Spring Half Marathons (and some other distances)

When you run races, you get asked, a lot, for suggestions on what races folks should try. Please check our blog entries for our more detailed race reviews, but below are summaries of the key information that is important to us about the races we have run. Remember, a race differs from year to year, and even in the same year, a runner’s experience has as much to do with how your day goes, as it does about amenities and medals — If you have a good race day, chances are your view of the race will differ from someone who has a bad race day! Good luck and let us know what you think about any of these races.  Links to the race website are provided when available.

Below are options for Spring races offering only the half marathon distance. Marathoners can be prickly folk, and if you just want to focus on the half distance and all the glory that entails, these races are for you!

Who ran & when Course Logistics Swag Organization Overall
Hangover Classic 10 Mile (Louisville, KY), 1/1/2015 Everyone (multiple years) Starts/finishes at a gym/club near downtown Louisville.  Flat and fast.  Some scenic parts, some not so scenic.  Not closed. Easy.  You can register that morning, you can pick up your packet that morning.  Plenty of parking available. A shirt and bragging rights!  There is a homey buffet with bagels, peanut butter, bananas, etc. after in the warm inside of the gym. Well done.  Great volunteers provide water even when you ask for something stronger! This is a great way to start off the new year.  The distance is long enough to be a challenge, especially if you’ve been out living it up the night before!
Walt Disney World Half Marathon, 1/10/2015SOLD OUT Annette, Lisa (Coming Soon!) Sign up early!  It sells out!
Run the Bluegrass (Lexington, KY), 3/28/2015 MB, Annette, Mindy (2014, 2013) Hourglass/figure 8 starting at Keeneland racecourse and covering the beautiful Thoroughbred horse farms nearby.  Challenging, really, really hilly course. There are no hotels at Keeneland, but there is plenty of parking – it is geared for crowds of thousands after all.  Traffic can back up at the entry.  Lexington has great local dining options. Horse themed medal, Nike tech shirts.  Lots of food at the end and a repeat of the expo with food and gear vendors.  Not many spectators due to the nature of the course. This is good size – enough people to be exciting, but not crowded.  Corrals keep things running smoothly, water stops are well marked and stocked. This one is HARD, but worth it.  Well done and a great way to enjoy horse country.
Papa John’s 10 Miler (Louisville, KY), 4/4/2015 MB, Deborah, Christine (multiple years) Starts and finishes at Papa John’s stadium (home of the Louisville Cardinals), it’s a lollipop, with a 3.5 mile circle through hilly Iroquois Park – don’t think you are done until you go over the bridge by the stadium, it’s a hill!  Finish in the stadium on the track. Logistics are great.  You can register and pick up your number and shirt the morning of, and there is tons of parking at the stadium. Some of the best ever considering the early entry fee is only $30.  Nike tech shirt and the best post-race spread ever, with PowerBar products, local iced tea, fruit, Powerade, and PIZZA! Terrific, with great volunteers.  Plenty of water on the course and seamless packet pickup, start, and organized finish area around the stadium. This is one of MB’s faves – LOVE IT!  Inexpensive, great shirt, course, & goodies after, good distance, and PIZZA!   What more could you want!
OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (Indianapolis, IN), 5/2/2015 Annette, Sandy Nice, flat course through the city, including 2.5 miles on the Indianapolis Speedway Track, so cool!  People were stopping to have their pictures taken kissing the bricks.   Hotels all around the start/finish. But keep in mind this is the nation’s largest half marathon, so there are A LOT of people, 35,000.  So, plan ahead. Long sleeve tech shirt & awesome medal!  There was also plenty of food (cookies, fruit, etc.) at the finish.  Plenty! The picture of good organization.  Wave starts with the lots of corrals.  Bands throughout the course, providing a fun atmosphere – I didn’t even listen to my iPod. Great finish line with a very large area for spectator/runner reunion based on corrals.  Genius!!! Absolutely love this race and would gladly run it again!!!!
Ocean City, MD Island 2 Island Half Marathon/5K, 5/2/2015 Deborah & sister Tricia (2011) Starts from Assateague Island and finishes in OC inlet. FLAT! Plenty of hotels near the boardwalk. Campsites are available at Assateague Park. Parking may be an issue. Medal and tech shirt. Post race party with live music and plenty of food. Great crowd and volunteers, limit is 4,500 runners. Loved this race because I got to run with my sister. I would do it again. This is a popular vacation destination, these people are here to party!
Bourbon Derby (Paris, KY), 6/13/2015 (+ 10 miler, 4 miler) MB, Sandy, Deborah, Annette, Christine (2014) All three distances are lollipops with different “stem” lengths. This starts/finishes at an old drive-in movie theater and meanders through beautiful horse farms, even going through one! While not as hilly as RunTheBluegrass, be prepared, it is constantly, and significantly, rolling. The start/finish is about 20 minutes from Lexington. Parking is plentiful and easy. Tech shirt (not the greatest quality the first year). Fun atmosphere and basic, but plentiful, food at the end. Very picnic like. A few hiccups in the first year should hopefully be worked out (better shirts, correct course distance). But water stops were good, and the size is great. Another good way to experience horse country with a small race. The 3 different distances are great for families/groups. Weather could be an issue, June can be very hot and humid.