5 Awesome East Coast Half Marathons You’ll Love Too

@NataliaSolo via Twenty20

I’ve run over 40 half marathons. Since I live in New Jersey, many of the half marathons I’ve run have been along the east coast or within driving distance.

I’ve run half marathons with less than 100 to half marathons with total finishers over 15,000. Personally, I like both, and each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Here are five of my favorite East Coast half marathons:

February: Lake Effect Half Marathon • Syracuse, N.Y.

I’ve run the Lake Effect Half Marathon twice, and it’s always a challenge. Anyone who has lived in upstate NY knows the weather in February can be crazy.

In fact, the first time I ran that half I drove through a blizzard on the way back home. If you are looking for a challenging but fun half marathon, this is for you.

Why run it?

Not many people can say they’ve run through a blizzard for a half. Despite the race being cold and conditions often being brutal, there have also been some better days when it was “only” 30 degrees.

The after party is always a lot of fun (and warm!). Plus, the race benefits a local facility in Syracuse that helps people with eating disorders.

March: Shamrock Half Marathon • Virginia Beach, Va.

I’ve run this half marathon five times now. The weather is not always optimal, and it’s been windy, rainy, and cold, but the fun is always there. You know the course is flat and fast with plenty of crowd support.

Why run it?

The Swag! With any J&A race, you get a medal, hat, and a mystery prize that changes every year. There is plenty of beer, Murphy’s Stew, and a giant after party on the beach.

April: April Fools Half Marathon • Atlantic City, N.J.

ACY is another great destination race. Atlantic City has a lot of fun activities for anyone of any age! I’ve run the April Fools Half Marathon three times and the weather is usually decent.

It has been windy, but the temperatures are typically nice. Atlantic City itself has plenty to do.

Why run it?

Although I might be biased (as it’s the only PR I’ve ever set in New Jersey), the course is extremely flat and fast. The course goes out and back along the boardwalk.

The race is well organized with free race photos, and a giant party on the boardwalk at one of the local bars.

September: Air Force Half Marathon • Dayton, Ohio

While technically not an “east coast” half marathon, the Air Force marathon is one of my favorite. It’s a unique and fun race that celebrates our Nation’s Air Force.

Why run it?

The course is flatter and fast. At the beginning of the race, there are military planes that fly overhead to start the race.

Plus all branches of the military compete, so it’s cool to run alongside them. You get to run by several Air Force planes and finish along a runway.

October: Runners World Half Marathon Festival • Bethlehem, Pa.

I’ve run the Runners World Half Marathon as well as the 5k three times now. It’s a beautiful course in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.

Why run it?

Runner’s World Magazine is one of the most well-known magazines in the running world. The race takes place in downtown Bethlehem, close to the magazine headquarters.

While the course is hilly, it’s well put together and very scenic. The whole weekend has plenty of races from a trail race, 5K, 10K, half marathon, and even a dog race.

They also bring in a local running celebrity. This year the Hall family came and one of their daughters won the 5K!

So tell us: What are some of your favorite half marathons? Why?

Hollie Sick is an avid runner who’s completed more than 40 half marathons. Read her blog, or follow her on Facebook.

2 comments… add one
  • Edward Jackson January 12, 2018, 4:21 pm

    Since when are Pennsylvania & Ohio on the East coast? Seriously, there are a lot of good half marathons on the East coast. Look at New Hampshire & Massachusetts.

    • Terrell Johnson January 12, 2018, 5:39 pm

      You make a good point. I was looking for a way to geographically categorize them, and probably cast too wide a net. Will devote a future post to only East Coast halfs. 🙂

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