About Half Marathons in the United States
There are over 2,800 half marathons happening in the US every year, and over 1.9 million competitors taking part. Half marathons (13.1 miles or 21.2 km) usually take place on roads, and the most famous are in the big cities like New York, Boston or Philadelphia. Trail half marathons are also gaining in popularity among those willing to go off-road and explore mountains, coastline or desert and farmland.
What are the best half marathons?
If you enjoy cheering crowds and closed roads, then the big city half marathons are the ones for you. The Gasparilla Distance Classic and New York Half Marathon are great city races that take place in the early spring. Some of the hotter states avoid placing the big events during the summer months, however racing resumes throughout the rest of the year. The Philadelphia Marathon and Half, Walt Disney World Half, and Surf City Marathon and Half are among the biggest and best events to attend. Make sure to be ready when the tickets are released as they'll sell out fast.
Continuing the trend of exploring the big events, if you have an appetite for travel take a look at our run down of the World's Top 12 Half Marathons for what could be the race of your life. On the other hand, if locally organised events with a sense of community is more your thing, browse the hundreds of smaller races all over the country organized by local running clubs and race directors.
How long will it take me to run a half marathon?
A half marathon at 13.1 miles is unsurprisingly exactly half the length of a marathon. The men's world record for a half marathon is 58m18s, and is held by Kenyan Abraham Kiptum and the women's record is 64m51s, set by Joyciline Jepkosgei. Both records were set at the Valencia Half Marathon in Spain. Don't expect to be challenging Abraham or Joyciline anytime soon, thankfully the average half marathon time for men is a little under the 2 hour mark, and for women a little over.
How long do I need to train for a half marathon?
Training for a half marathon takes time, as with any long distance event. We recommend following our 8 week training plan. Build up slowly to avoid injury, especially if you weren't doing much exercise before you started training. If this is the case, you may want to extend the training programme by 2-4 weeks, and you'll have to stick to it if you want to smash your goals on race day. It'll be tough, but we promise that when you cross that finish line, it'll be worth it. If you feel ready to make the jump to the full 26.2 miles, check out our list of US marathons, or if you're after something shorter or want a training race, here is our calendar of 10k runs.