11 Must-Run New York City Half Marathons



Five years ago, I had the chance to run the New York Road Runners’ New York City Half Marathon, which was run for the first time in the spring after years of being scheduled in July.

It was pretty cold that day, but the experience was unforgettable — I describe it here — for all the reasons you can imagine: running through Central Park, and later through Times Square to the finish at Battery Park, with thousands of spectators along the route.

The only thing is that race now sells out in hours every year. So what’s a runner to do? Well, as I found out researching races for the site, there’s plenty more where the NYC Half came from.

1) United Airlines New York City Half Marathon

Perhaps the most sought-after of all NYC halfs, this race organized by the New York Road Runners marks its 10th anniversary in 2016, with a course that starts in Central Park and finishes just blocks from Batter Park in Lower Manhattan.

Late March • Race info & signup »

2) Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon

Named in honor of the former NYRR president and co-founder of November’s annual New York City Marathon, this race unfolds along two loops around Central Park, bordered by the skyscrapers of Central Park West all around.

Late January • Race info & signup »

3) NYCRUNS Central Park Half Marathon

Limited to 1,500 runners, this late winter race starts and finishes at the northern end of the park and runs nearly all the way around to Central Park South, before heading back north past the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the finish line.

Late February • Race info & signup »

4) Ladies First Half Marathon

Designed for women — men are welcome to run, but they’re not eligible for any race awards — this race through Brooklyn takes you underneath the Verrazano Bridge, with views of the Manhattan skyline off in the distance.

Early April • Race info & signup »

5) Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

After this year’s inaugural half saw more than 13,000 runners cross the finish line, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon (run in previous years as a 10K only) is destined to become a fall classic with a route that starts and finishes in the iconic Prospect Park.

Early October • Race info & signup »

6) More/Fitness/Shape Women’s Half Marathon

Set for its 13th annual running in 2016, this race features the NYRR partnering with More Magazine, Fitness Magazine and Shape Magazine to take runners on a gorgeous looping run entirely within Central Park, for a race that quickly sells out every year.

Mid April • Race info & signup »

7) Riverdale Y Half Marathon

Billed by race organizers as “one of the most challenging, scenic street courses in New York City,” this 13.1-miler through the Bronx also features a 10K for runners and a 5K run/walk.

Early May • Race info & signup »

8) NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon

More than 25,000 runners take to the streets of Brooklyn for this race, which unfolds through many of Brooklyn’s most famous sights and attractions, including Prospect Park, the New York Aquarium and the Coney Island boardwalk.

Mid May • Race info & signup »

9) NYRR Staten Island Half Marathon

Scheduled just three weeks before the legendary New York City Marathon, the Staten Island Half is a perfect tune-up for the event and takes runners past fabulous views of New York Harbor and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Early October • Race info & signup »

10) Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon

The only race that unfolds along the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, set on the historic East River waterfront in Brooklyn, this race features views of the iconic Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges.

Mid October • Race info & signup »

11) Yonkers Half Marathon

The full marathon at this autumn event owns a special place in U.S. road race history, as it’s one of the oldest continuously operating marathons in the country — it was run for the first time in 1907, making it the nation’s second-oldest after the Boston Marathon.

Late October • Race info & signup »

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