About Half Marathons in the UK
Half Marathons are the among the most popular running events in the United Kingdom. A half marathon is a running race, usually taking place on roads (rather than trails), over a distance of 13.1 miles (21.1km). There are over 500 half marathons happening in the UK every year, including the largest half marathon in the world, the Great North Run which takes place in Newcastle in September and attracts more than 57,000 runners. If you're looking to make the jump to the full 26.2 miles, check out our list of UK marathons, or if you're after something shorter or want a training race, here is our calendar of 10k runs.
What are the best half marathons?
If it's big crowds and closed roads that you're after, take on one of the UK's big city halfs. Hackney Half, Reading Half, Bath Half, The Big Half, London Landmarks Half Marathon all take place in the spring, or if you prefer to wait and get your training in during the summer months The Great Birmingham Run, Royal Parks Half, Cardiff Half, and of course the legendary Great North Run are amongst the big autumn races. Many of these hugely popular races sell out fast or use a ballot entry, so make sure get your name down in time.
If you're after something more local, there are hundreds of smaller races all over the country organised by local running clubs and race directors. For those willing to pack up their running shoes and travel a bit further for the race of a lifetime, why not take a look at our pick of the World's Top 12 Half Marathons.
How far is a half marathon?
A half marathon is 13.1 miles or 21.1 km long, exactly half the length of a marathon. The men's world record for a half marathon is 58:18 minutes, and is held by Kenyan Abraham Kiptum and the women's record is 64:51 minutes, set by Joyciline Jepkosgei, also from Kenya. Both set at the Valencia Half Marathon in Spain. The average half marathon finish time across all runners over the last few years is about 1h54m for men, and 2h10m for women.
How long do I need to train for a half marathon?
Training for any long-distance event takes time, and you should make sure you build up your training gradually to avoid injury. If you're starting from a position where you are not running regularly, you might want 12 weeks of dedicated training in the run up to your half marathon. If you are already in the habit of running, and 8 week plan might be appropriate, and experienced runners may only require 6 weeks to get race ready. Check out our 8 week training plan.