8 Half Marathons for Fast Runners in 2018

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1) Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Though it won’t be hosting in 2018, this notoriously fast course has served as the home of the USATF Championships for many years.

Men and women alike have managed to obtain the “B” Olympic Trials standard on the half marathon course. With a huge prize purse and a history of fast times, runners can expect a deep field of competition.

Sunday, January 14, 2018 • Houston, TX

2) Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Held in conjunction with Grandma’s Marathon, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon has been attracting top runners for years. $25,000 in prize money is divvied out over just the half marathoners alone.

Meb Keflezighi holds the men’s course record at 1:01:22 and Minnesota native Kara Goucher has the best women’s time at 1:09:46.

Saturday, June 16, 2018 • Duluth, MN

3) CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon

Flat and fast, the Indy Monumental has been churning out PRs for years. Many Olympic Trial qualifiers for 2016 came from a fast time at this half marathon.

It seems this race only continues to attract faster and faster runners as both the men’s and women’s course records were set in 2016.

Saturday, November 3, 2018 • Indianapolis, IN

4) Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

A cool fall day in Philly has netted runners in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon fast times in the past. Two of the top 5 women’s Olympic Trials qualifying times came from the 2015 race.

Prize money attracts a strong elite field and their energy often sets the tone for those in the first corrals.

Sunday, September 16, 2018 • Philadelphia, PA

5) United Airlines NYC Half Marathon

The fastest finisher of the NYC Half Marathon will go home $20,000 richer. Surpassing the prize money of most full marathons, the purse of this half marathon guarantees a world class field at the 13.1 distance.

The American record (in an all-female field) for the half marathon was set in 2015 by Molly Huddle who completed the course in 1:08:31.

Sunday, March 18, 2018 • New York, NY

6) Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon

Fast runners looking for an early winter tune-up should make the trek to Arizona for sunshine and competition. The RNR Arizona Half Marathon boasts a competitive field and a great place for northern runners to test their fitness.

Though the course changed in 2012, this race once was home to the half marathon world record set by Haile Gebrselassie in 2006 in a time of 58:55.

Sunday, January 14, 2018 • Tempe, AZ

7) Markel Richmond Half Marathon

With a men’s course record of 1:02:59 and a women’s course record of 1:12:23, the Richmond Half Marathon is a great late fall race for fast runners. Touted as “America’s Friendliest Marathon”, runners of all abilities line the streets of Richmond, Va., for a day at the races.

However, six runners qualified for the Olympic Trials between the marathon and half marathon distances marking this race as a great place to PR.

Saturday, November 10, 2018 • Richmond, VA

8) Gasparilla Distance Classic

$40,000 in prize money is allotted for the half marathon distance at the Gasparilla Distance Classic. The 15K distance has been offered since 1978 and is the backbone of the event.

However, runners looking to score a fast time in the 13.1 distance flock to Florida in late winter. The fast course has just a couple of turns in the first two miles, but has long stretches of flat road at sea level.

Sunday, February 25, 2018 • Tampa, FL

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

2 comments… add one
  • Jack Werbler January 4, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Hi Carissa:

    Regarding your article on 2018 fast half marathons I have two comments. In 2016 Philadelphia changed the cours which now has some monster hills. It used to be a fast course, but I would not say it is currently a fast course. The NYC Half has a new course this year which starts in Brooklyn and ends in Central Park after taking on some of its challenging hills. So the jury is still out on that course. One you may want to add to the list is the Baltimore Half run in early December along the Inner Harbor. Flat, fast and nice views along the harbor. About 1,200 runners, just right. Keep the articles coming, I enjoy reading them.


    • Terrell Johnson January 7, 2018, 10:43 am

      Thanks, Jack! I’ll be sure to update our courses to reflect those changes, and perhaps amend the list too. Thanks always for your feedback, and keep in touch. Do you plan on running any of the races you mentioned?

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