8 Half Marathons You Can Run Along the Riverside

© Dreamstime

© Dreamstime

“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.” — Laura Gilpin

Probably my favorite places to run are alongside water, whether it’s the Chattahoochee River Park where I live, or alongside a creek or canal when I’m traveling. There’s nothing like the stillness you can find when you’re out there by yourself, and I love the chance to run races that have that quality.

One day I hope to run the race shown in the photo above, the Semi-Maraton de Paris. Until then, we all have the amazing races listed below, some big and some small, that take us back to the river and into (a little bit) of the wild.

1) American River Parkway Half Marathon • Sacramento, CA

Run on paved and natural surface trails, this race is actually two races, with different courses for runners and walkers. Both share the same starting area, but proceed in opposite directions along the American River Parkway, a 30-mile-long park along the river.

Early May • More race info here »

2) Rock the River Palisades Half Marathon • Fort Lee, NJ

You’ll run the entire race along the Hudson River at this early May event, which unfolds through New Jersey’s Palisades Interstate Park just north of New York City. The park features 2,500 acres of wild, pristine forests and shoreline, with high cliff walls overlooking the river.

Early May • More race info here »

3) Potomac River Run Half Marathon • Washington, DC

Run in both the spring and the fall, the Potomac River Run is virtually flat for the entire out-and-back course, which unfolds along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath, a short drive from nearby D.C. Shaded, tree-lined and scenic, the race also features a forgiving 6-hour time limit.

Early May • More race info here »

4) New River Half Marathon • Todd, NC

The serene, peaceful beauty of western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains awaits at this race, which unfolds almost entirely along the winding New River, located about 100 miles from Asheville and within a short drive of resort towns like Boone and Blowing Rock.

Early May • More race info here »

5) Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon • Boise, ID

This point-to-point race, which starts at a park overlooking Boise’s Luck Peak Lake, unfolds along trails and roads that look out onto the Boise River for much of the race, and follows a gentle, very gradual downhill descent from start to finish.

Late May • More race info here »

6) UPMC Pittsburgh Half Marathon • Pittsburgh, PA

Stretches along each of the three rivers that meet in Pittsburgh — the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela — are a big reason why more than 10,000 runners come out each year for the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon, which also features five bridge crossings during the race.

Early May • More race info here »

7) Humboldt Redwoods Half Marathon • Weott, CA

The majestic redwood forests of California’s Humboldt Redwoods State Park serve as the backdrop for this race, which unfolds along the Avenue of the Giants highway for the entire out-and-back course. As you run, you’ll be shaded by giant Sequoia trees on one side and see the South Fork of the Eel River flowing by on the other.

Mid October • More race info here »

8) Cox Providence Rhode Races • Providence, RI

You’ll spend much of the first few (and last few) miles of the course along the Seekonk and Providence Rivers at the Cox Rhode Races, which also include plentiful stretches through downtown Providence and two bridge crossings — one on the way out, and the second on the way back.

Early May • More race info here »

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