10 Winter Half Marathons That Ain’t For Sissies

© Błażej Łyjak | Dreamstime.com

© Błażej Łyjak | Dreamstime.com

1) Run For Regis Half Marathon • Peninsula, OH • Jan. 31, 2015

With an average January temperature of 30°F, the Run For Regis Half Marathon is ripe for the potential of snow if precipitation is a factor.

The half marathon distance is run in conjunction with a full marathon and 50K, so the generous course limit of 8 hours, 45 minutes will be more than enough even if conditions are less than perfect. Warm homemade chili at the finish line will help runners start to feel their fingers again.

2) F^3 Lake Half Marathon • Chicago, IL • Jan. 24, 2015

Chicago is a great city for history, culture, sports, shopping, and now, running in the winter. Don’t let the legendary tales of frigid wind keep you from joining in on this January race. The out-and-back course has a start/finish line at Soldier Field and runs parallel to Lake Michigan.

Sleep in a little and let the earth warm up a bit as this race doesn’t start until 10:00 a.m. Don your complimentary beanie and tech gloves included in your race packet and earn your bragging rights by completing 13.1 miles.

3) Securian Winter Run Half Marathon • St. Paul, MN • Jan. 24, 2015

January temperatures in St. Paul, Minnesota average a chilly 15°F and locals fight snow and ice if training outdoors in the winter months. However, they no longer need to wait to thaw out to race a half marathon locally.

The out-and-back course runs alongside the Mississippi River and offers beautiful views of downtown St. Paul. Luckily, runners can hover inside the Securian Center 400 building before and after the race to keep warm.

4) Sorry ‘Bout That Half Marathon • Polson, MT • Jan. 10, 2015

The average high in January in Polson, Montana is above freezing at a balmy 34°F. Factor in the town’s population of 4488 and remote location in northwestern Montana and it’s understandable that it might not be a sellout event.

Traction devices are encouraged to be worn on runners’ shoes as there are long icy patches throughout the course. The loop course is at approximately 3,200 feet in elevation and has one large section of downhill followed by a steady uphill in the last ⅓ of the race.

5) The Snowman’s Half • Mt. Pleasant, MI • Jan. 25, 2015

With a race starting at 9:00 a.m. and an average low of 14°F in January, The Snowman’s Half Marathon in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan is guaranteed to be frosty. Be sure to layer up for this out-and-back course that travels the streets of this central Michigan town. Warm up with a cup of coffee and bagel and finisher’s hoodie after completing the race.

6) Half At The Hamptons • Hampton, NH • Feb. 22, 2015

February is not the optimal month to be visiting the beaches of New Hampshire, but it is a great time to run a half marathon. The course is flat, scenic, and runners can enjoy a little more warmth with a 10:00 AM start.

Runners will travel two loops and one out-and-back section in this beautiful beachside town. Stick around and get warm after the race for hot soup and Smuttynose beer in the Ashworth By The Sea Ballroom.

7) Hypothermic Half Marathon • Eden Prairie, MN • Feb. 22, 2015

With a name like hypothermic in the race title name, this race will certainly do its best to live up to expectations. There are even tips on the race website for running in the cold. Held in Eden Prairie, Minnesota in late February, runners will face average high temperatures of 29°F.

The race course features two large loops circling Staring Lake and Purgatory Creek. Race participants receive gloves, a cover-up, and a complimentary post-race brunch.

8) Snow Joke Half Marathon • Seeley Lake, MT • Feb. 28, 2015

With 36 years in the making, this race is definitely not a joke. Race organizers want runners to know, “the race has never been cancelled, winter weather be damned. Nor has a wimp ever finished.” The record average high in nearby Missoula is 41°F, but races have been held in negative temperatures too.

The loop course travels the distance of Seeley Lake and though it can be measured at 13.1 miles in the summer, the course is uncertifiable due to constraints of the width of a snow plow. If you can hustle through the snow the fastest in your age group division, you will be awarded a fur sash and a medallion for your efforts.

9) Lake Effect Half Marathon • Syracuse, NY • Feb. 22, 2015

Held in the snowiest city in the United States, the Lake Effect Half Marathon is guaranteed to be a bit on the chilly side. The course is out-and-back and held on the East Shore Recreational Trail.

Though the race starts at 9:30 a.m., it will likely be far from warm. Syracuse averages 126.3 inches of snow each year so dress in layers and wear shoes with plenty of traction control.

10) Groundhog Half Marathon • Grand Rapids, MI • Feb. 1, 2015

The race director wants you to be clear, “It’s a winter running event, in Grand Rapids Michigan. YES! THERE WILL PROBABLY BE LOTS OF SNOW ON THE COURSE.” The half marathon is held on a paved trail, but may or may not be covered in snow.

Just like reliving a day over and over again like the movie Groundhog Day, runners will travel the same three loops to complete the 13.1 mile distance.

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