The end of 2015 is here and soon we’ll be moving into a new year. For runners, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2016. The year has some pretty interesting and stand-out Half Marathons you shouldn’t miss. Here at OnlyAtoms, we love running half's - 13.1 miles is our favorite race distance! Not too short, just challenging enough, and always really fun. We’ve put together a list of the best Half Marathons in 2016 that are worth checking out. (Also check out our list of 7 Weird and Super Fun Half Marathons and our NEW list of 17 Best Half Marathons in 2017).
Thes races are worth the travel and training time - make it a runcation (running vacation)! Let’s have a look:
Yes, we know. Star Wars is everywhere right now. Even that guy in Portland running Star Wars running routes. But that doesn’t mean that this race isn’t worth your while! Imagine! You’ll be running along stormtoopers, Jedi, Sith, even some Darth Vaders and Chewbaccas. The new year of running adventures would definitely start up on a high note. Unfortunately, you might need Yoda level of mastery over The Force to actually get a place on it. Last year’s race sold out in a matter of 2 hours. After the race, you can spend a few days enjoying Disneyland or the beaches in LA! Here are some good RunDisney race recaps from RunKarlaRun.
Okay, so if Star Wars isn’t you thing, you can head over to Florida and enjoy the beach. It’s a nice way to escape the frigid winter up north for a while. The race is mostly on flat terrain (flat races ftw!) and runs along the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. The run route is incredibly scenic, overlooking the crystal blue Atlantic Ocean. This race would have none of the glitz of the Disneyland race, and all the challenge. It starts at the famous Half Shell Raw Bar, where you might sit back and relax after the marathon is done. Yum!
Want to participate in one of the most out-of-this-world, crazy half marathon experiences? We do! Then visit Death Valley. This is perhaps the most unique marathon/half marathon that take places in the US and makes for an unforgettable experience. While the race course is on a relatively flat terrain, it’s located in the lowest spot in the western hemisphere, with the elevation of 282ft below the sea level. While running, you’ll catch a glimpse of the nearby Cottonwood, Grapevines, Blacks, and the Panamints mountain ranges, especially during the first and last three miles of the race. It’s definitely a race you wouldn’t want to miss. Just bring plenty of water. And consider training in a sauna!
The 2016 United Airlines NYC Half brings runners from all over the world to run a 13.1-mile race of New York City - even stopping traffic - through Manhattan, from Central Park to Times Square to South Street Seaport. This is a super fun race for all kinds of runners, despite the top American and international elite runners racing for top prizes. The #UnitedNYCHalf is one of NYRR's Five-Borough Series: Run New York. 5 Boroughs. 1 City. All fun races. Before or after you've had enough of running in Manhattan, you can go for some easy, short runs through Brooklyn or trail run on Brooklyn trails.
What better place to have a marathon than in Hawaii? This race has become very popular, partly due to The Chase. This feature allows some runners to compete against the best, big-name runners of the world. The race offers stunning scenery. It begins at Duke Kahanamoku Statue at the Kalakaua Avenue and runs along the Ala Moana Boulevard. From there, you head for the Diamond Head Crater State Monument, which is one of the most spectacular natural formations. From here you can see the natural beauty of Hawaii and the gorgeous blue Pacific Ocean as well.
The North Face Endurance Challenge Series is a great trail running and ultramarathon series that also has shorter distances like the Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K. The Bear Mountain course in New York isn't easy, but it's gorgoeous and known for it's technical trails. The cours winds through Bear Mountain and Harriman State Park along the Hudson River, up and down hills...many, many hills...and through the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. The race is well organized with well-stocked aid stations (M&M's! Potatoes! Gels! Flat Coke!) and most of all, has a great group of runners running the race. Best of all? The race has free beer and burgers at the finish line.
WE HAVE SPECIAL DISCOUNTS FOR YOU FOR THE NORTH FACE ENDURANCE CHALLENGE SERIES:
ECS UTAH use code "ATOMS15" for 15% OFF. Register here
ECS WISCONSON use code "ATOMS15" for 15% OFF: Register here
ECS WASHINGTON DC: use code "ATOMS10" for 10% OFF: Register here
ECS BEAR MOUNTAIN, NY: use code "ATOMS10" for 10% OFF: Register here
Run the 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half by NYRR, the biggest half marathon in the USA. Run the 13.1-mile course through Brooklyn starting near the Brooklyn Museum, through Prospect Park, and ending with a finish on the Coney Island boardwalk, where you can have a beer and ride the famous Cyclone! The #AirbnbBKHalf is also part of NYRR's Five Borough Series is one of the most popular races in NYC, and in the country - it's our favorite half marathon and we've run it almost every year for nine years.
What Half Marathons or other fun races are you running this year?