Runners on the Coney Island Boardwalk. (Courtesy NYRR)
Want to run one of the biggest half marathons in the U.S.? You’ve got to know when to sign-up.
Registration for the 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half opens Thursday, January 28 at noon ET. (I’m one of its race announcers.) It’s the largest half marathon in the U.S., and sells out quickly.
The Brooklyn Half is also one of the best deals out there: $65 for New York Road Runners members and $85 for non-members. For that you get a start at the Brooklyn Museum, the course through bucolic Prospect Park, and a finish on the iconic Coney Island Boardwalk, plus the incomparable Airbnb Brooklyn Half Pre-Party Presented by New Balance, which has re-imagined the race expo into something bigger and better—a party with munchies, music, and more. It is, without contest, the best race “expo” I’ve ever seen. And I don’t make that claim lightly. Then there’s the Airbnb Brooklyn Half After-Party in a baseball stadium. That’s some serious bang-for-your-buck.
Like the Airbnb Brooklyn Half, many of America’s biggest half marathons sell out before race day. So here’s how and when to register for the 25 biggest 13.1-milers in the U.S.
25 Biggest Half Marathons in the U.S.
1. Airbnb Brooklyn Half
26,440 finishers in 2015
25,645 finishers in 2014
#5 among half marathons in the world in 2014
Next race: May 21, 2016
Registration: Opens January 28, 2016 at 12 p.m. ET. Typically sells out in a few hours. Entry via NYRR’s charity Team For Kids is available now.
Why Run? Brooklyn at its best, with a waterfront pre-party, stadium post-party, and course that highlights some of Brooklyn’s iconic landmarks with a finish on the Coney Island Boardwalk.
2. Nike Women’s Half Marathon
23,362 finishers in 2015
24,448 finishers in 2014
#8 among half marathons in the world in 2014
Next Race: The race is moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2016. Stay tuned for dates and more info.
Registration: Typically via lottery. More info coming on January 29, 2016.
Why Run? The world’s largest women-focused race has traditionally offered a Tiffany & Co. necklace in place of a finisher medal, plus stellar on-course support.
3. Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon
23,100 finishers in 2015
25,227 finishers in 2014
#7 among half marathons in the world in 2014
Next Race: November 13, 2016
Registration: Not yet open. Get a reminder e-mail.
Why Run? Finish along the lit up Las Vegas Strip at night, with music every mile and a major headliner—think Kid Rock or Macklemore & Ryan Lewis—for your pre-race entertainment.
4. OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon
22,466 finishers in 2015
25,524 finishers in 2014
#6 among half marathons in the world in 2014
Next Race: May 7, 2016
Registration: Open now
Why Run? Run a full lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—2.5 miles of track—home of the Indianapolis 500, with 100 entertainment acts to keep you pumped all 13.1 miles.
5. Walt Disney World Half Marathon
21,495 finishers in 2015
20,243 finishers in 2014
#12 among half marathons in the world in 2014
Next Race: January 7, 2017
Registration: Opens April 26, 2016 at noon ET. Not a lottery, but the half marathon and all other weekend events sell out within a few weeks to a few months. Charity and tour provider entries will also be available.
Why Run? Part of the country’s largest running festival, you’ll journey from Epcot through Magic Kingdom and back as you rub elbows with Disney characters and runners dressed as them. Finish the half-marathon and marathon on back-to-back days and you’ll earn a special Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge medal. Run all four of the weekend’s adult races for the Dopey Challenge. Read the rest of this entry →