3 Half Marathons in Minnesota you Should Run This Summer
Summer is the perfect opportunity to run a half marathon. The weather is nice, there’s tons of daylight, and schedules tend to be a bit more casual. A summer half marathon can be used as a gauge of fitness, or just provide a more interesting long run. If you’ve not run one before, it’s a great first step into racing longer distances.
For the past several years, I’ve taken advantage of summer racing season by running two half marathons. Last summer I surprised myself with a half marathon PR at the Urban Wildland half. I was using it as a long, fast, training run before TCM, but ended up chopping over a minute off my time.
Assuming you have a solid base, you should have enough time to train and finish these. Regardless of what your aspirations are this summer, here are three half marathons you might want to checkout.
Red White and Boom! July 4
This is one of my all time favorite Twin Cities races. I’ve run it every year, including the year it was shortened due to excessive heat, and last year when the big hill left me with a disappointing time. The energy and excitement from this race was a huge lift and the finishing party was amazing.
Hangout all day on St. Anthony Main and get a good spot for the fireworks at night.
The course is a big loop that is beautiful and fun. There’s one stretch that parades runners through industrial North East Minneapolis, and a horrible hill, but otherwise you can expect a scenic run along the river with shaded and flat miles through the neighborhoods of NE and a finish across the stone arch bridge. The perfect way to kickoff Independence weekend!
There is also a relay, and 5k (July 3) and lots of fun race amenities (technical shirts, medals, pint glass, picnic, fireworks). Like all TCM events, it’s well organized, great aid stations and fun entertainment for the whole family.
- Dates: July 4, 6:30 am
- Location: Father Hennepin Park, Minneapolis
- Cost: $65
The Minnesota Half Marathon – August 2
The Minnesota Half marathon really does have something for everyone. Not only is there a traditional half marathon, but there’s also a half marathon skate, relay, skate+run, 5k and kids run.
It’s an out and back course that runs along Shepard road in St. Paul. You can take in views of the river or skyline. There’s live music and you can watch other racers on the opposite side of the course. It’s very well organized and not as crowded as some others in the area.
One racer, Dave, who has been a pacer for the event in the past says,
The inline skaters, especially the professionals, are insane. They race in a pack and the finish line sprint is always very, very close. If anyone were to fall it would be carnage. Also, it is unique in that you can do a “du” – 13.1 mile skate, 5K run.
This race is also part of the Minnesota Running Series. By participating in 4 or more events, you’re eligible to win a soft shell finisher series jacket.
- Dates: Saturday, August 2, 2014.
- Location: St. Paul, MN – along the river
- Cost: $50 (prices go up June 17).
Treasured Haven Veggie Trail Half Marathon – August 10
If you’re looking for something entirely different, look into the Treasured Haven Veggie Trail Half Marathon. About an hour north of the cities, this is a much smaller race than the other two, this is part of a two day event that includes a mile fun run and 5k. Various Finisher Awards are given for the Half Marathon and also awards for top Overall Winners.
This course traverses most of Treasured Haven Farm with “a wide variety of terrain, ravines, hills, woodlands, and grassy fields.” According to race organizers, the course is both “challenging and beautiful.” It’s all off-road, with the exception of a single country road crossing.
One thing that makes this race unique is a central water station. It is intersected multiple times during the race (great for spectators). It’s not a loop, but rather arrives at this spot from various directions. To keep things simple, there’s a table with a water cooler and cups, or you can bring your own marked water bottle and leave it.
Unlike most races, you can register without a getting a race shirt and save a little money.
- Date: Sunday, August 10, 9 am
- Location: Treasured Haven Farm, Rush City, MN
- Cost: $39 (prices go up June 14) or $32 without shirt.
Other Half Marathons in Minnesota
View our complete list of half marathons in Minnesota and find one that fits your schedule. If you need a training plan, we have a free beginner and intermediate plan that’s perfect for running your first 13.1, or setting a new PR.