10 Best Fall U.S. Half Marathons

After a summer of training in the heat, runners who choose to run a fall half marathon are often rewarded with favorable temps and beautiful scenery. If you're planning to run 13.1 miles this fall, check out this collection of fall U.S. half marathons that are certainly worth the trip.

Experienced runners may be able to train for a half marathon in six weeks. However, beginning runners may need 12–14 weeks of solid training to get race-ready.


Salomon Golden Leaf Half Marathon (Snowmass Village, Colorado)

Runners compete in a 5k at sunset in Corona, California.
K.C. Alfred / Getty Images

If you like the challenges of some big elevation changes and serious trail running, the Golden Leaf Half Marathon may be the one for you. This point-to-point course takes you from Snowmass Village to Aspen, Colo., as you run through the Rocky Mountain ski areas. But, don't worry, your hard efforts will be rewarded with some stunning views and spectacular fall foliage (hence the name).


Chicago Half Marathon (Chicago, Illinois)

With the city’s famous skyline as its backdrop and fantastic views of Lake Michigan, the Chicago Half Marathon is a shorter version of the city's well-known full marathon. This flat, fast course takes you through the streets around Hyde Park and the Museum of Science and Industry before winding on to traffic-free Lake Shore Drive.


Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon (San Jose, California)

Like the Rock 'n' Roll half in Philadelphia, the Rock 'n' Roll San Jose half marathon offers runners a fast, flat course with fantastic views of the city. With bands all along the course and a beer tent at the finish, it feels like a 13.1 mile-long party.


Newport Half Marathon (Newport, Rhode Island)

If you love leaf-peeping in the Northeast, this picture-perfect New England race may be the one for you. The Newport Half Marathon starts at Easton Beach and then takes you on a spectacular tour of Newport, featuring miles of waterfront views and sweeping vistas of the grand mansions along Bellevue Avenue.


Detroit Free Press Talmer Bank Half Marathon (Detroit, Michigan)

The Detroit Free Press Talmer Bank Half Marathon offers the unique experience of running through two countries in the same half marathon. With four miles of the course in Canada, you'll actually run in scenic downtown Ontario before crossing back over the border to enjoy some more miles in Detroit. Of course, if you're considering the race, keep in mind that you'll need a valid passport or driver's license to register for and run it.


Baltimore Half Marathon (Baltimore, Maryland)

Part of the Baltimore Running Festival, the Baltimore Half Marathon features a looped course around the city, giving you plenty of opportunities to take in landmarks and scenery. While the course does feature some rolling hills, there are also some nice, flat stretches and a finish line at Camden Yards (home of the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens) that can't be beaten.


Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)

The popular Myrtle Beach Half Marathon is a surf-themed celebration in South Carolina, complete with a surfboard finisher medal, surf-style bands, and awesome post-race beach party. After the race, pull up your beach chair, enjoy the post-event bands, or take a dip in the water.


Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay (Monterey, California)

The very scenic Big Sur Marathon is high on many runners' bucket lists, but if you're not interested in the full marathon, the Big Sur half marathon offers equally stunning views. You'll run most of the course along the Pacific Ocean coast, with lots of music from local bands and support along the way.


Atlanta Half Marathon (Atlanta, Georgia)

While some runners like to kick off Thanksgiving Day with a 5K race, Atlanta's Thanksgiving Half Marathon can definitely pre-burn a lot more calories as the course takes you past several Atlanta landmarks, including Centennial Olympic Park and the Olympic rings. (Not to be confused with the Atlanta Half Marathon held in early spring.)


Route 66 Half Marathon (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

The Route 66 Half Marathon takes participants on a journey, through Tulsa's scenic and historic neighborhoods and parks, along the Arkansas River, and over the famous Route 66.

1 Source
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  1. Hamilton JS, Sorace P. Time to step it up! Training for a half marathon personal record. ACSMs Health Fit J. 2018;22(2):16-22. doi:10.1249/FIT.0000000000000373

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.