I got really lucky in that my first half marathon was the Nike Women's Half in San Francisco. And after experiencing such an incredible event — Tiffany necklaces! Course entertainment! Awesome expo! — I wanted to see who else was hosting races with as much energy and fun, especially after hearing they cancelled their half marathons in SF and Washington DC.
For first-time and beginner half marathoners, the energy of an event plays such a crucial role. From my beginner experience, that positive energy is what helped me complete those daunting and intimidating 13.1 miles. Breaking it down, a few things come into play: weather, course difficulty, and overall experience (aka FUN). I had so many questions: do you get a sweet race-day tank or t-shirt? Is there a cool prize? Are there places to stay near the course? How are the hills? What happens at the expo? All of these questions come in addition to: am I going to survive my first half marathon?
We've rounded up 11 of the best half marathons for beginners in the North America, based on the aforementioned criteria. From coast to coast, there's a fun, scenic, energizing course that'll be a fun challenge, and most of all, a memorable accomplishment — one that'll ignite a love of running races.