10 Fast and Flat Half Marathons: Western U.S.

Runners make their way along the coastal highway at the 2010 Malibu Marathon. (Photo by Jeff Drongowski/flickr)

Runners make their way along the coastal highway at the 2010 Malibu Marathon. (Photo by Jeff Drongowski/flickr)

1) Thelma and Louise Half Marathon (Moab, Utah)

This women’s half marathon touted as being flat, flat, flat! The start/finish line is at the Gold Bar campground and racers will run alongside the Colorado river for the majority of the course. Runners will beat the heat with a 6:30 AM start and are encouraged to bring their swimsuits for a post-race dip in the river.

2) Skagit Flats Half Marathon (Burlington, Wash.)

Located about an hour’s drive north of Seattle, Burlington is home to the fast and flat Skagit Flats course. Running through the rural roads of the Skagit Valley farmlands, racers follow the same out-and-back course of the full marathon. This sea level course is one of the fastest in the region and is limited to just 1,000 racers.

3) Modesto Half Marathon (Modesto, Calif.)

Traversing the streets of of tree-lined historic college neighborhoods, runners will enjoy beautiful views with this pancake flat course. First timers and walkers are encouraged to sign up as the race allows a generous seven-hour course limit.

4) IMS Arizona Half Marathon (Surprise/Glendale, Ariz.)

A point-to-point course in the suburbs of Phoenix, the IMS Arizona Half Marathon is flat and PR-worthy. Runners begin at about 1,187 feet above sea level in Surprise and finish at about 1,056 feet in Glendale. As an added bonus, February temperatures in the desert are perfect for racing.

5) Ventura Half Marathon (Ventura, Calif.)

As part of a two-day event featuring a marathon, 5K, bike rides, and plenty of entertainment, the Ventura Half Marathon is sure to be fast and fun! The highest point on the course is less than 100 feet in elevation and runners spend most of their race near sea level. Though the course allows up to a four-hour finish, racers will want to finish quickly to get to the post-race beach party with live music.

6) Missoula Half Marathon (Missoula, Mont.)

Missoula is located 3,209 feet above sea level, but this half marathon is incredibly flat for this region. The point-to-point course begins in the countryside, travels along the Clark Fork river, and finishes in historic downtown Missoula.

7) Foot Traffic Half Marathon (Sauvie Island, Ore.)

Starting at the famous Pumpkin Patch on the south end of Sauvie Island, this half marathon course is one big loop. Runners will travel a country lane road with very minimal elevation changes. This half is expected to be incredibly fast as it is held on the same marathon course that rate consistently in the top 20 marathons with highest percentage of Boston Qualifiers.

8) Colfax Half Marathon (Denver, Colo.)

The only race to run through the Denver Zoo, the Colfax Half Marathon is a popular springtime race in Denver. It is a loop course with a total ascent of 180 feet over 13.1 miles. Ladies might notice a fast final mile as the Colorado Firefighter Calendar cheers races on as they head to the finish line in the City Park.

9) Duke City Half Marathon (Albuquerque, N.M.)

As the longest running race in New Mexico, the Duke City Half Marathon is the race to run in Albuquerque. This out-and-back course begins at 5018’ and reaches the turnaround point at 5,038 feet. Runners who hail from sea level towns might find this race tough, but locals love the fast and flat course.

10) Surf City USA Half Marathon (Huntington Beach, Calif.)

A run along the Pacific Coast Highway is sure to be as beautiful as it sounds. This sea level course in Huntington Beach raises to less than 100’ feet at the highest point and finishes within walking distance of the beach. Be sure to register early — this popular race attracts 20,000 runners each year!

0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment