“Crossing the starting line may be an act of courage, but crossing the finish line is an act of faith. Faith is what keeps us going when nothing else will. Faith is the emotion that will give you victory over your past, the demons in your soul, and all of those voices that tell you what you can and cannot do, and can and cannot be.” — John Bingham
1) Downhill @ Dawn Half Marathon
Paved mountain roads and wide gravel trails that wind through the majestic wooded forests of North Carolina’s Black Mountains are the setting for this race, which starts quite literally as dawn is rising, at 6:01 AM to be exact.
Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Ridgecrest, NC
2) Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon
Hill training is a must if you’re thinking of running this race, which follows a long, gradual and mostly downhill descent of roughly 800 feet from the start to the finish line at the riverfront in downtown Morgantown.
Saturday, June 4, 2022 • Morgantown, WV
3) Fontana Days Run Half Marathon
Recognized as “the world’s fastest half marathon course” by USA Track & Field back in 1985, the Fontana Days Run takes about 2,000 runners on a fast downhill course that starts in Lytle Creek and finishes at Fontana’s City Hall.
Saturday, June 4, 2022 • Fontana, CA
4) Sandhills Half Marathon
Filled with a combination of pristine prairie grasses and hilly sand dunes that lie atop the massive Ogallala Aquifer, this race features a long, gradual downhill point-to-point route in Cherry County, Nebraska.
Sunday, June 5, 2022 • Valentine, NE
5) Utah Valley Half Marathon
The green natural beauty of the Utah Valley, home over the centuries to Native Americans, Spanish explorers, rugged mountain men and even U.S. troops back in the mid-1800s, serves as the setting for this long, sloping downhill race.
Saturday, June 4, 2022 • Provo, UT
6) Slacker Half Marathon
Billed by race organizers as the “highest downhill half marathon in the country,” this race starts at 10,630 feet above sea level and follows a course that is entirely downhill.
Saturday, June 25, 2022 • Georgetown, CO
7) Hobbler Half Marathon
Run through Utah’s Hobble Creek Canyon at this summertime race, which follows a long, gradual descent from the mountains of the Unita National Forest just east of Springville and finishes at Arts Park.
Saturday, July 9, 2022 • Springville, UT
8) Bryce Canyon Half Marathon
Run through portions of Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park, which lures visitors from around the world with its stunning red rock formations, this point-to-point course offers a flat and downhill run with a net elevation loss of 1,800 ft.
Saturday, July 9, 2022 • Bryce, UT
9) The Scream Half Marathon
You’re likely going to be very, very sore the day after you finish the 13.1 miles between Jonas Ridge and Mortimer, N.C., that make up this race, where the elevation drops more than 2,000 feet from the start to the finish line.
Saturday, July 9, 2022 • Jonas Ridge, NC
10) Jack & Hill’s Downhill Half Marathon
You’ll get to enjoy running the scenic John Wayne Trail just outside Seattle as you make your way along a point-to-point course that drops some 1,100 feet from start to finish.
Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31, 2022 • North Bend, WA
11) Catherine Creek Classic Half Marathon
Ready to run through some of northeast Oregon’s most scenic forests? This race takes runners on an almost all-downhill route that starts in the Wallowa National Forest and finishes in downtown Union.
Saturday, August 6, 2022 • Union, OR
12) Iron Horse Half Marathon
Run through the forest outside Seattle on this almost all-downhill route along the Iron Horse Trail, built on the old railroad corridor that was part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad from 1908 all the way up to 1980.
Sunday, August 21, 2022 • North Bend, WA
13) Fall Equinox Half Marathon
Known both for its whitewater rapids and for the plentiful trout that make it a mecca for fishing, Colorado’s Cache la Poudre River and the Poudre River Canyon serve as the setting for this race that takes place around the autumnal equinox.
Sunday, September 18, 2022 • Fort Collins, CO
14) Wineglass Half Marathon
Run through the wine country of the New York Finger Lakes region along a very gradual downhill course, much of which unfolds along the winding Chemung River, this race features a run past the famed Corning Museum of Glass.
Sunday, October 2, 2022 • Corning, NY
15) Run Crazy Horse Half Marathon
The gorgeous and oftentimes stark and jagged natural scenery of South Dakota’s Black Hills will be on display at this early fall race, which starts at the majestic Crazy Horse Memorial and finishes in nearby Hill City, S.D.
Sunday, October 9, 2022 • Crazy Horse, SD
16) The Rogue Run Half Marathon
Runners will spend nearly all their time during the race on the running, walking and biking pathway known as the Bear Creek Greenway here in Oregon’s Rogue River Valley, a point-to-point race that’s nearly all downhill.
Saturday, October 15, 2022 • Medford, OR
17) Nevada Half Marathon
One of two races in our list that are part of the Lake Tahoe Marathon & Half Marathons race weekend, the Nevada Half Marathon unfolds along the Nevada shoreline of the lake and features a 700-foot drop from start to finish, with gorgeous scenery as far as the eye can see.
Saturday, October 15, 2022 • Incline Village, NV
18) Emerald Bay Half Marathon
Hailed by its organizers as perhaps the “most beautiful race in the world,” this half marathon along the shores of Lake Tahoe drops about 600 feet in elevation from the start overlooking Emerald Bay to the finish line at the California-Nevada state line.
Sunday, October 16, 2022 • South Lake Tahoe, CA
19) Rim Rock Half Marathon
Get ready for a stunning – and all-downhill – half marathon inside Colorado National Monument, whose stunning multi-colored rock formations and canyon walls span more than 20,000 acres near Colorado’s border with Utah.
November 2022 (?) • Grand Junction, CO
20) Revel Big Bear Half Marathon
You’ll get to run through the San Bernardino National Forest in Northern California at this new race, which replaces the Revel Canyon City Half Marathon and moves to Big Bear, where you’ll start and run a smooth downhill route that finishes in the foothills of Redlands, Calif.
Sunday, November 12, 2022 • Big Bear, CA
21) Holualoa Tucson Half Marathon
Runners start this point-to-point race on Biosphere Road, just a short drive from Biosphere 2, the Earth science research facility in the Arizona desert. From there, this almost all-downhill race unfolds in the shadow of the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains.
December 2022 (?) • Tucson, AZ
Deckers Creek HM and The Scream HM have course changes and are no longer all downhill races. They’re both out and backs now, so half is up half is down.
I would not recommend Crazy Horse. It says it’s all downhill, but the first 3 miles were an intense incline, which can take away a lot of energy for the last 10. The least 10 were a gentle downhill, but almost not noticeable… the weather was favorable and you run through a stretch of Aspen that are changing for the fall. The medals are cool; homemade. Not my favorite race.
There is also the “Drop 13” half June 8th outside salt Lake City, Utah which my son and I are going to run next year. Thanks for the above races!
Also the Tear Drop Half Marathon in Chatworth, GA (near Chattanooga.) Beautiful race, tons of fun. First half is quite hilly, but miles 5-12 have a very steady downhill that helps gain back time lost in the first five miles. I loved this race and will likely do it again.
Thanks for sharing that one, Ilana! A friend actually told me about it not too long ago, said she ran it earlier this year and absolutely loved it. I need to add it to my list, too.
The teardrop is super fun, well organized, and PR friendly.
Revel Big Bear is in Southern California, not northern. The nice feature is the steady drop (200-300 feet per mile).
There is also the Steel Rail Half Marathon!