17 of America’s Flattest, Fastest Half Marathons

15 of the Flattest, Fastest Half Marathons Across America in 2019

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“The big truth we have seen with all different types of athletes is that running is a sport that happens between the ears.” — David & Megan Roche

1) Hilton Head Island Half Marathon • Hilton Head, SC

With only a few feet of elevation change over its 13.1 miles, this scenic half marathon offers one of the flattest courses in the U.S., taking runners and walkers along a course that’s made up mostly of paved roads and a few bike trails.

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 • Race info & signup »’

2) Disney Princess Half Marathon • Lake Buena Vista, FL

One of runDisney’s hugely popular races that take place each year in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, this race draws upwards of 20,000 runners and walkers every year for a route that starts and finishes in the parking lot of its Epcot Center, in the shadow of the resort’s famed Spaceship Earth globe.

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 • Race info & signup »

3) Marathon of the Treasure Coast • Jensen Beach, FL

Run through this stretch of the “Treasure Coast,” named for the ships carrying treasure that ran aground here in the 17th century thanks to the plentiful coral reefs just off the coast, this race shows off the scenery and the waterfronts that the area is known for.

Sunday, March 3, 2019 • Race info & signup »

4) Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon • Wrightsville Beach, NC

The loop course of the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon travels through the Wrightsville Beach waterfront and is touted by race directors as being fast and flat. Marathoners flock to this course with hopes of qualifying for Boston as conditions are wrought for speed.

Saturday, March 9, 2019 • Race info & signup »

5) Shamrock Half Marathon • Virginia Beach, VA

You can’t get much flatter than running along Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach. The race does have a slight incline along Shore Drive, but is so slight that most runners won’t notice. Celebrate a new PR with a killer post-run beach party sponsored by Yuengling.

Sunday, March 17, 2019 • Race info & signup »

6) Modesto Half Marathon • Modesto, CA

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 7-hour course limit.

Sunday, March 31, 2019 • Race info & signup »

7) Eisenhower Half Marathon • Abilene, KS

You’ll travel part of the Chisholm Trail — famous for cattlemen bringing their herds to Abilene in the 1800s — at this very fast, flat race, which features a double loop in the middle miles, but runners only ascend a total of just over 90 feet over the entire race.

Saturday, April 6, 2019 • Race info & signup »

8) Towpath Trilogy Half Marathon • Cuyahoga Heights, OH

You’ll run here along the trail that runs through the Ohio Canal Corridor, a 110-mile stretch of recreational paths for bikers, hikers and walkers that will eventually stretch all the way from Cleveland’s Flats at Canal Basin park to New Philadelphia, in mid-state Ohio.

Sunday, April 7, 2019 • Race info & signup »

9) Race the Runways Half Marathon • Brunswick, ME

This race has the unique distinction of running on an actual airport runway in Brunswick, Maine, as three miles of this incredibly flat course are run on the former U.S. Naval Air Station Brunswick. Though headwinds have sometimes proven to be fairly fierce during the race, the tailwind is just as incredible.

Saturday, April 27, 2019 • Race info & signup »

10) Glass City Half Marathon • Toledo, OH

With just over 110 feet of elevation gain over 13.1 miles, this is a great race to run fast. The loop course takes runners through beautiful residential neighborhoods and travels along the University Parks bike trail. A finish line in the Glass Bowl Stadium encourages runners to push their pace all the way to the end.

Sunday, April 28, 2019 • Race info & signup »

11) OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon • Indianapolis, IN

More than 35,000 runners make their way to the streets of Indiana’s capital city each year for this race, which gives runners a chance to take a lap on foot around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway at the half-way point.

Saturday, May 4, 2019 • Race info & signup »

12) Run on the River Half Marathon • Astoria, OR

You’ll get the chance to run what some observers have called the old Burlington Northern Railroad at this race, which unfolds along the five-mile-long Astoria Riverwalk here in this city located on the mouth of the Columbia River.

Sunday, May 19, 2019 • Race info & signup »

13) Surftown Half Marathon • Westerly, RI

This race along Block Island Sound is not only pretty flat and fast, but it’s gorgeous too. You’ll run past rocky coastlines, Victorian summer homes, oceanfront marshes and beautiful cottages. There are a few tiny elevation changes, but runners never go above 50 feet above sea level in elevation anywhere along the route.

Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 • Race info & signup »

14) Jersey Shore Half Marathon • Fort Hancock, NJ

Steeped in distance racing tradition, the Jersey Shore Marathon was an extremely popular road race here in the 1970s and became a half marathon in 1986. This flat course located at sea level offers runners views of the New York Harbor and the Sandy Hook Lighthouse.

Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 • Race info & signup »

15) Duke City Half Marathon • Albuquerque, NM

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.

Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019 • Race info & signup »

16) Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon • Myrtle Beach, SC

With 5 miles of oceanfront running and only a few turns over 13.1 miles, this race lives up to its promise of being fast and flat. The point-to-point pancake flat course is actually almost a loop and runners finish just steps away from the ocean.

Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019 • Race info & signup »

17) Trinity River Run Half Marathon • Dallas, TX

Thanks to its location along the Trinity River in Dallas, virtually the entire course is as flat as the Texas plains — the race starts at just over 400 feet above sea level, and never rises higher than about 430 feet.

Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019 • Race info & signup »

Related: The 25 Fastest Marathon Courses in the World

5 comments… add one
  • Jon Mennealy February 14, 2024, 2:09 pm

    On The Run Half Marathon in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, held in mid-March. It’s at sea level, and doesn’t rise much at all above sea level.

  • Amy January 31, 2024, 7:50 pm

    I can’t even go on a run without an elevation loss of at least 100 feet and then I have to run back home. There are only hills and mountains where I live and no one needs hill training every day. These sound great to this girl from the west!

  • Korey McCants February 11, 2019, 3:09 pm

    Just ran the Rock N Roll NOLA half and my Strava had the total elevation gain at like 13ft. Haha. RUN THIS FOR A PR! Super fun, fast, and flat!

  • Kathryn February 7, 2019, 12:15 pm

    The Kentucky Derby Half Marathon is very flat and takes the race participants through Museum Row which includes Slugger Bats Museum, through the UL campus and into the infield of Churchill Downs! The finish line is right by the Ohio River. Its should be on all runners bucket list! PS. The finish is also by the urban bouboun trail so you can visit distilleries after the race!

  • Jana February 6, 2019, 7:35 pm

    One more I would add to this list is Snohomish Women’s Run in Everett, Washington – it is so flat, with lots of farmland surrounding and hills in the distance.

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