Against the advisement of veteran runner-friends, I recently ran three half-marathons in a span of seven weeks. (Results: 1:52:02 at Corporate Cup, 1:47:39 at ING Georgia, 1:49:44 at RaceFest.)
It's a great distance. It's serious enough to feel like an accomplishment, and allows you to employ more strategy than the short distances -- but doesn't require the punishing training of a marathon (or a long, painful post-race recovery).
For Charlotteans, though, 13.1-mile races become hard to find now that RaceFest is over. The rest of the spring and all of summer seem devoid of them. All I see on the horizon is the Dowd Y Run, a half/5K that goes off from the YMCA at the southern edge of uptown ... on Nov. 7.
In the meantime, if you want to cover the popular middle distance with a race bib and a chip timer on, you're gonna need to make road trip. Not a long and involved one -- but there'll be a little driving involved. Here are some upcoming half-marathon options that aren't too far afield:
- Well-trained enough to take on one this coming weekend? Saturday's North Carolina Marathon has a 13.1-mile race. And because the event has been moved from Greensboro to High Point, the course will be new to everyone (the 26.2-mile route, by the way, is a Boston Marathon qualifier). Start time is 7 a.m. More than 1,700 runners are signed up, and proceeds will support programs and services to benefit foster children in Guilford County. Registration for the half is $60. For more info, click here.
- Also being run on a brand-new course is the Inside-Out Sports Classic in Cary, scheduled for Sunday, May 17. The route will cover roads, trails and greenways in Cary and at Umstead State Park. More than 1,000 runners are expected for the half and 10K, with the crowds mitigated somewhat because the half goes off at 7 and the 10K doesn't start until 7:15. Proceeds from the race will support several local causes. Registration for the half is $45. For more info, click here.
- Then on Saturday, June 6, there's the Charity Chase Half Marathon and Relay in Hickory. If you're looking for something small, this is your best bet: Typically it draws just a few hundred runners. It's also a good one for partners: In the relay division, teams of two run 6.5 miles each. 7 a.m. start, with a post-race party at the Hickory Crawdads' game -- they're a Class A minor-league baseball team. Proceeds will benefit local charities. Registration is $40. For more info, click here.