Happy 2017 runners! It's a new year and now that you're finally over your new year's eve hangover, it's time to plan out your 2017 race schedule. Is training for a half marathon this year one of your New Years resolutions? Whether you're looking to run your first or your 17th, we've put together a list of the best half marathons in 2017 that you'll want to add to your race list. For more half marathon #runspiration, check out our list of the Best Half Marathons of 2016 and 7 Fun (and Weird) Half Marathons in 2016.
The Key West Half Marathon is a race that belongs on your half marathon bucket list. Run through historic Old Town and along the waterfront of this beautiful island city in Florida's balmy January weather. There's also a 5k race on the same day, perfect for convincing friends or family members who aren't up for the 13.1 option to join you in Florida for the weekend. Steve Kesh named it as the best winter half marathon in the USA in his book The Best Half Marathons in The World, so you know it's gotta be good.
The Miami Half Marathon (and marathon!) is the perfect excuse for a January runcation. Escape to a warmer climate and take in the ocean views of Miami Beach, the Causeway, and downtown Miami as you run on this flat and fast course. You'll get to run almost the entire race alongside runners racing the full marathon, perfect if you have a friend who needs pacing in the first half of the full marathon.
A half marathon in the desert, you say?! There's no way I'll PR. Au contraire runners! Death Valley in winter, with average lows in the 30s and highs in the 70s, and a relatively flat race course actually has ideal conditions for a half marathon PR. The Death Valley Marathon is the same day and is a great Boston Qualifier course for the same reason. You'll run through the surrounding mountain ranges and get to see unique flora and fauna only found on the desert floor!
With a half marathon, Boston Qualifier full marathon, and a 5k, Austin has a distance for everyone in your runcation crew. Our friends who ran Austin loved the nutrition options of NUUN and Cliff Shot Blocks along the course instead of the usual Gatorade products. Local bands play and tons of cheering stations are set up all along the route to entertain you while you PR on this fast and flat course. Plus, before and after the race, there's so much to explore in Austin! An excellent winter runcation.
The Baker's Dozen Half Marathon is a 13.1-mile tour of Montclair, New Jersey sponsored by Montclair Company Bread, so you can be sure the food at the end is going to be amazing. You get a nice 1/4 zip long sleeve instead of your standard tech tee race swag, and loads of carbs in the form of artisan bread, pastries, and donuts await you at the finish line. Does this mean you should eat donuts regularly during training so that your stomach is equally trained to handle donuts at the end of the race? Yes, yes it does. Let us know how that goes...
Brought to you by Dole, Great Race of Agoura Hills is a race festival full of half marathon fun, and reportedly has the best post-race party in SoCal. Choose between two half marathons (road or trail), a 10k, a 5k, and two 1-mile races. The Pacific Half Marathon starts on an old movie set and runs through Malibu wine country, and the Chesebro Half, one of the nation's largest trail half marathons, goes down the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail and Palo Comado Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Go with a friend and sign up for the Sports Academy Team Marathon challenge; one of you signs up for the road half, the other signs up for the trail half, and you're scored based on your combined times. The post-race party features great food, a concert, and tons of fun activities like a rock climbing wall and giant blow up slides, bouncy castles, and the like.
Kicking off the start of the Indy 500 Festival, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is one of the biggest half marathons in the United States, drawing over 35,000 runners each year. This year marks the 41st running of the race. You'll get to run around the famous 2.5-mile race track where the Indy 500 is held, the course is super flat, making for perfect half marathon PR conditions, and local bands play all along the course so you don't have to worry about making a race playlist or headphones. Hotels that weekend can get expensive, but you can find great deals on Indianapolis Airbnb's.
The Airbnb Brooklyn Half is one of our favorite half marathons. Of course, we're a bit biased and we've run it over 9 times. It's on our home turf in Brooklyn, and it ends at the beach at Coney Island. Where many NYC running groups have big parties with beer, food, more beer, Famous Nathan's Hot Dogs, and more beer. What more could you want?! Plus, we've got you covered with training for Brooklyn, tips from our ATOMbassador Robin who raced it this year, and everything you need to know about Brooklyn Half.
Run through Maine's spectacular Acadia National Park and rocky coastline in this half marathon. Often when race organizers advertise a race in a national park, the course doesn't actually go through the national park, so we love that this one actually does! You'll run through and around Champion Mountain and Cadillac Cliffs, but the total elevation gain for the race is only 453ft. Bonus: since the race starts and ends at the local YMCA, you get the luxury of using REAL bathrooms at the start and finish of your race. Drive up the Friday before and go camping on Mount Desert Island for some quality nature time.
Say "aloha" to this tropical paradise race! The Kona Half Marathon (and marathon) is the perfect excuse to plan a vacay to Hawaii this summer. TripAdvisor named the full marathon one of the best in the nation. Just look at the pictures! This is another one that starts hella early (5:30AM for the marathon, 6:00AM for the half), but if you live in the continental US, jetlag will be on your side. Did we mention UCC Coffee is one of the race sponsors?! We love coffee. Extra bonus: the expo and race events are all at the Waikoloa Beach Resort. Aloha!
Don't let the 6:00AM start time due to the summer heat deter you; The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon is one of the most beautiful half marathons you will ever run. You'll take in the spectacular pink and red scenery the park has to offer AND you'll likely PR thanks to that early start time and a net elevation loss of 1749.7 ft. Did we mention there's a 5k and a color run the same day for your fellow runcationers? This is one you'll want to stay on and go camping for a few days to fully experience the park.
A favorite of one of our running models, the Reykjavik Half Marathon is the half marathon experience of a lifetime. Held in August annually, Iceland's cool weather is a welcome break from the summer heat (it normally doesn't get above 55 Fahrenheit), the course is flat and fast, and you'll be racing with a super international and diverse group of runners compared to your normal Stateside road race. Your grab bag includes free entry to one of the city pools, featuring naturally heated hot tubs, and entry to Reykjavik Culture Night, a city-wide party and concert full of dancing, eating, and fireworks at the end of the night.
The Chicago Half Marathon runs all along scenic Lake Shore Drive and the University of Chicago campus, Hyde Park, waterfront views of Lake Michigan, and the Science and Industry Museum campus, followed by an awesome after party flowing with local beer in Jackson Park. In 2016, to celebrate the 20th running of the race, they gave out massive finisher medals. If you're into special double medals and multi-race challenges, you can register for the Michelob Ultra Chicago Half Marathon on May 21st and the Chicago Half Marathon, and then get a fancy XL medal for the 2017 Chicagoland Half Marathon Series.
Looking for a fun weekend trip destination with your athletic lady friends in 2017? Not into the usual boozy bachelorette party weekend? Sign up for the Queen Bee Half Marathon! Brought to you by the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, this unique women-only half marathon makes for the perfect girls weekend in 2017. Rumor has it the expo, or "Bee-u-tique", is full of awesome goodies, and the post-race party features lots of chocolate and other delicious nosh, massages, and more. After the race, explore downtown Cincinnati with your girl squad.
15. Summit2 Challenge - Hot Springs Ntl Park, AR - November 19th
Part of the Spa Running Festival, the Summit2 Challenge is a half marathon that runs through beautiful Hot Springs National Park, AR. *Disclaimer* you literally run up a mountain during this half marathon, so you're not likely to PR but the views are beautiful from up there, all the more reason to stop and take a few scenic runfies along the way. In the past, the post-race party has involved a pasta buffet, cash bar, live entertainment, and gaming.
Another awesome Florida destination race, the Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon is super-well organized and super fun. Why? 1) Your race tee is a long sleeve tech tee with spaceships on it. 2) There's a costume contest after the race for the best space-themed costume. Hello silver lamé running tights at the back of my closet! 3) You'll get a beach towel at the finish line so you can head over to the beach with your 4) delicious free finisher food, either pancakes and eggs or pizza and beer. 5) There are showers at the end!! Head over to the one of the local YMCAs for a free post-race shower so you can get clean and enjoy the rest of your day, stink-free.
Talk about a runcation! Held in George Town, the capital city of Cayman Islands, the Cayman Island Half Marathon makes for an awesome destination race. Unless you're used to running in hot and humid weather regularly, you likely won't PR in this tropical race, but running along the gorgeous waterfront, through South Sound (a residential neighborhood boasting multi-million dollar homes), and taking in more ocean views at the end will make it all worth it. Get out and flaunt your hot self on the beach before you're in full winter bod mode.
Which of these 17 amazing half marathons will YOU race in 2017?! What's your favorite half marathon you've ever run? Let us know in the comments below!