As our team at LEGEND Compression Wear ventures into 2016 we are excited to help promote, educate and encourage the running community. Not just about compression, but also about other relevant and popular topics in the running industry. Kicking off the year we wanted to share some data around the half marathon, a race distance that we found particularly interesting during 2015. Here is what we found…
Perhaps it’s because 13 miles is much more manageable than 26 miles. Or perhaps because a half-marathon is a great prelude for runners endeavoring a full marathon. Whatever the case may be, half marathon-running is empirically on the rise according to findings from a recent Running USA Annual Half Marathon Report.
As it turns out, the half marathon is the fastest growing standard distance, growing over 40% since 2010 (1,385,000 in 2010 to 2,046,600 in 2014). Additionally, half marathons appear to be especially popular amongst female runners, as they represented 61% (1.2 million) of finishers in 2014. The average age of runners in 2014 was 36 for women and 39.1 for men. As for its rising popularity, the half marathon is the most favored racing distance, preferred 39% by men and 43% by women.
So are you amongst the growing ranks of Americans seeking a fitfully challenging run in 2016? If so you’ll find that each state has its fair share of half marathons to choose from this year, some states offering more options than others. Without limbering up too much, here’s a list of the top 20 states for half marathons that will really help you go the distance.
- Massachusetts (67)
Massachusetts technically ties with Minnesota for being the state with the 20th most half marathons each year. Massachusetts best month for half marathons happens to be May, in which there are 14 to pick from. One of those is Boston’s Run to Remember on the 29th (a Sunday), which takes place in downtown Boston and benefits community and kids programs of the Boston Police Runner’s Club.
- Minnesota (67)
Minnesota has a total of 67 half marathons each year and is number 19/20 on our list of the best states for half marathons. Minnesota also has 14 races in the month of May. One of those is the Rockin’ Robin Run on May 7th (a Saturday). In addition to the half marathon, this event also features live entertainment, a kids run featuring Robbie the Robin mascot, and other family-friendly activities.
- Tennessee (68)
With a total of 68 races annually, Tennessee doesn’t let the heat keep it down. Although perhaps that’s why October is its densest month for half marathons (with 13). One of those is Race 13.1 Nashville, part of a growing race series dedicated to the 13.1 distance, is held on the 29th (Saturday) in Nashville. Being so close to Halloween the race also hosts a costume contest with a $1,000 cash prize. As if peak-level fitness wasn’t incentive enough to run a marathon, how about cold hard cash?
- Indiana (69)
Indiana comes in at number 17 on our list of states with the most annual half marathons. September and October are its best months, with 16 runs apiece, which includes the Indy Women’s Half Marathon on Saturday September 17th. This race, which is held in Indianapolis, caters to the gender amongst which we’ve already learned half marathons are most popular.
- Virginia (72)
Virginia has a total of 72 half marathons per year, with April being its busiest month. One of those 13 half marathons is the April 10th (Sunday) Run for the Animals in Onancock. This run benefits animals on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, which means it is especially heart-healthy.
- Illinois (77)
Number 15 is Illinois with a total of 77 half-marathon races per year. 20 of those races fall in September alone, including the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K on the 25th (Sunday). Taking place in Downtown Chicago, this race offers a shuttle service to get runners to and from the course as well as peripheral entertainment and refreshments.
- Georgia (90)
Georgia is as healthy as a peach on this list. With a total of 90 races statewide each year, 11 appear in its busiest month November, and one of those is the Tryptophan Half Marathon held in Cumming on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday the 24th). As the name of the race suggests, this race is a perfect compliment to the binging guilt typically associated with Thanksgiving.
- Ohio (92)
Ohio has a total of 92 half marathons each year, with 16 in October. The Broke Man’s Race in Columbus, held on the 2nd (a Sunday), claims to be a race for the people regardless of economic disposition, keeping registrations fees low by cutting out all the frills. Those fees, incidentally, are $10 for the first 150 registrants and $20/$30 thereafter.
- Pennsylvania (93)
Number 12 is Pennsylvania, which sports a total of 93 half marathons around the state every year. One of those is the Oktoberfest 13.1 in Philadelphia, a city known for its brotherly love and, as it turns out, physical wellbeing. That race is held on Sunday the 23rd and supports lung cancer research.
- North Carolina (101)
North Carolina is the first state with a triple digit number of half marathons. With 101 races taking place across the state each year, it’s hard to settle on one. Well here’s some exciting news that just came out last week. Widely known NC race, the Thunder Road Marathon is now officially the Charlotte Marathon starting in 2016. Held in November this is a wonderful race through the streets of Charlotte, starting and finishing in Uptown while showing off some of the cities best areas throughout the race. Features marathon, half marathon, relay marathon, and other fun distances.
- Wisconsin (102)
Wisconsin isn’t all cheddar. It’s actually a pretty healthy state when you consider it hosts the 10th most half marathons in the country with a grand total of 102. One of those is The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, which takes place Sunday May 22nd in the city of Green Bay and features both a marathon and half marathon.
- Utah (109)
Making it down the home stretch is Utah with 109 half marathons statewide. The Dino Half Marathon is a fun one taking place in the city of Vernal on Saturday May 14th. Featuring a dinosaur theme and the mortality rate-defying catchphrase “Outrun extinction!” this race is packed with beautiful red-rock-and-blue-sky scenery and plenty of natural inspiration to keep trudging on.
- Oregon (111)
Oregon is number 8 with 111 half marathons statewide. So many to choose from from, but here’s one you can feel good about: Sunriver Marathon for a Cause. Held on Sunday September 4th, this race features a full, half, and 5k, and benefits St. Charles Cancer Services.
- New York (113)
New York has a giant population–of people and half marathons as it turns out. With 113 offered statewide, there are plenty of chances for residents and visitors and stay healthy. If you happen to be in Brooklyn on Saturday October 8th, you’d be able to catch the Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon and maybe even start your own rock band while you’re there.
- Colorado (124)
Number 6 is Colorado. With 124 half marathons and 28 in just the month of September alone, Colorado is fit. In Lakewood, you’ll find the Bear Chase Race – Half Marathon & 5K happening on September 25th (a Sunday). This race features great mountain scenery and probably no bears (although that might improve your pace quite a bit).
- Michigan (142)
Michigan is in the top 5 with 142 half marathons. One run that is particularly inclusive is the Detroit Free Press Talmer Bank Marathon. Taking place in Detroit on the weekend of the 14th-16th, this race features full and half marathons, a 5k, a disability division, and a kids run. This motor city race will certainly be giving vehicular transportation a run for its money that weekend.
- Florida (145)
Florida has plenty of places to run. At number 4 on our list, the Sunshine State is beaming with a total of 145 half marathons. Interesting to note that Florida has no marathons in August (clearly too hot), but this one in November: the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Lake Buena Vista on the weekend of the 4th-5th. Then of course after the run, there will clearly be plenty of calories to be regained while partaking in the aforementioned ‘wining and dining.’
- Washington (165)
Washington has 165 half marathons. And some pretty beautiful terrain to cover in each. The GOAT Run, held on Saturday September 17th in Port Angeles is one such race where over the course of a marathon you’ll be forced to reckon with a great wooded forest and natural terrain in the Olympic National Park.
- Texas (242)
Texas is big in all sorts of ways—when it comes to geography, toast, personality, and cowboy hats. And also when it comes to half marathons as it turns out. Number 2 on our list of the top 20 states for half marathons, Texas has a total of 242. It has 30 in December and 23 in January alone respectively. The Texas Half in Dallas happens on January 24th (Saturday) and has an after-party in a heated indoor convention center complete with food and a jacket for all runners.
- California (386)
Number one is California, a state sometimes known for its superficial attractiveness. It should be little surprise that it also contains the absolute most statewide half marathons by a long shot. 386. That’s more than one for every day of the year. You need a marathon? California’s got you covered. Here’s one on Saturday March 5th: the Singletrack Stampede in Calabasas, featuring full and half marathon distances over slim-lined ancient trails through shifting terrains and altitudes and vast low-water ecosystems. Not for the feint of heart for sure. Of course you can always browse this list to find the race that suits you best.
So, if you are a half marathoner out there and you are setting your schedule for this year’s races, investigate some of the ones highlighted here & aim to run the right states at the right times! Also remember to take care of your legs during your training and racing though graduated compression! Check out our compression running gear, featuring performance socks, leg sleeves, and recovery socks! Enjoy your 13.1 adventures in 2016 & we hope it is a LEGENDARY year!