The Best Charlotte Half Marathons

Nicknamed the Queen City after the wife of Britain’s King George III, Charlotte, North Carolina lives up to its name—which is to say, it rules. Popularly known as a mecca to auto racing fans—both the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Charlotte Motor Speedway have their home here. Charlotte also offers an abundance of outdoor recreation. From touring the greenways that wind through the city. To whitewater rafting on the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Charlotte provides amblers and thrill seekers alike plenty of opportunity to get moving and explore the outdoors. This makes Charlotte half marathons a particular half marathon category you can’t find anywhere else in the United States.

For half marathoners looking to conquer the city one mile at a time, we’ve compiled a list of the best half marathons to enjoy in and around Charlotte, North Carolina.

The skyline at sunset that some Charlotte half marathons run directly through.

Novant Health Charlotte Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K

Take your inspiration from the Charlotte area’s NASCAR influence as you start your engines to tackle this hilly road race. Which, expect the race to cruise into a fast finish. In keeping with this spirit, runners are waved from the starting line with a green stock car racing flag. Runners are also greeted at the end with a checkered flag. 

The point-to-point half marathon provides a tour of the city’s historic neighborhoods and notable highlights. The sights include Myers Park and Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

This is the most popular Charlotte half marathons. And, in our recommendation, the best for beginners as well due to it’s large crowds and flawless production value.

Saturday, November 4, 2023 | Charlotte, NC | Race info & signup

Charlotte RaceFest Half Marathon & 10K

The Charlotte RaceFest Half Marathon & 10K supports the Partners for Parks Foundation, which protects, maintains, and expands urban parks throughout Mecklenburg County. One of the Charlotte half marathons where you run for fitness, glory, and a good cause. Race participants will have ample opportunity to enjoy these areas. As well, as they traverse past green parklands along the course. 

The race’s half marathon features an out-and-back loop through neighborhoods near Charlotte’s Myers Park. Expect to encounter the rolling hills for which the area is famous. While you enjoy views of tree-lined roads and highways–a true road race, but with a relaxing, verdant vibe.

Runners are advised that there is a strict 3-hour cut off for the race. After which point course support will not be available—so train accordingly!

Saturday, April 6, 2024 | Charlotte, NC | Race info & signup

The dawn of the Charlotte skyline.

Craft Beer Half Marathon & 5M

Run local and drink local at this drinking event (with a running problem). The race features 11 local breweries at the post-race party.

The half marathon itself is a half-and-half: half the course is run on roads, and half features paved trails. Runners depart from the starting line at David Taylor Corporate Center but arrive on the Mallard Creek Greenway shortly before mile 3, which offers shade and scenery for the majority of the course. 

At mile 12, runners will exit the trail and wind their way up city roads back to the start/finish line. There, they’ll find a the post-race party awaits, with participants 21+ receiving a complimentary drink ticket and cup. This is one of the Charlotte half marathons that’s more about the experience than it is about the running. Don’t worry about a PR!

Saturday, March 30, 2024 | Charlotte, NC | Race info & signup

Corporate Cup Half Marathon & 5K

Chase your fitness goals through the streets of the Queen City! 

This half marathon is held as an annual benefit for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. The Truist Corporate Cup Half Marathon & 5K has been a tradition in the community for over 40 years. 

Half marathoners will follow a looped course that runs clockwise through the city. Starting at The Green on Tryon Street before proceeding south to Myers Park Country Club and winding their way back to the uptown start/finish line.

Want to tackle the event, but not quite up to the full 13.1 miles? The Corporate Cup also offers a 2-person half marathon relay option, so grab a buddy and start training!

Saturday, March 2, 2024 | Charlotte, NC | Race info & signup

New South Trail Marathon & Half Marathon

Charlotte’s Whitewater Center—a 1,300-acre facility dedicated to outdoor adventures including class II-IV whitewater rafting. But the city also boasts over 50 miles of trails.

The New South Trail Marathon & Half Marathon takes advantage of this sprawling acreage. As the Center plays host to this annual racing event.

Half marathoners will complete one lap of the course. Full marathoners will tackle two. They’ll follow winding rivers and creeks through Whitewater Center’s miles of  lush forests.

Saturday, April 6, 2024 | Charlotte, NC | Race info & signup

Viking Dash Charlotte Half Marathon 10K & 5K

Held exclusively on trails, the Viking Dash Half Marathon, 10K & 5K series is among the fastest growing trail race series in the nation.

The Charlotte installment of the half marathon series, held in George Poston Park in nearby Gastonia, comprises 4 loops of the 5K course, run across single track, logging roads, and a few paved surfaces. 

The Viking Dash series is notable for its Nordic-themed swag. Which includes a long-sleeved race shirt and two options for finishers’ medals. Runners choose from either Thor’s hammer or Ragnar’s Axe, at this event. Because of it’s proximity (only 22 miles away) we still consider the Viking Dash to be one of the Charlotte half marathons you should consider.

Saturday, February 24, 2024 | Gastonia, NC | Race info & signup

Tread Nightly/Tread Brightly Half Marathon & 4M

Run under the stars or run as day dawns during the Tread Nightly/Tread Brightly Half Marathon & 4M. The race offers back-to-back racing opportunities that span from Friday night to Saturday morning.

Whether you want to run on one or both days (and a 4-mile version of the event is available, if you want a bite-sized challenge), you’ll experience the challenging hills and trails around the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a 400-acre facility along the Catawba River that is home to the U.S. Olympic whitewater rowing team.

Runners have some flexibility when it comes to the exact timing of their events. Racers can begin their Friday run anytime after 6:00 PM, depending on if they want to run in the dusk or total darkness, and Saturday’s course opens anytime after 6:00 AM.

No matter which combination of races you choose, make sure you’re smart about it—headlamps are advised for the evening course, and runners planning on pursuing back-to-back half marathon options should carefully consider their fueling and rest plan between races.

Friday, September 22 & Saturday, September 23, 2023 | Charlotte, NC | Race info & signup

Lake Norman Turkey Trot Distance Dare, 10K & 5K

Celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and do some good in the Charlotte community at the Lake Norman Turkey Trot Distance Dare, 10K & 5K. 

Run to benefit the Human Health Project, which issues grants to local food shelters, participants are also asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate on race day. 

This paved road race starts and ends at Life Fellowship Church in Cornelius, which also offers ample on-site parking for participants and spectators alike.

Participants can choose between a 5K or 10K, or—if you’re feeling like really earning your stuffing—tackle them both as a 15K “distance dare.” However, note that the 5K starts an hour after the 10K, so be mindful of your speed—you’ll want to maintain better than a 10-minute mile to make it on time for the next race!

Cornelius is only 20 miles away, making it a great fit if you’re looking for a Charlotte half marathon with a smaller, more rural experience.

Thursday, November 23, 2023 | Cornelius, NC | Race info & signup

Huntersville Half Marathon, 10K & Holiday 5K

Held in the Charlotte metropolitan area roughly 12 miles outside of the city proper, the Huntersville Half Marathon, 10K & Holiday 5K will put you into the Christmas spirit (or at least in the mood for some holiday cookies!)  as you jingle all the way through this winding, hilly course. 

All races begin and end at Birkdale Village shopping center, with half marathoners then taking a clockwise loop south and then west past the Birkdale Golf Course and Cox House Museum before traipsing through residential areas. 

While the entire route features rolling hills, notable elevation change occurs between miles 1 and 2 and around mile 5—and be prepared to tackle these hills again during the final miles of your return route! 

One run not enough for you? The Holiday 5K takes place on the Friday night before the 10K and half marathon, allowing runners the option to participate in both days of events.

Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Huntersville, NC | Race info & signup

Run for Green Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Held in Davidson—a half-hour jaunt up I-77 from Charlotte—the Run for Green Half Marathon, 10K & 5K is a hallmark event of the town’s annual Green Day Festival, sponsored by the Davidson Lands Conservancy.

Before or after the race, festival attendees can enjoy live music and peruse exhibits featuring companies and organizations that have committed to environmental sustainability practices.

During the race, runners will experience the natural beauty (and rolling hills!) of the Piedmont region as they follow an out-and-back course from downtown Davidson’s Village Green. 

The half marathon course winds participants through Davidson’s residential areas, down paved nature trails like the West Branch Greenway, and alongside the well-groomed golf course fairways of the River Run Country Club.

Saturday, September 30, 2023 | Davidson, NC | Race info & signup

Springmaid Trail Race Half Marathon

Crisp leaves, an autumn morning, and well-maintained single track—all that’s missing from this total fall experience is a flannel sweater and a pumpkin spice latte. 

The Springmaid Trail Race Half Marathon is held in the Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, South Carolina—a half hour jaunt across the border south of Charlotte—and is run in support of the greenspace’s Mary Warner Mack Dog Park. 

During their run, half marathoners will complete a loop within the Greenway, tracing their way along North Steele Creek and circling past a number of notable bucolic features, including pond, barns, and pavilions. 

Want to race with your favorite four-legged friend? The 5K race includes a “dog jog” option for well-behaved pets, with prizes going to the top pups overall

Saturday, November 4, 2023 | Fort Mill, SC | Race info & signup

Charlotte Half Marathons Calendar

  1. Charlotte Marathon – Charlotte, NC | Nov 4, 2023 (10,000+ finishers)
  2. Charlotte RaceFest Half Marathon – Apr 6, 2024 (932 finishers)
  3. Craft Beer Half Marathon – Charlotte | March 30, 2024 (1,000 finishers)
  4. Corporate Cup – Charlotte | Mar 2, 2024 (648 finishers)
  5. New South Trail Marathon – Charlotte | Apr 6, 2024 (160 finishers)
  6. Viking Dash – Charlotte – Feb 24 (20 finishers)
  7. Tread Nightly/Tread Brightly | September 23, 2023 (300 finishers)
  8. Lake Norman Half Marathon Wildman – Mooresville, NC | March 25, 2024 (433 finishers)
  9. Huntersville Half Marathon – Huntersville NC | Dec 9, 2023 (n/a)
  10. Run for Green – Davidson, NC | Sep 30, 2023 (118 finishers)
  11. Springmaid Trail Race – Ft. Mill, SC | Nov 4, 2023 (188 finishers)

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