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As I considered writing about these top 10 best half marathons in the United States, I knew I had to recommend some that I ran. I mean if I just threw up a list of a bunch of races that I had no experience with, what fun is that?
Instead, I'll confess upfront that I ran the Blue-Gray Half Marathon in Gettysburg in 2016, the Trenton Half in 2015, and the Delaware Canal Half was the one I actually trained for the first time in 2014. As for the Philly Half, I didn't run the half marathon course, but I did run the marathon course. So, there are similarities.
What I believe you will enjoy about these races listed here is that they have a mixture of beautiful scenery, a challenging course for runners of all ability levels, and just a fun racing atmosphere. It is races like these that you train to begin with. The energy level on race day at these events makes you feel like a true athlete (and that's because you are).
Now, let's just right into it. Here are the top 10 best half marathons in the United States of America according to yours truly!
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Date: August 6, 2017
Why it's the Best: First, it's one of the more affordable half marathons. So, don't discount that (since this is also a personal finance site). The course takes you along scenic streets, a lake, and an oceanfront view. You're also in sunny California, so that's enough of an incentive to make this your next destination race vacation and why it made the top 10 best half marathons in the United States list.
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Date: September 9, 2017
Why it's the Best: Um, you begin and end the race in Miller Park! Plus, you get to run along the warning track in foul ground and the outfield. What could be cooler (especially for baseball fans like me)? Your friends and family can watch you run in the stands and you get to be on the scoreboard. Oh, and you get TWO FREE beers at the end if you're 21+ of course (which I know most of you are).
Related gear for half marathon runners:
Location: Mount Desert Island, Maine
Date: October 15 , 2017
Why it's the Best: Many consider it one of the most picturesque races in the country. And, after seeing the photos, I must say I'm going to put it on my bucket list. It's considered a pretty tough half -- so you pay for those beautiful views.
But, as the Boston Globe said in 2013, "The course follows the ridge between Champlain and Dorr mountains, past (but, thankfully, not up) Cadillac Mountain, near the mouth of the only fiord on the Atlantic Coast, and through six of the island’s quintessential coastal villages, all seasoned by the fragrant scent of pine and sea air." That description alone sounds worth it to me!
Location: Gettysburg, PA
Date: October 22, 2017
Why it's the Best: Gettysburg is such a fantastic place. We moved here in August 2016. It's one of the only places where you see 19th century America and 21st century America side by side. Between the bikers and the Civil War reenactors, it's a fun place to visit and race.
The Blue-Gray Half splits runners into teams representing the North and the South. The course takes you on a beautiful tour through the battlefields, by the monuments, and along some gorgeous countryside. The South "altered history" last year and won. I bet against history and got a cool commemorative pint glass out of the deal!
Location: Trenton, NJ
Date: October 28, 2017
Why it's the Best: This is another one I've run in and it really is a great course. You get to run right on the highway, through a beautiful park, over the "Trenton Makes the World Takes" bridge, and you finish at home plate in Arm & Hammer Park, the home of the Trenton Thunder (the double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees). I also like it because I set a PR there in 2015 during my marathon training and actually made it under 2 hours at 1:58!
Location: Washington Crossing, PA
Date: November 11, 2017
Why it's the Best: Technically speaking, my first half marathon was the one my wife and I walked together in Pennsburg, PA. But, the Delaware Canal Half Marathon is the reason I did that first one. To prove to myself I could make the distance.
The DC half takes you along the beautiful Delaware Canal towpath. You begin and end in Washington Cross Historic Park. Yes, it's steps away from where George Washington famously crossed the Delaware River. Along the towpath, you see some gorgeous homes on one side and the Delaware on the other.
It really is a true runner's paradise. I trained often on the towpath during my days in Bucks County, PA, so I'm definitely partial to it.
Location: Monterrey, CA
Date: November 12, 2017
Why it's the Best: You get to run the majority of the race around Monterrey Bay in Monterrey, CA. This is another great one to make your next destination race vacation. Autumn that time of year should be rather beautiful in the Monterrey Peninsula.
The Monterrey Bay Half Marathon is also using Active, so consider starting a $0.99 trial for Active Advantage to get discounts on future events and races. Register for the Monterrey Bay Half Marathon.
Location: Anaheim, CA
Date: November 9-12, 2017
Why it's the Best: Well, I'm not a superhero, comics or video game guy, but many out there are. So, I included this because I think it'd appeal to many "nerd" runners out there.
Here's the description: "Break out your inner Super Hero and team up with Earth's Mightiest Heroes during the Super Heroes Half Marathon at the Disneyland® Resort. Super Heroes will be out in force to cheer you on along an amazing 13.1-mile run through the spectacular Disneyland® Resort, and along the historic and colorful streets around the Resort area. Your heroic feats will be rewarded with a Super Hero victory celebration at the finish line and your very own Super Heroes Half Marathon finisher medal. Unleash the Super Hero in you!"
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Date: November 18, 2017
Why it's the Best: I ran the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon, so much of the half marathon course is the same. You run through the streets of historic Philadelphia and are surrounded by some of the best racing fans in the country. As I ran the marathon, the crowd really picked me up, especially at the end.
If you're a half marathon runner, make sure you don't accidentally do the full marathon by mistake. In 2015, a teenager missed the turn and ended up doing the entire 26.2 miles! Wow!
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Date: December 9, 2017
Why it's the Best: You get to burn off leftover calories from Thanksgiving and feel in-shape heading into the holiday season. The course route takes you along "one of Brooklyn's most scenic routes located in Bay Ridge." So, strap on the jingle bells and get out there!
I want to know what you think of our list of the 10 best half marathons in the United States. Have you run any of them? Are they on your top 10 list or half marathon bucket list? Tell us what you think in the comments.
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