If you’re going to slog your way through a half marathon, why shouldn’t it be fun? A great route and fun fellow competitors can ramp up the motivation you need to keep going for 13.1 miles. You’ll also have plenty of crowd support and even some treats when you participate in any of these half marathons.
1. Southern Fried Half, North Carolina
Why not start with a beach town for your first half marathon to get a feel for running in very different terrain? The Outer Banks North Carolina Southern Fried Half Marathon may be a bit of a mouthful as half marathons are concerned, but it starts at Nags Head, taking you past the largest sand dune the East Coast has to offer. Make it to the finish line at the picturesque waterfront village of Manteo and they'll let you tuck into Southern fried taters without telling you how many calories you've just replaced. It's one of the best US half marathons just for that!
2. Capital City Half Marathon, Ohio
More than 50 bands and DJs will accompany you while you're running 13.1 miles huffing and puffing through Ohio state's capital in the hope of getting your share of chocolate and champagne at the finish line. Do try to stay conscious throughout, or you'll miss historic Germantown, the Short North Arts District and Ohio State University campus en route.
3. Austin Half Marathon, Texas
Attracting more than 9,000 runners, Austin's urban half marathon is a bit of an oddball. Run past Lady Bird Lake and wave at the ducks, groan and sigh all the way through Hyde Park and perk up again at the sight of Congress Avenue, Colorado River and the University of Texas. Smile, you're on camera: welcoming Austinites, Longhorns and local entertainers are recording runners' every move.
4. Hapalua Half Marathon, Hawaii
Popularly referred to as THE half marathon for runners in Hawaii, the Hapalua is predominantly an excuse for locals to get their hands on delicious malasadas, a Portuguese-style donut widely served throughout the islands and made available to those who finish the half marathon before the sun sets. Hula girls despair of ever handing out the winner's trophy.
5. Tinker Bell Half Marathon, Disneyland, Anaheim
You'll be just one winged little gal among thousands of Tinker Bells and nightgowned Wendy's competing in this one. Run through Disneyland and into the city of Anaheim and be as celebrated a hero as Peter Pan himself, when you fall into the waiting arms of friends and family as the winner. Or stop off every so often for photo opportunities with your favorite Disney characters and risk lagging behind.
6. Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon, Baltimore
This is one of the best US half marathons to compete in if you prefer to walk part of the stretch. You've got 5.5 hours to complete the half marathon, so you might as well. It's a flat but fast course that even Edgar Allen Poe might have managed to describe as pleasant rather than deadly.
7. Hershey Half Marathon, Pennsylvania
Running 13.1 miles through idyllic Hershey, PA, in the fall when the region's colorful foliage is at its best, is an utter delight. Better still, there's a post-race complimentary massage from Hershey Spa and several large helpings of chocolate to look forward to, to help your feet and spirits recover.
8. Chicago Half Marathon, Chicago
Run down the famous Lake Shore Drive past Lake Michigan, cross Hyde Park and Jackson Park and look forward to city officials handing you a Windy City medal at the end of it all. Running its interesting streets and seeing all the sights is definitely a good reason to run a half marathon in Chicago.
9. Brewers Mini-Marathon, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A fairly new race as far as best US half marathons are concerned, the Brewers Mini-Marathon in Milwaukee will particularly appeal to baseball and motorcycling fans. A hilly course takes you past the Harley Davidson Museum, through Miller Valley and to Miller Park's finish line. Complete the half marathon in the allowed time and nice organizers will let you have a free voucher to a Milwaukee Brewers spring home game, no questions asked.
They all sound fun, don’t they? Please tell us about other great half marathons you know of/have run.