The 5 Fastest (and Slowest) Half Marathons in the U.S.

Runners pass by in a blur during a 2013 half marathon in New York's Central Park. (Photo by Phil Roeder/flickr)

Runners pass by in a blur during a 2013 half marathon in New York’s Central Park. (Photo by Phil Roeder/flickr)

Quite often, readers here want to know what the fastest half marathons and the slowest half marathons are, usually to figure out the best course if they’re looking to set a new PR or to find out if a race is walker-friendly.

There’s tons of ways to slice and dice the data — how flat or hilly each race’s course is, what the overall elevation change is over 13.1 miles, what’s the weather and climate like — but those can be subjective differences, and may be more or less challenging for you depending on how you’ve trained and how you’re used to running.

Finishing times provide at least one measure you can compare across the board, so I checked the latest statistics kept by RunningUSA (from 2013) to figure out the races with the fastest and slowest overall finishing times:

Fastest Median* Times, Races With 2,000 Finishers or More

Slowest Median Times, Races With 2,000 Finishers or More

* Bear in mind that these are median times — so half the runners finished with faster times in each race, and the other half finished with slower times.

See more on running trends and statistics at RunningUSA.

2 comments… add one
  • Tom August 3, 2020, 5:27 pm

    A caveat on those fastest half marathons is that those NYC area halfs have qualifying times. Example NYC half is 1:25:00 for men 40-44. (2020) This should be taken into consideration because of the popularity and location this doesn’t imply the course is fast just too many entrants so you end up with much faster, more elite runners for average times vs one with a low barrier to entry.

  • Tim August 6, 2014, 5:32 pm

    Disney races are going to be slow as people stop to take pictures with everyone, but the terrain on both coasts are pretty flat. You only have the heat and humidity to contend with really.

    If you take out the Disney races, what are the slowest ones?

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