13.1 Reasons to Run a Half Marathon

Running a half marathon is both a physical and mental challenge. Physically, there are hours of training that take place before race day. Mentally, you have to tell yourself to keep going even when everything in you wants to stop. 

Yet, maybe you still aren’t sure if you’re up for the challenge. If that’s the case, here are 13.1 reasons to run a half marathon.

 1. Take Your Running and Fitness to the Next Level

While it’s not impossible to run a half marathon without training, we definitely don’t recommend it. This is where months of training come into play! 

If you’re looking to take your cardiovascular fitness to the next level or even lose a bit of weight, improve your mental health, training for a half marathon is probably going to get you there. It involves months of training, not to mention the final big event (aka race day).

2. Make New Friends

Since the training for a half marathon is much more intensive when compared to a 5k or 10k, it offers a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people. 

If you join a running group, you, quite literally, spend hours with the same people. This means you might just make a few new friends along the way which last long past the finish line. 

3. See New Places

Looking for an excuse to travel? Have you been wanting to check out that next big city in the state over? Sign up for the half marathon! Doing so gives you a great reason to travel and take a run-cation. 

Plus, there are some pretty cool places that hold annual half marathons, including Vegas, Salt Lake City, Miami, and more. Even the Great Wall of China has it’s own half marathon.

Moonlight on the Falls Marathon, Half Marathon, Quarter Marathon, Relay, and Ultramarathon
Starting Line at the Moonlight on the Falls Marathon at Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia

4. Get One Step Closer to a Full Marathon

If your ultimate goal is a marathon, starting with a half gives you the stepping stone you need to take your mileage up a notch. Once you conquer the half, you, somewhat, know what to expect for a marathon. You can also continue amping it up by signing up for 30k races or any other mileage in between.

5. Give Yourself Some Serious YOU Time

If there’s anything the last couple of years have taught us, it’s that taking care of yourself and your mental health is of the utmost importance. You can’t give your best without feeling your best. 


While training for a half marathon is very much a physical endeavor, it also provides plenty of time for you to de-stress, mentally unwind, and feel good about yourself.

6. Gain Some Killer Swag

Who doesn’t love some great race swag? With many half marathons, you get awesome t-shirts, hoodies, finisher medals, and more. So, if you’re looking for reasons to run a half marathon… This could be it! 


You can even flaunt your swag after the fact, providing a great icebreaker or conversation starter at your next gathering, party, or event. Additionally, accumulating that collection of various race medals is ultra empowering.

7. It’s an Excuse to Party!

Ask any runner: The post-race party is where it’s at. If you run a half marathon, you’ve earned a brew or whatever else you wish to indulge in. Inevitably, healthy food is also an option. 


But you deserve to let loose! Many finish lines have a post-race party filled with snacks and music galore. Many of them also feature free beer. So, if you need an excuse to have fun, a half marathon might just fit the bill. 

8. You’re Less Likely to Injure Yourself When Compared to a Full Marathon

Are you looking for reasons to run a half marathon over a full marathon? Distance aside, injuries are less likely during a half marathon when compared to a full marathon. 


Simply put, your body experiences 50% less stress during a half marathon. All in all, it’s just a much more manageable distance and training regime.

9. You’ll Burn Tons of Calories

Within those 13.1 miles, you can burn between 1000 to 1600 calories. The exact number entirely depends on your weight, metabolism, running intensity, and other factors. Yet, if your goal is weight loss, this could top your reasons to run a half marathon. You’re bound to achieve some serious caloric burn.

Canaan Valley Half Marathon in Canaan Valley State Park, West Virginia

10. There are Health Benefits!

Besides maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight, you also reap some other serious health benefits. You improve your cardiovascular and respiratory health. And while, yes, this improves your overall fitness. It is also an excellent way to reduce your blood pressure or keep your cholesterol levels under wraps.

11. Afterward, You Have Bragging Rights

Want a reason to boost your confidence? Something to make you feel empowered and capable? A half marathon is it. 


The half marathon is also a completely achievable goal. With a few hours of training a week, you could run this distance in a matter of months. Then, afterward, you can brag all you want about crossing that finish line!

12. You Could Support a Cause

When it comes to reasons to run a half marathon, there’s almost no better reason than supporting a worthwhile cause. From cancer to your local children’s hospital, you can easily find a half marathon with a good cause to support. 

13. Training Won’t Cost You Anything (Or Almost)

The most you need is a good pair of running shoes. There’s no membership fee or insane equipment costs. Realistically, running is one of the most affordable types of exercise to get into. We also definitely recommend incorporating some simple at-home strength training and stretching into your routine as well. Both of those are also FREE.


So, there you have it: 13.1 reasons to run a half marathon. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to sign up and get training!

Picture of Robby McClung

Robby McClung

This article was written by the editorial staff of the Canaan Valley Running Company and Robby McClung. Robby is the founder of the Canaan Valley Running Company. You can read more in the about section of the website on Robby and the Canaan Valley Running Company.

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