If you’re planning to run a half marathon in the sunshine state, don’t miss out on these races which are consistently rated as the best in Florida by those who have run them.
Best Damn Race – Cape Coral
The Best Damn Race is held in early December and was designed by runners, for runners.
The event is relatively new so the numbers are smaller than some of the big name marathons; however its popularity is growing fast after some very successful races.
The Best Damn Race is a certified single loop turnaround course that takes you through the magnificent canal neighborhoods of Cape Coral.
The course is fast and flat and winding through residential areas means plenty of local supporters.
Image Source: Best Damn Race Cape Coral
“The course was very well marked, took runners through upscale neighborhoods and had lots of GREAT volunteers and the local police presence for traffic control was impressive. This event was a two hour drive from home but it is easy to consider it a ‘local’ event. Kudos to the race director for a great new event on the west coast of Florida. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. As word gets out I imagine this will grow into a destination race for those that want to head to Florida for an early winter race” – J.M., Marathonguide.com Review
“I have to admit, I went into the race not expecting terribly much. I knew it was going to be on the smaller side, and since it was the very first year the race had been put on, there had to be some hiccups. I can say I was blown away. There were no issues on the course. It was clearly marked, there were plenty of aid stations, ample porto potties, etc. It started on time and the 2 loop course made it easy to know what was coming up next. I really do recommend the race to anyone looking for a fun, no hassle marathon. The course was very spectator friendly. I was able to see my family 7 different times! It was amazing!” – Mary Baum, Food & Fun on the Run
Sarasota Half Marathon & Relay – Sarasota
The Sarasota Half Marathon takes advantage of the gorgeous beaches and natural and historic monuments of Sarasota.
This Half Marathon forms one leg of the Florida Storm Series which totals 101 miles in total. Click here to find out more about Sarasota Half Marathon.
Starting at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall located right on Sarasota Bay, the course is a loop course with scenic views of Centennial Park, Sarasota Bay and The Ringling Museum of Art.
The course is on paved roadways (closed off to traffic) through the town and has 5 aid stations with an overall time limit of 3.5 hours.
Image Source: Sarasota Half Marathon & Relay
“This race is well organized, and features a competitive and fun field! I love running across the Ringling Bridge to St. Armand’s, and then second half, through the Ringling area neighborhoods, really sets itself up for negative splits, if you’re planning on a fast race.” – Krissy M., Yelp Review
“Thank you Sarasota, again. For those of you wondering whether or not this is a race worth running, I couldn’t give the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon a more heartfelt recommendation. Everything about it is pretty freakin’ awesome.” – Hokeyboy., HokeyBlog
Walt Disney Half Marathon – Lake Buena Vista
The Walt Disney Half Marathon is an exciting 13.1 mile run through the Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot (home of the International World Showcase and Future World), with a spectacular finish in the shadow of Spaceship Earth.
The event has entertainment for all ages and is extremely well organized. There are even Disney Characters and running and providing entertainment along the course.
If you really want to test yourself, why not try the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge? Take part in the Half and Full Marathon over a two day period for a total 39.3 miles of fun! Click here to read more about the Walt Disney Half Marathon
Image Source: Walt Disney World Magic
Starting at Epcot, the course winds through the Magic Kingdom including Tomorrowland and Cinderella Castle, and then finally finishing back at Epcot again.
The course is essentially flat and fully paved with 9 drink and 5 food stops along the route.
“Disney does it right….there were portapotties along the way, water/Gatorade stations as well as First Aid, etc. This is probably the most organized and well executed race I have participated in. I felt more than hydrated. Another reason why you’re paying the amount of $$ for that particular race. Disney will take care of you.” – Cecille R., Yelp Review
“The Disney and course organizers did a solid job to make the race weekend a memorable experience. I did the Goofy Challenge and was pleased. The positives include the large and attractive medals, pleasant volunteers, crowd excitement, the course itself, and detailed race and event instructions.” – D.H., Marathonguide Review
Key West Half Marathon – Key West
The Key West Half Marathon has been going for over 17 years and is Ranked #3 in Runner’s World Bucket List: 10 Designation Half Marathons!
Key West is an island holiday destination known for its palm lined streets, Victorian homes and amazing sunsets. Click here to find out more about the Key West Half Marathon.
The halfathon is a turnaround course, starting and finishing at the Key West Historic Seaport. The course for the most part follows the waterfront offering views of amazing beaches, piers and the southern-most house in the USA.
The turnaround course is slightly different to the outbound course which is great for maintaining focus and interest in the surrounding views.
Image Source: Key West Half Marathon
“My first half marathon, and I had an amazing time! Despite the crazy weather, you pulled it all together and made it a great experience. A huge thank you to all the volunteers who came out to offer support along the route. Overall, the course had beautiful views, the after party was fun, and everyone-coordinators, volunteers, and other runners-were friendly and encouraging!” – Robyn Potanas, Key West Half Marathon & 5K Run Facebook Page
“I love this race! Despite the yucky weather I still had a fantastic time again this year. The course is great! I really love seeing so much of Key West from the runners perspective and the after party…. WOW! Even the damp weather early in the day couldn’t ruin this event!” – Lori Waldee-Warden, Key West Half Marathon & 5K Run Facebook Page
A1A Half Marathon – Ft. Lauderdale
From the Florida Keys to Daytona Beach, this marathon makes for a scenic route! The A1A Half Marathon is held in February along the coast of Fort Lauderdale.
Don’t worry you won’t be dodging traffic as the road will be dedicated to runners and walkers. Click here to read more
As the name suggests, this marathon is run primary along Florida State Road A1A and is a point to point course that begins at the Museum of Discovery & Science, takes you past Birch State Park, and finishes at the South Beach Park.
You can expect temperatures from 60-75 degrees and 7 well stocked hydration stations will keep you going. The course carries a 6 hour time limit.
Image Source: Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon
“Awesome course…great scenery! Loved how there were cops visible and present at every intersection giving the runners and walkers the right of way…only thing I’d suggest is having out a GU gel at like Mile marker 8 or so for the half and whatever you feel best for the full…other than that, had a blast for my first time doing this race. Will definitely do it again.” – Abdiela Sanz., Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon and Half Marathon Facebook Review
“I have run this half marathon every year and enjoy showcasing beautiful areas of my home city. The start in downtown with festive lights along the boulevard, the gorgeous view of the sunrise from the bridge approaching the ocean and the remaining miles with ocean, intercoastal and park views provide a perfect venue for resident runners and visitors. The volunteers are terrific as are the police who monitor the course. This is the biggest turnout I have experienced in all the years I have participated. Every year I have complained about the T shirt. Finally, and I thank the race committee the T shirt was great! Thank you for a fun event!” – J. T., Marathonguide.com Review
Miami Half Marathon – Miami
The Miami Marathon is a sizable event with thousands of runners following a scenic course among famous landmarks and beautiful beachfront. Click here to read more about the Miami Marathon.
Image Source: The Miami Marathon
Like much of Miami, the course is essentially flat and follows the exact course of the marathoners until the last 800 m. Starting at American Airlines Arena, crossing MacArthur Causeway, through Miami Beach and finishing at Bayfront Park.
Over 20 entertainment stations keep the atmosphere lively, and the race infrastructure for this certified course is excellent, with regular digital time clocks, well signed routes, and plenty of medical and refreshment stations.
“This was THE BEST half marathon I’ve ever run. Granted, I’ve only run 2 other halfs before this one….Reasons:- Early morning race means you get to see the sun rise in front of you!- You run next to the beach- You run next to the boats- You run next to palm trees- Spinning medal and Romero Britto ribbon! (2015)- DELICIOUS PINEAPPLES during the race – refreshing after 11 miles and got me through the next 2.- Enough water stations, gatorade gels, snacks along the route- Music along the route keeps you going- SO scenic (did I mention that already?)- Free rice and beans after the race- Fruit cups!!!!! mandarin oranges, peaches, all the dole products!- Broke my PR :)” – Elsie W., Yelp Review
“It almost feels like two different races. The first half is crowded and basically consists of going to Miami Beach, running Ocean Drive and back. After the half-marathoners peel off, the route will take you through some unexpectedly quiet Miami neighborhoods for a different feeling. I like it.” – N.C., Marathonguide.com
Clearwater Distance Classic Half Marathon
Great for a mid-winter break in sunny Florida, the Clearwater Distance Classic is run in January and offers a scenic course in usually ideal conditions.
Said to be the most challenging half marathon in Florida, the halfathon has two ascents of two steep bridges which connect Clearwater to the barrier islands.Click here to read more
Starting at Coachman Park on the waterfront, this turnaround course takes you over the Clearwater Bridge and along the Clearway Causeway; over the Sand Key Bridge to Sand Key Park for beautiful views of the white sandy beach, before finally returning via Clearwater Bridge to Coachman Park.
Image Source: Clearwater Distance Classic
“Overall a good marathon experience for me…Beautiful weather (I’m from the north where the winter has been brutal); a 40ish start and low 60s finish felt spectacular ….I felt like the course was pretty much flat; the only ‘hills’ being climbing several bridges; also the scenery, especially at sunrise time running over the first big bridge and near the beaches, etc; nice scenery….cool medals at finish w the starfish on it…people out supporting the race were very friendly….many aid stations on the course….the police, etc out there did a great job controlling traffic on the course for us runners….easy parking on race day fairly close to start/finish….lots of music, chairs to sit in, etc after finishing.” – David Weiss, Marathonguide.com Review
“I can not believe what we accomplished yesterday ! The whole experience from beginning to end was an amazing test of endurance & passion!” – Georgia Malpartida, Clearwater Distance Classic Facebook Page
Starlight Half Marathon – Palm Coast
This marathon is unlike all other marathons because it’s a night time race during the pre-Christmas festivities. Prepare to be entertained as you make your way through this decorated holiday town with festive lights and music.
This is also one of the few marathons that offer a Virtual Race Option, where you can participate at an alternate locations. Click here to find out more about the Triumph Endurance Event Starlight Half Marathon
Image Source: Triumph Endurance Events
The course is run at night time, commencing around 6pm. The course navigates the town center main roadways which are gorgeously decorated for Christmas festivities.
The course is a loop based course with a trail portion, Leigh Trail, which is paved and tree lined. Be ready for the “snowy” finish line as well!
Headlamps may be required depending on conditions.
“Just wanted to thank you! I ran the half Saturday night with a group of friends and we had a blast! It was very DARK – but thanks to the group and a lot of head lamps we were find and I got a PR. The post race food was awesome! Definitely would run this one again!” – Anna Williams, Starlight Half Marathon and 5K Facebook Page
“The Startlight Half Marathon is advertised as a race “not like any other race around” and I will say I have to agree with that. I’ve never ran a race on the dark, that’s for sure. Even the medal is different than any of the others on my bling rack in that it glows in the dark. The wording on the shirt glows in the dark too adding to the cool factor!” – Debi, 2014 and Beyond
Florida Marathon – Melbourne
Held a month after the popular Disney Marathon, the Florida Half Marathon is run in Melbourne on Florida’s Space Coast.
If you feel like pushing yourself, take the Floridiot Challenge and run either or both the 5k and 8k on Saturday, and the half or full marathon on Sunday to receive a special medallion produced by The HIghland Mint. Click here to read more!
The course is largely flat with the exception of two bridges and almost the entire length is ocean or river front, making for a beautiful course.
Half marathoners and full marathoners run the same course, however the full marathon is two laps.
Aid stations are available at almost every mile marker, and over 20 bands along the course keep the atmosphere lively.
Image Source: The Florida Marathon
“I ran the 1/2, the Marathon is a double loop. Came from the northeast for the race, and was not very familiar with the area.Nice small expo on the barrier island. Race starts and finishes in a park on the mainland. Weather was very unusual at 46F and steady 20 MPH winds. It was a cold bitter morning. Would normally be in 60’s.Two bridges are basically the only two hills. Course does not run along the ocean – it’s not an especially scenic race. Police and volunteers were very nice. Pacer for 1:55 could not have been more consistent – amazing given the high wind.” – C. P., Marathonguide.com Review
“This event has vastly improved since I ran it a couple years ago. There was plenty of food and beer at the finish even for 5+ hour finishers. Food included pancakes, sausage, pizza, several kinds of fresh fruit, and craft beer. The pre- and post-race gatherings are now at a nice waterfront park.” – Seth Elsheimer, Marathonguide.com Review
Florida Beach Halfathon & 5k Race – Tierra Verde
The Annual Florida Beach Halfathon and 5K Race is relatively new but is already attracting athletes of all abilities. This is also one of the marathons in the Florida Halfathon Challenge, which also include the Halloween, Holiday and Clearwater races.
The Halloween and Florida Beach halfathon courses are identical giving you the opportunity to beat your PB. Click here to read more
The Halfathon is a turnaround course with a total of 7 aid stations. The run is held in the beautiful Ft. De Soto Park and is totally flat. Post race celebrations are plentiful with live music and home made pasta.
Image Source: Florida Beach Halfathon
“Just wanted to let you know that this was my first half marathon. It was an extremely well organized and great event. From check-in to water stations, to volunteers to finish line, etc. It was all done top-notch. It made the first time experience of 13.1 an enjoyable one for me. Plus all the “goodies” at the finish line and the area for the finish (especially for those with families like me) was a great spot for viewing and recovering! GREAT JOB!!! Thanks for making it a memorable first half.” – Sharon Ness, Northport., Florida Beach Halfathon Review
“Race was great yesterday. It was my first half marathon and you guys did an awesome job. Will definitely be back next year. Thanks again.” – Steve Largo, Sarasota Florida Beach Halfathon Review