The Votes Are In: The 2024 Best Half Marathons in Every US State

Three hundred and sixty five days a year, we study half marathons. While we wish we could run every single half marathon, it’s simply impossible to run the every half marathon in the United States. That’s why we launched this vote – The Best Half Marathons in the United States – to get feedback from millions of runners on the favorite races they’ve ever run.

A Disclaimer: What does the “best” half marathon really mean in this list? It means that the most runners rated it their favorite half marathon in that state.

It doesn’t mean you won’t love the others, but it means you should probably pay particular attention to the half marathons these runners voted for.

If you’re here, you might also like reading the best half marathons for beginners, the best destination half marathons, running retreats, and our favorite half marathons in the spring and fall.

Now, without further delay, your picks.

The Best Half Marathons in the US from


The Big Beach Marathon logo

Big Beach Half Marathon in Gulf Shores | January 25, 2025

An excellent choice for a winter race-cation, the Big Beach Half Marathon is all the things we hope for in a race – well-organized, scenic, and most importantly, fun! Kicking off at a lively beachfront restaurant, the Hangout, this race begins with high energy before taking runners on a beautiful run alongside Gulf Shores’ beautiful marshes and beaches. Not only is this loop course incredibly scenic but it’s also mostly flat! After crossing the finish line at the Hangout, runners head to the race’s Big Beach Party Palooza to enjoy a best-in-class finisher party. You can head here to read our full review.

Runner Up: Rocket City Half Marathon in Huntsville, AL


Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon in Anchorage | June 22, 2024

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon is Alaska’s most beloved racing tradition. This half marathon takes place during Alaska’s summer solstice when there are nearly 22 hours of daylight, which is why this race previously began in the evening. The event times have recently changed to traditional morning starts, but this race still impressively captures the spirit of Alaska. Cruising along the breathtaking Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, runners experience some of Anchorage’s most captivating wildlife, with the possibility of moose and bear sightings around every corner. Although there are rolling hills throughout the course, some runners hardly notice them because they’re too distracted by their gorgeous surroundings. Read more.

Runner Up: Anchorage RunFest Half Marathon in Anchorage, AK


RunSedona Half Marathon in Sedona | February 1, 2025

Set against the stunning backdrop of Sedona’s red rock formations, the RunSedona Half Marathon is a bucket-list race that’s known for its unreal scenery. Going on its 20th year, this race is well-loved by the whole community, drawing tons of friendly volunteers and spectators. Running through mesmerizing desert landscapes, racers are consistently challenged by intense hills and Sedona’s high elevation. However, the race’s supportive atmosphere is the perfect motivation to keep runners going during this demanding course. All in all, experiencing Sedona’s natural beauty while conquering this challenging course is a spiritual experience for many runners.  Read more.

Runner Up: Mesa Half Marathon in Mesa, AZ


Little Rock Half Marathon in Little Rock | March 3rd, 2024

Attracting over 10,000 runners and 20,000 spectators, the Little Rock Half Marathon is one of Arkansas’s most popular road racing events. With entertainment and strong crowd support all throughout the course, this race truly feels like a party. Runners can truly feel the love from the friendly volunteers and the welcoming local running community as they take on this out-and-back urban race. Although the race’s course isn’t known for being especially beautiful, its medals are. The Little Rock Half Marathon’s finisher medals are truly extravagant, and they just keep getting bigger and bigger each year! Read more.

Runner Up: Run Bentonville Half Marathon in Bentonville, AR


Carlsbad Half Marathon in Carlsbad | January 19, 2025

The Carlsbad Half Marathon is not just a race – it’s a scenic journey along one of California’s most beautiful stretches of coastline. After the starter’s gun fires and runners pass by Buena Vista Lagoon, they head to a seaside road to enjoy unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean from miles 2 to 11. With lovely scenery mile after mile and a cooling sea breeze, the race’s gentle course helps many runners hit new PRs. Furthermore, the Carlsbad Half Marathon is also popular for its Double Down Challenge, a challenge that involves completing the race’s 5K and half marathon on the same day. With phenomenal organization, friendly course support, and noteworthy swag, the Carlsbad Half Marathon is one of the best winter destination races in the country. Read more.

Tied: Monterey Bay Half Marathon in Monterey, CA and OC Half Marathon in Costa Mesa, CA


Denver Colfax Half Marathon in Denver | May 19, 2024

Each year, over 21,000 runners flock to the Mile-High City from all over the world for Denver’s largest running weekend, which features eight races in two days. During the half marathon, runners embark on an epic tour of Denver that showcases some of its most iconic locations, including the Denver Zoo, City Park, the Colorado State Capitol, and Colfax Avenue. While the entire course is iconic, the zoo mile is definitely the most raved-about aspect of this race. This year, as runners weave their way through the Denver Zoo, they’ll be the first to experience the new Down Under exhibit! Between the course entertainment, encouraging spectator support, and the unique course, we can see why this high-energy event is such a hit! Read more.

Runner Up: Boulderthon Half Marathon in Boulder, CO


Eversource Hartford Half Marathon in Hartford | October 19, 2024

Thanks to its well-organized race production, impressive swag, and pretty course, the Hartford Half Marathon is one of those races that runners excitedly return to year after year. During its ever-changing course that starts at the Connecticut State Capitol building and ends at Hartford’s iconic Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, runners get to experience a true taste of Hartford while running along mostly flat roads. Racing alongside the Connecticut River and through West Hartford and Elizabeth Park, runners can feel Hartford’s warm community spirit from the amazing crowd support. For all of these reasons and more, the Hartford Half Marathon has gained a spot on our list. Read more.

Runner Up: Mystic Half Marathon in Mystic, CT


Coastal Delaware Running Festival in Rehoboth Beach | April 14, 2024

Said to have the best half marathon course in Delaware, the Coastal Delaware Running Festival is a bucket list race that’s known for its scenic views and unbeatable race atmosphere. During the race’s fast and flat course, runners wind through beautiful residential streets and the serene Cape Henlopen State Park before making their way back toward the Atlantic Ocean. As this event begins and ends on the lively Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, runners become energized by the crowd’s high energy as they start and finish the race. The excitement continues as runners head to the nearby post-race celebration that features a delicious spread of pizza, pasta, salad, and free beer. If you’re looking for your next destination race, you need to add the Coastal Delaware Running Festival to your list! Read more.

Runner Up: Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon in Rehoboth, DE


Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa | February 25, 2024

The Gasparilla Distance Classic pulled off the impressive feat of beating Walt Disney in our polls to be Florida’s entrant onto the list. For those of you who don’t know, José Gaspar, nicknamed Gasparilla, is a fictional pirate who tormented the Gulf of Mexico. Tampa opted to name races after him, hosting a pirate-themed running celebration each year. Half marathon runners can enjoy a flat course, a scenic tour of Tampa and waterfront views. I’m not sure I would recommend running this race with a costume eyepatch, however, as it could do a number on your depth perception. Read more.

Runner Up: Walt Disney World Half Marathon in Orlando, FL


Area 13.1 Half Marathon in Roswell | August 17, 2024

While the mysterious Area 51, the site of supposed extraterrestrial encounters is located near Roswell, New Mexico, the city of Roswell, Georgia also decided to get in on the intergalactic fun with their alien-themed half marathon. The outer space theming is worked into the medals, the t-shirts, and the decoration but participants are also encouraged to don some alien-themed gear. If you’re a lover of Star Wars, Star Trek or E.T. this is the race for you. Perhaps in some galaxy far, far away, other life forms will watch you cross the finish line with a high powered telescope. Makes you think. Read more.

Runner Up: Publix Atlanta Half Marathon in Atlanta, GA


Kaua’i Half Marathon in Poipu | September 1, 2024

The fourth largest of the Hawaiian isles, Kaua’i is nicknamed the “Garden Isle” for its lush greenery. Taking a trip to such a beautiful paradise obviously doesn’t rely on too much convincing, but this half marathon is much more than just a run by the beach (although it does include some oceanfront miles in the course). In addition to the Napali Coast, runners will also get to see the island’s iconic Waimea Canyon and Wailua river as they make their way to the finish line. The race also is launched with the blowing of a conch shell and features hula dancers performing along the way. Read more.

Runner Up: Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon in Maui, HI


Coeur d’Alene Half Marathon in Coeur d’Alene | May 26, 2024

While Coeur d’Alene is a city in northern Idaho, those unfamiliar with the area may not know its actually a satellite city of Spokane, Washington. The city, nestled on Lake Coeur d’Alene and west of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains (creative naming going on) may be smaller than many cities on this list, but what it lacks in population it makes up for in natural beauty. The waterfront course provides runners with spectacular views and a course of rolling hills gives runners a sense of accomplishment without too much pain. Plus its Memorial Day Weekend timeslot means you don’t have to rush to work the next day. Read more.

Runner Up: Race to Robie Creek in Boise, ID


Bank of America 13.1 in Chicago | June 9, 2024

Reimagine the run at the Bank of America Chicago 13.1! Returning for its third year, this one-of-a-kind race takes participants on a tour of three of the historic parks of Chicago’s West Side on the boulevards that link the parks together. From professional athletes to first-time half marathoners, the Chicago 13.1 gives everyone the opportunity to get out of the Loop and experience a half marathon unlike any other in the city. Runners start and finish in Garfield Park and enjoy a scenic course that passes through Humboldt and Douglass Parks. After the race, stick around for a festival featuring a mix of fitness and lifestyle activations. Don’t miss your chance to be part of the field in Chicago’s only West Side half marathon. Read more.

Runner Up: Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois


OneAmerica 500 Festival miniMarathon in Indianapolis | May 4, 2024

Cars racing in the Indianapolis 500 have hit speeds over 200 miles per hour. While you certainly won’t be running that fast (unless you’ve been taking some SERIOUS performance enhancing drugs), you can still do a lap on the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indy 500’s half marathon, ran every year in the lead up to the Indy 500, not only gives runners a tour of the state capital, but also lets runners jog a lap on the race track itself. While there are aid stations on the course, hopefully you won’t need a pit stop on your journey to the checkered flag. Read more.

Runner Up: Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon in Indianapolis, IN


Des Moines Half Marathon in Des Moines | October 20, 2024

If Iowa is known for one thing it’s being flat and its half marathon certainly lives up to that expectation. The Des Moines half provides a nice and easy course for both beginners and those looking for a new PR. The loop course starts and ends with the full marathoners near the Iowa State Capitol so you’ll get some great views and get to feel the excitement of running with a big crowd during the parts of the race where that matters most. Read more.

Runner Up: Drake Road Races in Des Moines, IA


Prairie Fire Half Marathon in Wichita | May 5, 2024 & October 13, 2024

Generally speaking there are two seasons for half marathons: the spring and the fall. Most races run in either one or the other so sometimes scheduling can be a bit tricky if the race you want to enter doesn’t quite fit into your schedule. Wichita’s Prairie Fire Half eliminates this probably by hosting races in both the spring AND the fall. Want to train in the winter? Great! Rather train in the summer? No problem! And since it’s Wichita, both options are flat and fast so you can get that PR no matter when you run. Read more.

Runner Up: Running with the Cows Half Marathon in Bucyrus, KS


Kentucky Derby Festival Mini-Marathon in Louisville | April 27, 2024

Yes, when most people think of the Kentucky Derby they think of horses racing rather than people (and with good reason), but us two-legged racers also get an opportunity to shine during Louisville’s Kentucky Derby Festival. The city-wide event, which leads up to the historic horse race, boasts plenty of exciting opportunities including plenty of mint juleps and this half marathon. Racers will run past the famed Churchill Downs in the course that showcases the city. The human course is MUCH longer than that run by the horses, but you also don’t have to carry a jockey on your back, so there are some added benefits to the mini marathon. More Info.

Runner Up: Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon in Lexington, KY


Louisiana Half Marathon in Baton Rouge | January 14, 2024

Baton Rouge’s half is a ton of fun. What other race sends you past a live tiger and offers finishers gumbo and jambalaya? None that I’m aware of. The half, which stars and finishes near the Louisiana State Capitol showcases everything the city has to offer from views of the Mississippi River to a tour of the LSU campus. Plus the afterparty boasts local musicians, plenty of beer, and, did I mention, gumbo? As they say in Creole, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” Read more.

Runner Up: North Shore Half Marathon in Mandeville, LA


Acadia Half Marathon in Bar Harbor | June 2, 2024

Acadia National Park is frequently touted as one of the most beautiful National Parks in America, and it’s one of the few you can run through in a half marathon. The course, which starts and finishes in the picturesque Bar Harbor allows runners to trace the Atlantic Coast on the scenic Mount Desert Island. You’ll get ocean views, forest runs, and the opportunity to run past the famed Thunder Hole. If I were you, I’d also swing by Mount Desert Island Ice Cream for a post-half treat. Read more.

Runner Up: Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon in Portland, ME


 Baltimore Running Festival in Baltimore | October 19, 2024

Don’t be crabby. Sign up for the Baltimore half marathon (where you just might earn a crab-shaped medal if you’re lucky. The race, which starts and ends near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is an excellent tour of the historic city, pushing runners past Camden Yards and Federal Hill. This isn’t, however, a particularly easy race. The course boasts several hills including one especially large one near Patterson Park. Make sure you do some hill training or you’ll be extra crabby on race day. Read more.

Runner Up: St. Michaels Running Festival in St. Michaels, MD


B.A.A. Half Marathon in Boston | November 9, 2024

The Boston Marathon may be the most prestigious and iconic race in the world, but it has a couple of downsides. 1) It’s incredibly hard to get into and 2) most of the course isn’t actually run in Boston. The Boston Athletic Association’s half marathon rectifies both of these issues. It’s not only easy to sign up for, but it also steers runners on an out-and-back course that includes a turnaround near Fenway Park. If you run the half two years in a row does that count as running a Boston Marathon? Read more.

Runner Up: Baystate Half Marathon in Lowell, MA


Bayshore Half Marathon in Traverse City | May 25, 2024

Situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, there are few places lovelier, especially in summer, than Traverse City. The vacation destination in the northern section of Michigan’s lower peninsula is primarily known for its cherries and Bayshore Half runners will certainly get a sampling of them. The race steering runners through cherry orchards along with vineyards and by the waterfront. That gives runners plenty of opportunities to try both the cherries themselves and numerous cherry-flavored foods and beverages as you get ready for and celebrate completing the race. Read more.

Runner Up: Detroit Free Press Half Marathon in Detroit, MI


Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth | June 22, 2024

Non-marathoners may never have heard of Grandma’s Marathon, but it’s a very popular race held every year in the northern recesses of Minnesota and has become a likely stop for those trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon given its flat course. Grandma’s was created by Garry Bjorklund, a former Olympic marathoner, and his namesake half marathon gives runners who aren’t ready for Grandma’s something to run on race weekend. It has a similarly flat course among the scenic lakes of Minnesota, so if you are tagging along with some running friends or just want to visit the great outdoors, this is an ideal option. Read more.

Runner Up: City of Lakes Half Marathon in Minneapolis, MN


Hattiesburg Half Marathon in Hattiesburg | April 6, 2024

While Hattiesburg isn’t the largest city in Mississippi (that would be Jackson), its developed into quite a charming and bustling town in recent years thanks to the University of Southern Mississippi and the National Guard training base Camp Shelby. The half marathon, which is relatively flat, shows runners both the quaint downtown and the surrounding countryside. It’s a well-organized small town marathon and centrally located for inhabitants of Mississippi and the surrounding states. 

More Info

Runner Up: Mississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon in Biloxi, MS


MO’ Cowbell Half Marathon in St. Charles | October 6, 2024

In 2000, when Christopher Walken hosted Saturday Night Live, he appeared in a sketch as a music producer who kept demanding “more cowbell” be added to the track. The iconic quote has since become a part of this Missouri cow-themed half named “MO’ Cowbell” after both the SNL reference and the state’s postal abbreviation. The bovine-obsessed half not only gives out cowbell-themed medals and boasts fans ringing away on cowbells, but also encourages runners to dress up as cows. It seems only right then that you celebrate with some chocolate milk after crossing the finish line. 

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Runner Up: GO! St. Louis Half Marathon in St. Louis, MO


Missoula Half Marathon in Missoula | June 30, 2024

While you may think the prize of Best Marathon in the US would always go to major races like NYC and Chicago, this tiny Montana race has been named the best race in the US on multiple occasions by the likes of Runner’s World and BibRave. Not only is the small-town race impeccably organized and extremely flat, but it also boasts some stunning natural landscapes for runners to take in while they steer through the 13.1 miles. If you love the great outdoors, Missoula is also surrounded by incredible parks and preserves so you can spent plenty of time post-race recuperating in nature. Read more.

Runner Up: Yellowstone Half Marathon in West Yellowstone, WY


Good Life Halfsy in Lincoln | October 27, 2024

The term “half marathon” has always seemed a little dull, but the Nebraskans who decided to showcase Lincoln’s magnificent fall opted to ditch the term in favor of “halfsy.” The 13.1-mile long race winds its way through the state’s capital and includes jaunts through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus as well as past the Capitol building. The “good life” theme is lived out through the race’s uplifting spirit which focuses on promoting the positive aspects of Lincoln, fitness, and running. Read more.

Runner Up: Lincoln Half Marathon in Lincoln, NE


Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas in Las Vegas | February 25, 2024

While most half marathons start early in the morning to get runners off the course before the heat of the day, that wouldn’t be much fun in Las Vegas. After all, the thing the city is most famous for is its dazzling strip ablaze in the evenings. To showcase its best feature, the Las Vegas half begins in the evening as the sun is setting so that runners can finish their 13.1 in the glow of thousands of lights. Celebrate afterwards with one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll’s race concerts or by heading off to one of Vegas’ many bars for a drink. Read more.

Runner Up: REVEL Mt. Charleston in Mt. Charleston, NV

New Hampshire

Clarence DeMar Half Marathon in Keene | September 29, 2024

If you’d like to roll up a fall foliage excursion with a little runcation, this race in southwestern New Hampshire might be your best bet. The race, run in late September every year, gives visitors a great opportunity to drive through the New England countryside to view the red, orange and yellow leaves (not to mention sip on some fresh cider). The race, run on country roads, lets runners tromp on some of those crinkly dead leaves as well. Also, if you’re wondering who Clarence DeMar is, he happens to be a seven time winner of the Boston Marathon who was nicknamed “Mr. Marathon.” So perhaps by running this race, some of his prowess will rub off on you. Read more.

Runner Up: Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon in Hampton, NH

New Jersey

OCNJ Half Marathon in Ocean City | September 22, 2024

For those unaware, OCNJ is a common acronym for “Ocean City, New Jersey” one of the main summer resort towns along Jersey’s Atlantic Coast. In September, after peak season has ended, the city throws a half marathon which showcases the sandy beaches and gorgeous coastlines that make OCNJ such a popular spot for vacationers. With a flat course that includes stints on the famed boardwalk, the race is great for beginners or those looking for a PR. Read more.

Runner Up: Princeton Half Marathon in Princeton, NJ

New Mexico

 Duke City Half Marathon in Albuquerque | October 20, 2024

If you didn’t know, Albuquerque, New Mexico was named after Spanish duke and has since earned the nickname “Duke City.” The hilly course showcases New Mexico’s largest city along with the natural splendor that surrounds it. Take in the Sandia Mountains, run alongside the Rio Grande and wind your way through the University of New Mexico campus. The city is extremely diverse and that is highlighted in the acts that perform along the course and at the post-race celebrations along with the makeup of the field. Read more.

Runner Up: Santa Fe International Half Marathon in Santa Fe, NM

New York

United Airlines NYC Half in New York City | March 17, 2024

While the New York Road Runner’s sister race, the Brooklyn Half, is technically the largest half marathon in the US, I’m here to tell you that the NYC Half is actually the MUCH better of the two. Starting in Prospect Park, the half is a non-stop tour of the Big Apple’s most magnificent sites. After running through downtown Brooklyn, you’ll cross the Manhattan Bridge with views of both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. Then you’ll run through Chinatown, passed Grand Central Station, and right through the middle of Times Square before finishing in Central Park. Celebrate with a bagel and snap a picture in front of the park’s instantly recognizable Bethesda Fountain. Read more.

Runner Up: NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon in Brooklyn, NY

North Carolina

Asheville Half Marathon in Asheville | March 16, 2024

If you’ve ever been to Asheville, North Carolina, you know that it’s most well known for its gorgeous views of the Appalachian Mountains. The course begins in the heart of downtown Asheville at Pack Square Park and the course winds city streets, the historic Montford neighborhood, the River Arts District and the French Broad River. The half marathon starts off hilly but after mile eight, finishes fast. This marathon is truly a tentpole event in one of North Carolina’s fastest growing cities. Read more.

Runner Up: Novant Health Charlotte Half Marathon in Charlotte, NC

North Dakota 

Fargo Half Marathon in Fargo | June 1, 2024

One of the beauties of running half marathons is traveling to interesting cities you might not otherwise visit. While Fargo, North Dakota may not be at the top of your bucket list, the “Gateway to the West” is a charming city that may surprise visitors. With its quaint downtown, riverfront parks, and easy access to the great outdoors, you’ll quickly fall in love. The half course is relatively flat and you can snap a quick pick after the race with the famous Fargo Theatre marquee. And don’t worry, it rarely snows in North Dakota in June. Read more.

Runner Up: BurliMot Half Marathon in Minot, ND


Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati | May 5, 2024

Why is Cincinnati’s half marathon called the “Flying Pig Half”? Well, back in the day, Cincinnati was known as a massive pork-producing capital and the flying pig has since become a city mascot standing for perseverance and ingenuity. The course crosses the Ohio River, which makes this half one of a limited few that sends runners into two different states when it passes into Kentucky briefly. There are some challenging elevation changes here, but if you can make it to the finish, you can celebrate with some of the country’s best brisket or pulled pork. Read more.

Runner Up: Cleveland Half Marathon in Cleveland, OH


Williams Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa | November 24, 2024

As the song says, “Get your kicks on Route 66.” And “kicks” in this case refer both to having run and your running shoes. Tulsa’s marquee half marathon is named after the historic Route 66 highway that was once a thoroughfare across America. While it has since been made a bit obsolete by newer interstates, the iconic highway still runs through Tulsa and draws massive crowds of runners each year who want to run a small section of the highway that extends from Chicago to Santa Monica. Read more.

Runner Up: Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon in Oklahoma City, OK


Bridge of the Gods Half Marathon in Cascade Locks | August 4, 2024

If you’re looking for a race with some breathtaking views, might I suggest Oregon’s half marathon along the Columbia River Gorge. The race starts with sending runners over the Bridge of the Gods, providing stunning 360 views of the river, gorge, and mountains. Then runners proceed down an out-and-back path along the river. While the course is a challenging one full of hills, you’ll have plenty to look at while you’re running. Also finishers can enjoy a full catered lunch post-race, rather than just eating the bananas and mini pretzels some races dole out. 

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Runner Up: Eugene Half Marathon in Eugene, OR


Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon in Philadelphia | November 23, 2024

Cue the Rocky music, because it’s time to run through the streets of Philly (even if you aren’t followed by adoring fans and wearing a gray sweat suit). Over 15,000 athletes begin their journey along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the Museum District, one of Philadelphia’s most scenic neighborhoods. The race is a celebration of Pennsylvania’s root in American history with a finish at the renown Philadelphia Museum of Art. Read more.

Runner Up: Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon in Bird-in-Hand, PA

Rhode Island

Newport Half Marathon in Newport | October 13, 2024

While there are plenty of gorgeous marathons on this list, few offer the variety of eye-candy that Newport’s half marathon does. The race starts and ends along the beachy coast of the Atlantic Ocean, but the loop course also boasts views of the Newport Bridge, the Cliff Walk, and many of the beautiful mansions that the city is known for. With plenty of hills and occasional strong winds along the coast, it’s not the easiest course to run, but what you’ll lack in speed, you’ll make up in scenery. Read more.

Runner Up: Providence Half Marathon in Providence, RI

South Carolina 

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach | March 2, 2024

First time runners will find the Myrtle Beach Half a great starting point for their road racing journey. Run predominantly along the course of South Carolina’s popular vacation destination, the half is VERY flat. The loop course is also mostly comprised of two long straight aways, so you won’t have to worry about the twists and turns that some course put runners through. Not to mention you’ll get views of the Atlantic Ocean, the iconic SkyWheel and many of the rides, shops, and restaurants the city is known for. Celebrate your finish with some cotton candy or a funnel cake. Read more.

Runner Up: Kiawah Island Half Marathon in Kiawah, SC

South Dakota

Deadwood Mickelson Trail Half Marathon in Deadwood | June 2, 2024

Few trail races have made it onto this list given that they’re usually much smaller and less frequented than big city road races, but this race through the Black Hills of South Dakota is not one you’ll easily forget. The course follows an old rail track that’s been converted into a crushed limestone path. As the Black Hills name suggests, the race is not an easy one, with plenty of hills along the way, but runners also get to experience the tunnels, bridges and bends that were originally used by the trains. All aboard! Read more.

Runner Up: Mount Rushmore Half Marathon in Keystone, SC


St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville in Nashville | April 28, 2024

While many races allow runners to fundraise for charities, few half marathons of this size are run specifically for the benefit of philanthropy. Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Nashville Marathon Series benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading pediatric center created to help children with catastrophic diseases. While the race itself is a fun showcase of downton Nashville, featuring the Country Music Hall of Fame, Broadway and the Tennessee State Capitol Building, it’s knowing that your run is saving lives that makes this half marathon so special. Read more.

Runner Up: Oak Barrel Half Marathon in Lynchburg, TN


Aramco Houston Half Marathon in Houston | January 19, 2024

Everything is bigger in Texas and that includes their half marathons. The Aramco Houston Half Marathon (which is the counterpart of the Chevron Houston Marathon) is one of the biggest in the country with over 13,000 finishers in 2023. The flat loop course makes it perfect for first timers who want an easy race both physically (zero hills) and logistically (parking at the start means parking at the finish). Just be careful of the turnoff point for the half marathon at Mile 7. If you go the wrong way, you may find yourself running a full marathon instead. Read more.

Runner Up: 3M Half Marathon in Austin, TX


Salt Lake City Half Marathon in Salt Lake City | April 20, 2024

While you’ll probably never become an Olympic runner, you can now at least run a half marathon where former Olympians once walked. Salt Lake City’s premiere half begins at the Olympic Legacy Bridge at the University of Utah, which one served as the Olympic Village for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Runners will then make their way towards downtown SLC in a mostly downhill spring race. Ice cream and a medal (possibly gold) awaits you at the finish. Read more.

Runner Up: Ogden Half Marathon in Ogden, UT


Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Woodstock | June 2, 2024

New England is known for the scenic covered bridges that criss-cross the hilly countryside. While you’ll be running in June and the bridges are built mostly to protect cars from the intense winter snows, you can still enjoy them during this half. The point-to-point course sends runners through Vermont countryside and, of course, under one of their famed bridges. While the course may be a bit remote, the views are well worth the drive. Read more.

Runner Up: Mad Half Marathon in Waitsfield, VT


Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Half Marathon in Roanoke | April 20, 2024

The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon and Half Marathon carry the title of America’s most difficult road race. Read – this race is not for the faint of heart. It boasts 1,897 feet of elevation gain and the website warns runners about the “brutal but beautiful” climb up Mill Mountain. The race offers plenty of downhills to accompany the steep inclines, but you’ll definitely want to incorporate hill workouts if you’re signing up for this one. Read more.

Runner Up: Allianz Partners Richmond Half Marathon in Richmond, VA


Iron Horse Half Marathon in North Bend | August 25, 2024

While cities like Seattle and Spokane offer city half marathons, this trail race provides plenty of things that a city half cannot. Run on two separate trails that once carried railroads, the point-to-point race takes runners on a scenic tour of Washington greenery. Unlike many larger races, Iron Horse has also gone “cupless” to help the environment, meaning that runners will need to bring their own bottles/cups to prevent the waste created at traditional aid stations. If you’re looking for a sustainable race that supports the planet, this one’s for you. Read more.

Runner Up: Orca Half Marathon in Seattle, WA

Washington D.C. 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC in Washington, D.C. | March 16, 2024

While the Rock ‘n’ Roll race series offers several high profile races, none boast a course as stacked in landmarks as the Washington DC race. Beginning and ending on the National Mall, the half marathon takes runners past the White House, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial on its loop around the nation’s capital. Runners cross the scenic Arlington Memorial Bridge twice and end near the steps of the Capitol Building. Plus the springtime race might provide runners with some gorgeous cherry blossom views. Read more.

Runner Up: DC Half in Washington, D.C.

West Virginia

New River Gorge Trail Festival in Fayetteville  | April 1, 2024

In 2020, the National Parks Service granted prestigious National Park status to the New River Gorge, making it the latest of sanctioned natural landmarks around the US. While most National Parks don’t allow races, the New River Gorge Trail Festival gives runners the opportunity to traverse the park itself on a network of dirt and gravel trails. While the festival also boasts a 50K race, runners who sign up for the half will get to experience plenty of gorgeous views and run under the longest single-span arch bridge in the western hemisphere (so you can cross that off your bucket list). Read more.

Runner Up: Marshall University Half Marathon in Huntington, WV


Madison Mini Marathon in Madison | August 10, 2024

Mid-sized city races are often the best kind of half marathons (or mini marathons if you want some cuter branding). They’re small enough to have plenty of charm but big enough to provide the infrastructure needed to keep things running smoothly. Madison’s summer half takes runners on a tour of the sights of the state capital before ending on the banks of Lake Mendota. Of course you can’t run a race in Wisconsin without beer, and you’ll get a free one at the end of this race. Read more.

Runner Up: Milwaukee Lakefront Half Marathon in Milwaukee, WI


Grand Teton Half Marathon in Jackson | June 1, 2024

Last but certainly not least is Wyoming’s half dedicated to the splendor of Grand Teton National Park. If you’re a nature lover, this is a must-run bucket list item that gives runners views of the largely untouched Wyoming landscape. A tad remote, the race provides runners with an excuse to visit one of the most beautiful and sparsely populated states in the union and stop by some of the most lauded National parks in the country. Read more.

Runner Up: Bear Lake Half Marathon in Cokeville, WY

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6 comments… add one
  • Gwen Potash March 22, 2024, 9:02 am

    Is there a PDF version of this list?

  • Robert March 13, 2024, 9:29 pm

    Awesome inspirational and aspirational reading about these runs! I’ve done a good number of them in my quest for 50 states and I’ll definitely refer to it for the remainder. Thanks!

  • Kara Noone March 13, 2024, 9:54 am

    This is a great article. Thank you.

  • Timothy Boggess December 28, 2023, 2:27 pm

    I would suggest for WV the best half marathon has to be the Ogden Newspapers half in Wheeling, WV. An absolutely grueling course with 4 hills that will test even the best runner. This race used to be the US Men’s 20K qualifier for the Olympics. It’s a terrific run that would beat any “out and back” race like they have in Shepherd’s Town. Marshall is still second.

  • john craven October 13, 2023, 9:45 pm

    great stuff

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