Laugh and a Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Saturday, June 13, 2015 • Norfolk, NE • Course Map

For a small city out on the flatland plains of northeast Nebraska, Norfolk boasts more than a few names who’ve gone on to do some pretty big things, from major league baseball players Jim Buchanan and Scott Munter to Thurl Ravenscroft, who grew up to become the voice of “Tony the Tiger” and who performed the vocals for “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

Of course, there was no Norfolk native who went on to achieve more fame and fortune than the city’s most famous resident, and that would of course be Johnny Carson, the legendary host of “The Tonight Show,” who spent his middle and high school years in Norfolk and graduated from the Norfolk High School.

It’s largely the inspiration of Carson that sparked the idea for the all-new Laugh and a Half Marathon, which marks its 5th annual running in 2015 with a 13.1-mile race for both individual runners and team relay participants as well as a 10K, 5K and kids’ fun run as spring is giving way to summer here in this corner of Nebraska.

The creation of the Laugh-and-a-Half-Marathon started as a way to promote wellness, as well as honor the comedy legend. However, it became apparent that it could help foster a connection to something more, race organizers say.

The course for the races takes runners entirely on virtually flat, paved surfaces through city streets and areas surrounding Norfolk, which sits in the heart of the Elkhorn Valley, with the Sand Hills lying to the west and farmland to the east, offering scenic views of rural countryside as well as Norfolk’s newly renovated downtown area known as Riverpoint.

That half marathon, like the other races, follows an out-and-back course that starts and finishes at 801 Riverside Boulevard, just a few blocks away from Norfolk’s City Square Park.

From there, runners head out on what is roughly a clockwise loop route, starting off with a brief stretch along Riverside followed by turns on Benjamin Avenue, North 1st Street, Eisenhower Avenue, North Victory Road and East Norfolk Avenue before making the final turn on North 4th Street to head back to the start/finish line area.

Runners in the individual half marathon will make a double loop around the course, while those running in the four-person team relay will run sections of nearly 3.3 miles each.

Race Weather & Climate

Located in Nebraska’s northeastern corner, roughly 110 miles northwest of Omaha, Norfolk typically sees mild to moderately warm and occasionally hot weather in June, which brings this city’s rainiest month of the year. Record temperatures here during the month have fallen as low as 34ºF (in 1935) and risen as high as 109ºF (in 1933).

On race day (June 13), the average low is 58°F and the average high is 82°F.

Past Results

Course Map

See the race route map for the Laugh and a Half Marathon here.

Starting Time

  • 7:00 AM – half marathon, 10K, 5K
  • 9:30 AM – kids run


See race website


To reserve your spot in the late spring/early summer 2015 running of Norfolk’s Laugh and a Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, 10K, 5K or fun run, register online at the event website here.

Official Race Website

Facebook Conversations

Ever run in the Laugh and a Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.

See more races in: June, Nebraska

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