The 13 Must-Run Best Half Marathons of 2024

Forget “New Year. New You.” How about “New Year. New Marathon”? It’s 2024 and that means you’ve got twelve fresh months laid out in front of you to fill with whatever your heart desires. Go on a vacation. Find a new job. Buy that new couch for your living room that you’ve been eyeing. And on the running side of things, a whole new year means new training locations to try out, new PRs to set, new friends to run with and new races to enter. And while running the same race several years in a row has its own appeal, why not try out something new as well? The world is full of races and unless you’re racking up A LOT of frequent flier miles, you’ve probably got dozens of races still on your bucket list. This list is to reduce your time looking for the best half marathons 2024.

To aid you in selecting which marathons you’d like to try in 2024, I’ve put together a list of 10 marathons I think you should give a try this year. And no, I did not just pick ten popular marathons and put them on a list (although we’ve got lists of popular marathons, fast marathons, and great marathons for first timers if you’d like to check those out as well). This list is specifically geared to 2024, the travel trends of the year, the big events coming up in the next twelve months, and things that would make running these particular ten races special THIS YEAR. 

So get out your calendars, start checking dates and submit those PTO requests. Here are ten races you won’t want to miss in 2024. 

Orange County, home of the OC Marathon, our must-run half marathon of 2024.

OC Half Marathon

  • Location: Costa Mesa, California
  • Date: May 5, 2024
  • Registration

The OC Marathon is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2024 which puts it at the very top of our must-run list. In case you’ve missed it, the OC Marathon is California’s preeminent marathon and half marathon with a combined race group of over 10,000 runners. The course has a rare combination of coastal views, historic sights, and the landscapes of Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and Santa Ana. The OC Marathon is pulling out all the stops for this year’s race – you’d be out of your mind to miss it. We’re excited for this half marathon every year but this year we’re counting it at the top of our best half marathons 2024 list.

The skyline of Boulder, Colorado and green grass.


  • Location: Boulder, Colorado
  • Date: September 22, 2024
  • Registration

Boulderthon is the new kid on the block. In just its third year, the race has seen tremendous growth. In 2021, just over 1,000 half marathon finishers to nearly 3,000 finishers in 2023. The secret? Boulder is one of the best running destinations in the United States that just didn’t have its flagship event yet. It’s got mountains, small town charm, bodies of water, and race production that rivals the 20,000 person events. If you missed the last running – this is your year. We’ve got high expectations for this year’s race in expectation that it will exceed 5,000 runners – making it on our short list of best half marathons 2024.

The Blue Ridge Mountains in Roanoke, Virginia near the Smoky Mountains.

Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Half Marathon

Often referred to as “America’s Toughest Road Race,” this race has 3,790 feet of elevation gain and loss. This makes it one of the most physically demanding races in America – which, if you’re not challenging yourself this year, what are you doing? The course itself is along scenic Blue Ridge Parkway with views of the Appalachian Mountains. This springtime half is a can’t miss best half marathon of 2024.

The Rome skyline home of the Rome Marathon one of the must-run half marathons of 2024.

Rome Marathon

If you haven’t noticed from the endless stream of photos on your friends’ Instagram feeds, Italy is having a bit of a moment. Post COVID, the spot blew up as a travel destination (something that was only increased by White Lotus, Mission: Impossible and Fast X all shooting there.) Now you can plan your own Italian vacation, complete with stints to Venice, Sicily, and the Amalfi Coast, but build it around a marathon as well. Rome’s marathon is one of Europe’s finest, with a course that ends near the Colosseum and ventures by most of the city’s most well known sites along the way. Also, no better place to carb load in the world. Interest in Europe? We’re in love with these trips to Italy and Ireland.

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in 2024 the coastline.

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon

  • Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Date: March 2, 2024
  • Registration

One of the most distinguishing features of 2024 is that it is once again a leap year. February gets an extra day, leap babies finally get to celebrate their birthdays, and somehow through the power of math and science the calendar works. While there aren’t really marathons on leap day proper, Myrtle Beach’s race is on leap day weekend, so why not take leap day off of work and spend it on the Myrtle Beach boardwalk carb loading with funnel cakes. The course is notoriously flat and fast, there’s usually a nice breeze to cool runners down, and you can also celebrate with a funnel cake (because why not?) 

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend

  • Location: Virginia Beach, VA
  • Date: March 17, 2024
  • Registration

For some reason, there are certain half marathons that don’t get brought up nearly as much as they deserve. If I asked you what was the biggest running events in Virginia? You might say something like the Richmond Marathon or the Ukrop 10K…and you’d be dead wrong. As the 39th largest running event in the United States, the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend sees nearly 20,000 runners in Virginia Beach celebrate the whimsical combination of St. Patrick’s Day, beer, and running. A fast, flat course with an out-of-this world celebratory environment.

Helsinki City Half Marathon in Helsinki, Finland.

Helsinki City Half Marathon

One of 2023’s biggest pop culture moments was Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, and guess what? It’s not over yet. From May 17-19, Swift will be performing in Stockholm, Sweden on her summer European leg of the tour, so if you’re a marathon running Swiftie, you could time it perfectly for a little Scandinavian trip. First run Finland’s largest marathon, which happens to end in their Olympic stadium. Then, pop over for the concert in Stockholm. Finish up the trip with a jaunt through Oslo and you have yourself the perfect early summer running vacation.

Related: The Best Destination Races of 2024

ET Full Moon Half Marathon

In 2024, NASA is finally headed back to the moon, with the Artemis II mission set to orbit earth’s moon sometime this fall (should everything go according to plan). In honor of the US’s return to our beloved companion, why not head to Nevada (near Area 51 to be specific) for this UFO/outer space themed marathon? The ET Full Moon Marathon, is also one of the few major midnight marathons in the US, meaning that rather than an early morning start, runners will begin the race in the pitch black and run through the night. Perhaps you’ll see some aliens, but you’ll definitely see the moon. 

The Sydney Marathon and the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia.

Sydney Marathon

  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • Date: September 15, 2024
  • Registration

If you’re not a running nerd, this news may have slipped past you, but the Abbott World Marathon Majors are more than likely adding a seventh race to their roster. While three marathons are vying for that spot, only Sydney has passed the first round of the approval process. Should it pass round two in 2024, it will be added to the mix. It’s slightly unclear how this will impact the Abbott World Marathon Majors Six Star Finisher accolades, but needless to say, Sydney will be getting much more popular (and hard to get into) in years to come. If you want to run it and don’t care about the Six Star Finisher medal, now is your chance. 

Arches Half Marathon

2024 in cinema is going to be very desert heavy. We’ve got Dune: Part Two coming up in March and the Mad Max: Fury Road prequel Furiosa arriving this summer. Not to mention Mufasa, the Lion King prequel, next winter along with Gladiator 2 (which might not be set in the desert, but will be dusty. In celebration of all that dust and clay, why not head to Moab to run this trail marathon through the dry rocky terrain of Arches and Canyonland National Parks. The setting is stunning, and while you will certainly want to bring plenty of water, the challenge will be worth it. 

Lisbon Half Marathon in Lisbon, Portugal.

Lisbon Half Marathon

Like Rome, another of the top 2024 travel destinations is Portugal. Lisbon is THE it girl city of summer 2024, and if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you’re gonna want to head there now before it gets overrun with normies in the next few years. Lisbon’s coastal marathon treats runners to exquisite seascapes as it starts miles outside the city and slowly weaves its way to downtown on a point-to-point course. The weather in October should be stunning and you can celebrate after with seafood and Portugal’s famous pasteis de nata. 

Route 66 Half Marathon

  • Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Date: November 24, 2024
  • Registration

When you think up-and-coming cities, you probably think of places like Austin, Nashville, and Denver, but they are certainly well past their peak on the trend charts, now often overcrowded and overpriced. On the rise, however, is Tulsa, Oklahoma, a blossoming tech hub and arts center in the middle of the country, so much so that New York Magazine even wrote it up. This makes it the PERFECT locale for a long weekend marathon vacation. The Route 66 Marathon is a fun one in and of itself (you get to run on a portion of the iconic highway), but you can easily spend a few days on either side exploring this hidden gem. Plus the prices are low and the race combines the best parts of a big city and small town marathon. 

Philadelphia Half Marathon

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Date: November 24, 2024
  • Registration

Of all the cities in the world, Lonely Planet named Philadelphia one of the best places to travel in 2024. That’s high praise coming from one of the world’s most trusted travel advisors. While not a marathon major, Philly’s marathon is also one of the best in the country, taking runners past a slew of the city’s historic landmarks on its way to a Rocky-esque finish near the Museum of Art’s famous steps. The city has an endless array of things to do from touring historical sites like Independence Hall and testing out cheesesteaks to an incredible thrifting scene and biking along the river. If you’re looking to close out 2024 on a marathoning high, this is the race for you. 

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