Early Season Half Marathons in the Midwest
Topeka to Auburn Half MarathonJan. 16, 2016, Topeka, Kan. 1 of 12
The unpredictability of Kansas weather makes this event one to remember. Previous races have seen single-digit temperatures with a sub-zero wind chill, while some past participants have lucked into pleasant temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Though it may be a toss-up weather-wise, the race always has a later start time—10 a.m.—in hopes of taking advantage of the warmest part of the day.
Securian Half MarathonJan. 30, 2016, St. Paul, Minn. 2 of 12
This course winds through downtown St. Paul, giving participants a running tour of the city. Organizers provide a building to keep warm before and after the event (this is Minnesota we're talking about, after all), and runners receive winter-themed goodie bags, which include a long-sleeve tech shirt and a collector's mug. Note: Walkers are not permitted in this race.
Ann Arbor Half MarathonApril 3, 2016, Ann Arbor, Mich. 3 of 12
This course has a little something for everyone. It runs through downtown Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan's campus, but also along the Huron River and through the Nichols Arboretum. It is both a Boston and NYC qualifier.
Hoosier Half MarathonApril 9, 2016, Bloomington, Ind. 4 of 12
The Hoosier Half starts off at Indiana University's Bloomington campus, regularly voted one of the most beautiful in the country. Though the campus is mostly flat, the race features challenging hills in the outlying neighborhoods and has a time limit of 16 minutes per mile. All runners receive a finisher's medal and are encouraged to explore the charming college town post-race.
Oshkosh Half MarathonApril 24, 2016, Oshkosh, Wis. 5 of 12
The Oshkosh Half is in its 12th year and features some course diversity, with part of the race taking place downtown and other parts by the river. Proceeds from the event benefit local charities, including the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Service and the Oshkosh Area Humane Society.
Pro Football Hall of Fame Half MarathonApril 24, 2016, Canton, Ohio 6 of 12
If you're looking for a spring destination race, this is a great option for football fans. True to its name, the race is themed entirely around football, from registration to the post-race celebration. Runners even get free entry into the Hall for the race expo. All finishers receive a medal and commemorative fleece blanket.
Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathonApril 30, 2016, Louisville, Ky. 7 of 12
The miniMarathon is an official part of the Kentucky Derby festivities, making it one of the biggest events in Louisville every year. The course runs you through downtown Louisville, city parks and of course right by the famed Churchill Downs. Celebrate your achievement post-race at Waterfront Park overlooking the Ohio River.
Brookings Half MarathonMay 14, 2016, Brookings, S.D. 8 of 12
A mostly flat course makes this race perfect for anyone set on beating their old PR. Half and full marathon runners begin together and follow the same scenic course—which takes you through parks, historic districts and South Dakota University—until mile 11, where the groups split. The half marathon is limited to only 400 runners, and these spots are usually filled by mid-March, so make sure to register early.
Divas Half MarathonMay 15, 2016, Branson, Mo. 9 of 12
This half marathon is pure fun from beginning to end. Organizers place a big emphasis on race day swag, and registration includes your own pink tutu. Feather boas and sparkly tiaras are handed out throughout the course, and each runner gets a free glass of champagne after crossing the finish line. The course has a 3.5-hour time limit.
Heartland Series Half MarathonJune 8, 2016, Fulton, Ill. 10 of 12
This race is part of the greater Heartland series put on by Mainly Marathons, with similar runs in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. The Fulton race features an out-and-back course that runners loop eight times, with scenic parts along the east bank of the Mississippi River. Not overly competitive? This race is perfect for you as it has no time limits.
Newcastle Mini MarathonJune 18, 2016, New Castle, Ind. 11 of 12
The course of the community-supported Newcastle Mini Marathon takes you on bike trails, through parks and downtown before ending at the Henry County YMCA. Runners receive a participant shirt and a finisher's medal, and there's even popsicles at every aid station. All proceeds support the Henry County Special Olympics.