Summer Half Marathons in the U.S.

If you’re looking to run a half marathon this summer, you’ve got plenty to choose from. Check out this list of unique and exciting places to run or walk 13.1 miles.


Faxon Law Fairfield Half Marathon

Adult woman running outdoors
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When: June
Where: Jennings Beach, Fairfield, Connecticut
Why do it: The Faxon Law Fairfield Half Marathon beachfront half-marathon has been a popular annual event since 1981. These days, up to 5,000 runners come out to Connecticut’s Jennings Beach each year on the first official weekend of summer. You’ll race along the water, over a few bridges and past beautiful, waterfront homes on this out-and-back course. The post-race beach party is a fun-filled way to celebrate your accomplishments.


Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon

When: June
Where: Portland, Maine
Why do it: The Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon goes right through the heart of Portland’s Old Port district and West End neighborhood and features sweeping views of the Casco Bay, its many islands, ferries, sailboats, lobster boats, tug boats, the Presumpscot River, the City of Portland skyline, and the Back Cove. Race swag includes race photos, a mobile app, two complimentary Shipyard beers, and more.


Missoula Half Marathon

When: June
Where: Missoula, Montana
Why do it: Although Missoula is a Rocky Mountain town, the Missoula Half Marathon course is flat, fast, and gets high marks from participants. More than 4,000 runners participate in this point-to-point race, which starts with a scenic route through the countryside, continues along the Bitterroot River, and finishes in historic downtown Missoula.


Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

When: July
Where: Napa to Sonoma, California
Why do it: Runners start the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon near the city of Napa at the Cuvaison Carneros Estate and finish in historic Sonoma Plaza. They’re treated to beautiful vistas of the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area, the San Pablo Bay, and the hills of Marin County. Each finisher receives a race shirt, finisher’s medal, and an etched wine glass.

Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries help make the signature post-race Wine and Music Festival memorable for runners, as they sample wines from esteemed local wine producers, plus get access to live music, exhibitors, massage tents, food trucks, and the Lagunitas Beer Garden. And if you don’t get enough wine at the post-race party, many of the local wineries offer tasting discounts to runners.


Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon

When: July
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Why do it: Runners love racing in Chicago because the racecourses are typically flat and fast, and the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon is no exception. The 13.1-mile race course starts and finishes in Grant Park, the 319-acre park on the city’s downtown lakefront that's home to the world-famous Buckingham Fountain and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Runners race through the streets of the Windy City’s downtown for the first two-thirds and then run along Lake Michigan, past Soldier Field, Chicago’s Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and through the southern end of Grant Park as they finish in front of the Buckingham Fountain.


San Francisco Half Marathon

When: July
Where: San Francisco, California
Why do it: The San Francisco Half Marathon offers runners a unique opportunity: They can choose their half marathon, as runners may run either the first or the second 13.1 miles of the full marathon course. Both races showcase different famous parts of San Francisco, from the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf in the first half to the scenery of the second half, including gorgeous Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury district, and AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

Of course, there are some hills (it is San Francisco, after all!), but the course doesn’t include any of the ridiculously steep ones that the city is known for. San Francisco is the perfect place to run a summer half marathon, as the city’s typical July weather is typically mild and cool with very little rainfall.


Brewers Mini-Marathon

When: August
Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Why do it: Nothing says summer like watching a baseball game and, if you're a fan of baseball AND running, this half marathon is the perfect opportunity to merge your passions. The Brewers Mini-Marathon course passes the Harley Davidson Museum, runs through Miller Valley, and finishes at — you guessed it — Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Runners run around the playing field warning track and earn a voucher for a free Brewers spring regular-season home game. Race entry also includes a fantastic Post-Race Party at Miller Park with live music, great food and, for participants 21 and over, two beers.


End of Summer Half Marathon

When: August
Where: Rockaway Park, New York
Why do it: This beach-side half marathon is part of the Rockapulco Run series of events. Each race takes place along the scenic boardwalk in Queens, New York. The beginner-friendly race follows an out-and-back course that starts and finishes at the beach at 116th Street. You'll enjoy a breezy and picturesque flat course along with a finisher's medal, t-shirt and Rockapulco Gold Beer at the end of your event.


Virginia Beach Rock and Roll Half Marathon

When: Early September
Where: Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Why do it: Enjoy this marathon during the last weekend of summer. From start to finish, the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon is a-rockin' good time. More than 20 local bands and 16 local high school cheerleading squads are spaced approximately every mile on 14 stages along the course to motivate the runners. You’ll get beautiful ocean views and sweet swag (their unique medals are always a favorite!) at the finish. And who doesn’t love a post-race dip in the ocean to soothe your tired legs?


Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

When: September
Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Why do it: Technically, this is a fall half marathon, but you're likely to enjoy summer like weather during this race. Rock 'n' Roll events are always well-organized and fun, and their event in Philly doesn't disappoint. Flat and fast, many half marathoners like this course to shoot for a PR. Runners of the Rock 'n' Roll Philly half also get a scenic tour of some Philadelphia landmarks and neighborhoods. Bands along the course provide lots of support and motivation along the way.

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