As far as highlights, mile 7 through the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District with its decidedly Old West vibe (and aroma 🐮) is what most folks think about when they think about Texas, even if the area immediately surrounding the Stockyards feels like a dilapidated ghost town. To one side of the street, a jet-black cow statue glared down on us (can you blame her?) from atop a neon steakhouse sign, while on the other a rust-colored horse mannequin stood like a sentry on the edge of a retail balcony. And not to be confused with cobblestones, the red brick streets around the Stockyards were comfortable and easy enough to run on, though I reckon that could change in wet weather.

    After the Stockyards, the Blue Mile leading up to the Tarrant County Courthouse in mile 9 was a moving tribute lined with U.S. flags, ribbons and posters depicting fallen soldiers. This long straight stretch, which preceded the hardest-hitting hill on the course, was attended by servicemembers in uniform who cheered on the runners (a humbling feeling, to be sure), providing the perfect motivation to dig deep and get ‘er done. It’s tough to feel even the slightest pang of self-pity when faced with the reality of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the rest of us.

    The two-mile straightaway home stretch on Lancaster Ave was a smart way to end the run (the fewer turns, the better), followed by a smoothly executed finish chute with plenty of snacks and an easily accessible family reunion area where I met Katie. Spectator bleachers even lined the finish line, which I thought was a cool and thoughtful touch. One reason the Cowtown is such a bull-loved event is that it understands the devil is in the details.

    If, by the time you exit the finish chute sporting your finisher medal, Cowtown-branded disposable mesh hoodie (another nice touch), bag o’ munchies and giddy smile, you still haven’t gotten your fill of Fort Worth’s western heritage, well then by all means do step inside the Will Rogers Memorial Center (conveniently accessible to all runners, this is late February after all) and specifically the state-of-the-art facilities that host the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. Take a deep breath and let the Old West fill your sinuses—in this day and age, it’s as close as most of us will come to feeling like a true cowboy.

    Congrats to Race Director Heidi who, not surprisingly, was sans voice by the time I saw her at the finish line on Sunday, and who continues to host a world-class event that’s one of the best race weekends not just in Texas but in the entire nation. I ran this half as a fortuitously timed training run for London, but I’d love to come back and add it to my list of TX marathons (or ultras) in the near future.

    If you’ve yet to run Fort Worth on the last weekend in February, I’d recommend you find out for yourself what all the fuss is about in 2024. The Cowtown is a race that won’t “steer” you wrong.

    PRODUCTION: It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve yet to experience a race weekend with better production values than The Cowtown. Case in point, the corral layout on race day was among the best I’ve seen—the corrals were laid out (to use a physics analogy) in parallel rather than in series, so that faster runners didn’t have to elbow their way through the masses or climb over fencing to reach their corral. Rather, you simply bypassed the other well-labeled corrals before arriving at your own, with each corral feeding into its proper sequence at the start line on Gendy St in front of Dickies Arena. It was a well-designed layout that utilized the parking lot of the Will Rogers Memorial Center to perfection. In addition, pace groups carried different-colored signs depending on the distance—red for the half, blue for the full, green for the ultra (50K). And despite bypassing every aid station (my usual M.O. on a cool day), I have nothing but props and gratitude for all the tireless & enthusiastic volunteers who made the entire weekend possible. If you run a race of any distance without thanking the volunteers, you’re doing something wrong.

    Coming from an hour away, we only managed to catch the tail end (no pun intended) of the pre-race expo; even in its waning moments, though, it was an energetic affair that featured more vendors than your typical expo and especially in the post-pandemic era. The Cowtown team are pros in every sense of the word.

    SWAG: Maybe it’s a Texas thang, but as was the case when I ran Houston and Dallas, I received two shirts at The Cowtown—a short-sleeve white tech shirt at packet pickup along with a short-sleeve red Under Armour finisher’s tech shirt in a sealed envelope that we were instructed not to open until we crossed the finish line. I don’t know many runners who need two more short-sleeve shirts, one of which is emblazoned with sponsor logos, so I would have preferred a single lightweight quarter-zip … and especially in late February when I can wear it immediately. (I was tickled to see on the back of the finisher shirt the slogan “HOW THE WEST IS RUN,” which I do believe was first coined in our 2018 “Best Marathons in the U.S.” article here on RaceRaves.)

    For its part, the attractive finisher medal depicts the Fort Worth Stockyards sign above longhorns in running shoes, the latter a subtle detail you may not notice on first glance. I’m proud to add it to my collection, my only objection being that the medal is shaped like a jigsaw puzzle piece (see photo) and is the second in a four-part series that, once completed, will no doubt make a bad-ass keepsake. I just wish they’d find a different way to design these modular medals so that each more easily stands on its own for us out-of-towners who aren’t able to collect all four.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    enorman232 VOLUNTEER '23

    I ran this as a pacer - as a first time road race pacer, and as my first time to run Cowtown. The Cowtown course is varied enough to keep … MORE

    I ran this as a pacer – as a first time road race pacer, and as my first time to run Cowtown. The Cowtown course is varied enough to keep it interesting for the entire 31 miles. We visited all the best Fort Worth has to offer. It’s like a foot tour of the town! I especially enjoyed approaching the city from the bridge, running through the Stockyards, and soaking in the peace of the trails by the river. The road race pacing experience was really cool. I loved ticking down the miles like clockwork, finishing right on target. I shared in the joy of each of the runners who ran with us, and I even laughed (a little) at some of my co-pacer’s dad jokes (he was fantastic, very experienced, coached and encouraged runners throughout the race). I’d love to go back and run it again, maybe at my own pace next time!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    chellrr29 FIRST-TIMER '23

    Great race with lots of entertainment along a smooth, historic Fort Worth course. Can’t wait to run it again! Lots of spectators and lots of entertainment along route helped encourage … MORE

    Great race with lots of entertainment along a smooth, historic Fort Worth course. Can’t wait to run it again! Lots of spectators and lots of entertainment along route helped encourage a great time. Plenty of medic and fluid stations as well as bathrooms.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    wilkinsfam5 REPEAT RUNNER '23

    Cowtown is a very organized race! Being able to hangout indoors prerace is a huge plus. Aid stations are great along the course. The race thins out significantly at the … MORE

    Cowtown is a very organized race! Being able to hangout indoors prerace is a huge plus. Aid stations are great along the course. The race thins out significantly at the split and the marathon/50k thins out. Most of the course had neighborhood support which was great. This years race was a comeback race for me and I was very happy to have run Cowtown for it.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Shane Murray
    samurray0630 FIRST-TIMER '23

    This was a great race that was run well. I enjoyed going through Fort Worth. There was great support from the city on the course. There was plenty of water … MORE

    This was a great race that was run well. I enjoyed going through Fort Worth. There was great support from the city on the course. There was plenty of water and restroom stops along the course. The course had some challenges.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    chamilton267 FIRST-TIMER '23

    Crowd support made this race. Even for a full marathon, I was surprised how many people showed up to support. It was awesome to have the random keyboard player in … MORE

    Crowd support made this race. Even for a full marathon, I was surprised how many people showed up to support.

    It was awesome to have the random keyboard player in trails. Mile 20 and the real mile 20 were great stops! The end running along the restaurants on the creek. The military mile at mile 9. It was a fun, beautiful race. I’d be happy to do again.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    mweyandt REPEAT RUNNER '23

    Cowtown race weekend is a tradition. I’d like to see the finish line a little more spread out, if possible. The medals are always special. The longhorn for the challenge … MORE

    Cowtown race weekend is a tradition. I’d like to see the finish line a little more spread out, if possible. The medals are always special. The longhorn for the challenge medal was amazing. It’s fun to see how they will top the previous year’s medal.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Wakesurfer REPEAT RUNNER '23

    This was my 7th Cowtown Half Marathon and each one is better than the last! I am running (slowly) one half marathon a month and the Cowtown is by far … MORE

    This was my 7th Cowtown Half Marathon and each one is better than the last! I am running (slowly) one half marathon a month and the Cowtown is by far the one that I look most forward to. Side note………I am in the M 70-74 age group and ran my first half marathon when I was 66 – and it was the Cowtown. The runners and fun, the fans are fun and the bands along the way are great. Nothing but fun, fun, fun for me! And they have Blue Bell Ice Cream at the finish!!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    HelgeAlsleben FIRST-TIMER '23

    The run is during a great time of the year and temperatures are great for running. The race organization is great. Overall there is nothing to complain about. MORE

    The run is during a great time of the year and temperatures are great for running. The race organization is great. Overall there is nothing to complain about.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    [email protected] REPEAT RUNNER '23

    From the start of the race to the end of the race I love the support that is offered at cheer stations and all the live music and different cheer … MORE

    From the start of the race to the end of the race I love the support that is offered at cheer stations and all the live music and different cheer areas to just keep runners motivated. My personal favorite part is running through the stockyards, something about running on that red brick road is just something I look forward to every single time.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    curbyalexander REPEAT RUNNER '23

    This was my 6th time running the Cowtown Half Marathon, and it was my first time since 2018. I love this race and honestly don't know why I took such … MORE

    This was my 6th time running the Cowtown Half Marathon, and it was my first time since 2018. I love this race and honestly don’t know why I took such a long break (well, the pandemic had something to do with it). This race is well organized, it has a lot of great terrain, there are so many people cheering along the route, and it provides a wonderful tour of the many places that make Fort Worth a great city. You get to run through the 7th Street district, historic North Fort Worth, the Stockyards, down Main Street and up that killer hill, past the Courthouse and through downtown. Then it’s just about hanging on for dear life until you are back at the Will Rogers. I will definitely do it again next year, but as I get older I prefer running for the experience and not so much for time. My only complaint the whole weekend was that they have bibs organized by number rather than last name. I had to dig through my email to find my bib number, but other than this the whole weekend was a blast. If you are up for the challenge, I recommend giving this race a try.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    CarrieMurphyisRed REPEAT RUNNER '23

    I did my first 1/2 here and keep coming back! Super fun atmosphere, bands, and just a great experience all around! I tried other races expecting the same level of … MORE

    I did my first 1/2 here and keep coming back! Super fun atmosphere, bands, and just a great experience all around! I tried other races expecting the same level of swag and fun and was disappointed! Fort Worth is a great town and has plenty of fun for after the race!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5
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    sdaniellefit VOLUNTEER '23

    The vibes are incredible! The Health & Fitness expo starting a day before the races and having tons of vendors from physical therapy companies to other race sign up booths … MORE

    The vibes are incredible! The Health & Fitness expo starting a day before the races and having tons of vendors from physical therapy companies to other race sign up booths & last minute gear vendors was amazing to have on site! Running through Fort Worth & the stockyards isn’t just something you can do everyday! Recommend doing it at least once!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    candymac REPEAT RUNNER '23

    The support from spectators & strangers along the route is amazing. There's live entertainment and beautiful scenery. The tribute to fallen soldiers along the Main Street Bridge is just beautiful … MORE

    The support from spectators & strangers along the route is amazing. There’s live entertainment and beautiful scenery. The tribute to fallen soldiers along the Main Street Bridge is just beautiful and heart warming. You get the feeling of Southern Hospitality throughout the whole race!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    shihongying REPEAT RUNNER '23

    The race is fun, the course is a bit difficult but the atmosphere is great. The part I like the best is how easy it is to wait inside the … MORE

    The race is fun, the course is a bit difficult but the atmosphere is great. The part I like the best is how easy it is to wait inside the Texas room right before you run. Just get out and you are in the coral. The food is nice.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    lokisonofodin67 FIRST-TIMER '23

    I signed up for the 5k last minute, knowing nothing about the event, I had so much fun that next year I plan on doing my first ever marathon at … MORE

    I signed up for the 5k last minute, knowing nothing about the event, I had so much fun that next year I plan on doing my first ever marathon at the Cowtown! Will be coming back every year.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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