Best Half Marathons In Colorado – Runner’s Choose Colorado’s Top Half Marathons

If you're planning to run a half marathon in Colorado, don't miss out on these races which are consistently rated the best by those who have run them.

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Desert R.A.T.S. Trailrunning Half Marathon - Fruita

Runner's World crowned this event, which is part of 4 races (from 5 to 50 miles) and lasts for 3 days, the Best Trail Festival, while Active called it "One of the world's most scenic half marathons". If you're up for a challenge then this race is for you. 

The Course

The course is a typical trail: expect rocky gullies, twists and turns, big climbs, steep segments and descents. Not for the faint of heart.

Desert Rats Elevation Profile

Image Source: Gemini Adventures


"Mary’s Loop was definitely my favorite part. For starters, it's relatively flat compared to the other sections, and second of all, it's GORGEOUS! You're running right along a ridge line with views of the Colorado River below. I definitely had to stop a few times for pictures."​ - Kate,

"The views out here are AMAZING - I love western Colorado SO MUCH. The climbing was pretty steep and I had a rough few miles although it was not as bad as I think I anticipated. The view at the top though?? SO WORTH IT. I could pretty much see forever."​ - Becka,

Fear the Deer Half Marathon - Littleton

This half marathon prides itself on being the toughest of its kind out there. According to the official website, "This is a race for trail junkies and burning leg lovers. It's for beginners who want to accomplish something tough and hardened athletes pushing their limits." That being said, the views are incredible, and there are plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of wildlife, from mountain lions and bears to elk and turkeys.

The Course​

The out-and-back loop course lives up to its reputation: there's around 2,800 feet of elevation gain, and the trail is rocky and hilly. The uphill segments are steep, but there are also plenty of "quad bustin' downhills". 

Fear the Deer Half Marathon Elevation Profile

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"The race is deemed the "toughest trail 1/2 on the front range." THAT would turn out to be an accurate assessment. But it was a pretty, pretty, PRETTY course and the volunteers were awesome. The pose race food was PHENOMENAL!" - Becka,​

The aid station volunteers were the best. Bundled up in winter coats, gloves and knit hats, they cheered as runners came blazing through. The cowbells and clapping kept the mood festive and all that feel-good excitement on a beautiful Saturday morning contributed to the magic of the day. The race is well priced, has a fabulous venue, great race directors who understand the idiosyncrasies of the terrain, and is destined to become a hidden gem in the trail running world." -Jerry,​

Run the Rockies Road Half Marathon - Frisco

This is a race in an absolutely stunning location, with incredible views of the Ten Mile Range and Lake Dillon. It promises to be a great experience for a first time half-marathoner or anyone who's never done a trail race before. 

The Course​

You have to be used to high-elevation running for this half marathon, as Frisco is 9,000 feet up in the Rockies. You'll be running on both dirt trails and paved surfaces. That being said, the course is quite fact, according to the official website

Run the Rockies Half Marathon Elevation Profile

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"The course was JUST GORGEOUS, and it was well-marked with a marker at every mile. I really like the glass mug that we got as a finisher piece. And there was really GOOD beer at the finish from Backcountry Brewery. There was also pizza!" - Becka,​

"I really enjoyed the small mountain feel to the race. There were no big sponsors, no people taking home a paycheck and well-loved a-frame start sign. I think the winner got a pair of shoes. Its little things like that that make Run the Rockies a very fun race. I’m very certain I’ll be back." - Gundrted,​

Slacker Half Marathon​ - Georgetown

As the name suggests, this is a half marathon for all the slackers out there. So if you're too lazy to run up hills, this is the event for you, as it's the highest downhill half marathon in the US. Take in wetlands, waterfalls and views of the Continental Divide, and when you reach the finish line, you'll find "more freebies than you know what to do with", according to the race website

The Course​

The point-to-point course is downhill, downhill and more downhill. It kicks off at 10,630 feet and the rolling descent ends at 8,400 feet. The course extends along paved frontage roads and a paved bike trail.

Slacker Half Marathon Elevation Profile

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"I think I went through every emotion known to man during this race - nerves, stress, frustration, pure and total exhaustion, excitement, and joy to name a few! It was a pretty cool experience that I will never forget. It was a beautiful scenic course, has a great price point and lots of aid stations!" - Kate,

"The course was really gorgeous (although a little warm – that can’t be helped), and well-organized. I’d definitely do it again!" - Andrea,​

La Sportiva Vail Half Marathon - Vail

This event is part of a race running series that was named Best Race Series back in 2005 and in 2008, and the half marathon specifically was named Most Scenic Race in 2010 by Colorado Runner magazine. 

The Course​

This is a point-to-point trail half marathon is very challenging, and includes an elevation change of 4,000 feet, rolling hills, steep descents, twists and turns and uneven terrain. Half-marathoners run on rocks, tree roots, dirt and grass.

La Sportiva Vail Half Marathon Elevation Profile

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"This was more of a fun run for me… I had blast and would definitely do it again." - J.D.,

"It’s an incredible but super tough trail run straight up Vail Mountain! The pros were the amazing views, stunning wildflowers, a true work out for the quads, great volunteers, 5 great aid stations, well kept trails, minimal downhill running, and you get to ride the gondola back down to Vail and enjoy more views!" - Ken,​

Black Squirrel Half Marathon - Fort Collins

This half marathon, which comprises both technical and non-technical trails, is held in Lory State Park, and the views of Fort Collins, the Great Plains and Horsetooth Reservoir are truly breathtaking. Bring the family along, as there is a free 1-mile kid's trail race and a post-race BBQ.

The Course​

Between miles 2 and 6, runners will climb 1,500 feet and then descend the same distance during the next 2.5 miles. The last 4 miles of the course is gently rolling singletrack, mainly dirt and rock.

Black Squirrel Half Marathon Course Profile

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"I ran both the Black Squirrel Trail 1/2 and the Blue Sky Trail marathon this year. Both offered challenging courses, sweeping views and excellent race support, as well as delicious post race food, and desirable prizes. If you like to climb, as I'm discovering that I do, you'll love these races." - Emily, Facebook Review​

"As a back of the pack runner, I loved this race. The aid stations were well stocked, and it was cool to get a pint glass at the end." - Becka,

Denver Rock n Roll Half Marathon

Like the Columbus Marathon, the Akron Marathon also benefits the local children's hospital - which means you're running for a good cause. Typically held in September, the race gets capped at just over 2,000 runners to keep it at a manageable size. ​Click here to learn more or to register.

The Course​

The race runs through downtown Akron, and then takes you out into the neighborhoods surrounding. To wrap up, you finish at Canal Park Stadium - home to Akron's minor league baseball team. ​Overall there are some rolling hills throughout, but one steep incline and decline that come in the second half of the race that you'll need to contend with. 

Akron Marathon Map


"Great event. Good expo. The course itself was pretty good, but not overly scenic (very flat though). It was my first half marathon and overall had a very good experience. Also really liked the medal." - Homer S., Yelp Review

"This was my first real big race and I thought the event organizers did a great job! Also, mad props to the spectators along the course. They really kept the motivation going for my first 13.1 in the places in between the bands. I loved the little kids out wanting high fives from strangers too - so rad! Overall, kudos to Rock 'n' Roll on a job well done!" - Jessica M., Yelp Review

XXX Marathon - Fort Collins

As they proudly say on their website, "This is sure to be a marathon that will challenge you." In fact, this may be the most challenging marathon on our list of the best marathons in Ohio. The setting is beautiful - taking place inside of Burr Oak State Park, usually in early November.

The Course 

90% of the course is natural trails, and only 10% is paved. As you can see from the map below, you spend a lot of time on trails that are very close to the lake. ​There are a number of short, but steep hills to contend with and people who run this race often describe it as a "technical" trail run. 

Bobcat Trail Map


"Burr Oak State Park is a well-kept secret, and provides a beautiful and challenging landscape for a trail marathon. The hills are relentless - short, but steep - with lots of technical terrain in between." - Dan, Review

"The Bobcat Marathon is definitely not for the faint of heart. It is a difficult, hilly, and somewhat technical trail run but provides great views of Hocking Hills and the Burr Oak Lake. The race was well-supported with aid stations every 4-5 miles. And even though it rained the previous day, the course was fairly dry. I would definitely run this race again." - Joe, Review

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