Marathons can be dull once you have completed one or two – especially when most of them are organized to be run on pavement.
Well, pavement is the easiest ground to run on, but why are most marathons conducted in built up areas with nothing to see?
Texas is the largest state in the US, so it stands to reason that there are so many places to explore and enjoy throughout it!
Marathons here are conducted on sand, dirt, sometimes pavement, and more. Plus, you can see some amazing sights and explore the largest state on foot.
Some of the half marathons held in Texas are unique to any others in the world, so to experience the best of the best, we highly recommend you visit Texas on a runcation.
Today we’re looking at 20 of the best half marathons to join while in Texas.
Texas’ Best Half Marathons In Spring
Some people say that spring is the best time to complete a half marathon as it’s not too warm, everything is in bloom, wildlife is returning back out of hibernation, and the vibe is just light and fun.
Here are some of the best half marathons in Texas through March to April.
Crazy Desert Trail Run
This race is held on the second Saturday of March and highlights even more of the open plains that Texas has to offer.
This race, along with the 50k and 100k, all start in the San Angelo State Park, central to Texas.
What is so fun about this course is that it is full of desert landscapes and hills. It certainly isn’t easy, but the sights you’ll see along the way make it more than worth it.
Camping in the state park makes it easy for you to see more of the area during your stay, such as the amazing views from Fisher Lake, local communities, prehistoric dinosaur tracks, and animals such as Texas longhorns and bison!
Outlaw Half Marathon
This race is set in the charming town of Luckenbach, which is a small country town outside of Fredericksburg.
You can compete in it during the first Saturday of April, and many racers marvel at how small yet beautiful the town is.
Sometimes the deer might even come out to prance throughout the fields as you run past them!
If you’re looking for a serene and peaceful half marathon to enjoy the springtime in, this is the one for you.
There is an afterparty at the finish line, with local beer and plenty of barbecue to go around.
This is held on the picnic benches in the middle of Luckenbach. After you have finished celebrating at the afterparty, visit the neighboring town of Fredericksburg and hike at the Enchanted Rock, or visit one of the many wineries or antique shops.
Divas Half Marathon
This is an event full of energy and excitement, and it is also rather glamorized as an incentive for people to join.
You’ll see some of the lovely beaches and boardwalks that Texas offers, as well as the highly visited Moody Gardens. This event takes place on the last Sunday in April.
Explore Galveston once the race has finished, grabbing a bite to eat in one of the local restaurants with a seaside view.
Alternatively, visit the Schlitterbahn Park, or venture further out towards the Gulf Coast with beaches like Jamaica Beach, Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, or Anahuac Wildlife Refuge.
This race is in San Antonio and includes many historical views and opportunities to learn within it!
This race is held on the first Sunday in March, and the beginning of the race is signaled with the sound of a cannon.
You’ll pass a number of interesting cultural landmarks such as the Majestic Theater that was built in 1929.
You’ll also pass the River Walk and the San Antonio River, as well as the Missions National Historical Park.
The race ends at the Alamo, where there is a party for all of the competitors!
the party, why not relax with a stroll down the River Walk and allow your muscles to rest!
Here you’ll be able to see even more unique architecture that has been inspired by that of Spain.
Bearathon Half Marathon
The ‘Bear’ of this half marathon’s name comes from Baylor University’s mascot, which is a bear.
The race begins in the McLane Stadium owned by the university. This race takes place on the 4th Saturday of March, and you will be running along the Brazos river, through Cameron Park, and fishing the race over Waco Steel Bridge.
This course is full of great sights and forests to explore on your own once the race is over, or you could even learn more about the university.
Once you have completed the race, Cameron Park has unlimited space to explore for the rest of the day. Several hundred acres, to be exact!
Alternatively, you might prefer to take a tour of the McLane Stadium or Baylor University
Others enjoy relaxing at Waco Lake instead, with a trip down to Magnolia Market Silos.
This race takes place just opposite the Colorado Bend State Park, which is arguably one of the best state parks in Texas.
You can also compete in a 100km, 50km, 100km relay, or a 50km relay here. These races, along with the half marathon, all take place on the first weekend of March.
This race is named Tinajas thanks to the rock formations local to the area, which have eroded and now store water.
Colorado Bend is one of the best places for people interested in geology, so this might just be the ideal race for you!
There are many other unique and historical towns to visit around Colorado Bend, such as Burnet, Lampasas, and Llano.
However, you’ll also be close enough to visit the bigger cities such as Austin.
Texas’ Best Half Marathons In Summer
There are not many half marathons held during the summers in Texas, as temperatures can get dangerously hot to runners.
If you are interested in running a half marathon in the summer, then we do have one suggestion for you – but make sure that you are cautious and train properly for it to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation!
Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon
The half marathon is only one part of the entire Plano Balloon Festival taking place in the northern city of Plano.
This festival is held on the third weekend of September and is made from amazing hot air balloons lifting off and lighting up the Texan sky.
You can choose between a half marathon, 1k fun run, 5k, or even 10k run. There are no longer races due to the safety of the runners with the heat.
The festival is an amazing place to visit in Texas, and the half marathon option is just a bonus.
Compete in the race and then enjoy your runner’s high while partying at the festival and enjoying the balloons filling up the sky.
Texas’ Best Half Marathons In Fall
In contrast to summer, some people find that fall is the best time to train and complete a half marathon.
With the temperatures falling and rain starting to drizzle in, there are many more half marathons to compete in around Texas during the months October through November.
Barrier Island Ultra
This race is held on the second Saturday of November on the remote Gulf island of Mustang.
This race has trails for half marathon, 5k, 10k, marathon, 50k, and 50 mile distances.
Mustang Island is a part of the biggest underdeveloped barrier island in the world, and it gets its name from the wild horses that live on it.
The coast of Mustang Island is also home to sea turtles and is used as their nesting grounds.
Once you have completed the race (after enjoying some of the best coastline views in the United States) you can explore the island state park as well as other amazing places in the Gulf.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many runners, so why not take part?
Dallas Marathon And Half
The Dallas half marathon is a fan favorite among Texas, and many travel far and wide to participate.
This was even more spurred on by the recent 2018 revamp of the course! This race offers half marathon, ultra marathon, marathon, 5k, 10k, 2 mile walk, relay, and kids race distances.
The race is considered the largest marathon in Texas and it is loved by many.
Thousands of runners come from all over the country to compete in this one marathon each year.
Again, this is a highly energetic race with lots of support and cheering from the sidelines, as well as a communal atmosphere amongst the runners.
The track takes you through historic neighborhoods and past many landmarks.
Once the race is over, you can unwind and celebrate in one of the many options of nightlife, dining experiences, or even museums.
The Dallas World Aquarium is a great experience to consider, with an immersive rainforest section! Some of Texas’ biggest sporting events are held at Dallas, so you might be able to get tickets for one of these as well.
The Franklin Mountains Trail Run
El Paso is one of the most underrated places in the great state of Texas, and so this race is an excellent way to get more people exploring the area.
The Franklin Mountains Trail Run is challenging with plenty of elevated stretches, but it is one of the best places to rock climb and hike in the US.
In fact, once you have completed this half marathon, we bet that you’ll want to come back and explore more of El Paso for yourself!
This race is held at Franklin Mountains State Park on the second Sunday in November. The park is secluded with lots of campsites and low light pollution for better stargazing.
You can compete in the half marathon, 50k, 27k, 10k, 5k, or the ‘King/ Queen of the Mountain’, which is a race composed of a 5 hour time limit, expected to run between 5k and 15k in distance.
You can camp in the state park and be awakened to plenty of runners getting ready for their races, with some starting at 7am. The courses will run through the park, so you’ll also be able to watch the races as well.
The course will challenge you with some rugged mountain terrain and elevation.
The race is full of local cuisine and food trucks for you to enjoy, and many of the competitors will stay in the park for the weekend. This gives it a lovely communal feel.
Once you’re finished with the race you can explore Hueco Tanks State Park which is amazing for rock climbing as well as bike paths and hiking trails.
You can also join the Tin Mines hiking expedition to visit the only tin mines still in existence within the US, and you can even go inside.
The Haunted Half Austin
The Haunted Half Austin is one of the most interesting and unique races that you can partake in Texas, and it runs through a ghost town in Manor.
The Western-styled theme park does have its fair share of historical mites with the old West.
Residents of the town claim that the original 1800s town burned to the ground, and when the new owner began his plans to build the theme park, they dug up original wood from underneath the burned town.
Strange happenings then started to occur – but that’s all we’ll tell you about! You’ll have to run the race to find out more…
This race is held on the last Sunday of October and many runners dress up in Halloween costumes.
Once the race has finished, why not explore the theme park and more of the ghost stories that the locals have to offer?
Texas’ Best Half Marathons In Winter
Winter runs through December to February, and Texas offers some of their most challenging half marathons in this season.
ost of the holiday-goers will have gone home, so only a few people are left and willing to take part in these races.
Make sure that you layer your clothing up properly so that you don’t get too cold during your half marathon, and take the challenge of a lifetime!
Santa Hustle Half And 5k
This race is held on the second Sunday of December and can be found in Galveston, which holds summer vibes all throughout the year and therefore is a perfect place to hold a half marathon during the winter.
Choose between the half marathon course or the 5k course.
The Santa Hustle is the best way to get your holiday hat on – literally! When you register, you will receive a santa hat, a santa hoodle, and a santa beard that you have to wear on the run! You will be running alongside thousands of other santas!
After the run you will be treated to cookies, candy, and there will be Christmas carols playing throughout the day.
Once you have had some Christmas fun, you can visit the Galveston beach, where there is a pier full of childhood fun, or take a look at the infamous Moody Gardens.
Border To Badlands Ultra
This half marathon is held every year in Seminole Canyon State Park, on the third weekend of February.
It highlights one of the most secluded yet interesting state parks in Texas, so it’s certainly worth checking out. In fact, it’s named the second largest desert in North America!
Compete in the half marathon, or challenge yourself further with a 5k, 10k, marathon, 50k, or even 50 mile track.
With so many courses to try, this is a great track to come back to every year and push yourself a little harder.
The Chihuahuan Desert is now isolated and contains the Seminole Canyon, cave art dating back to prehistoric times, the Rio Grande river, hiking, and even campsites.
Don’t forget your passport, because after the race you can take a trip to the border town of Del Rio and visit Mexico for a few hours!
Alternatively, you could visit Big Bend National Park, which isn’t far from the western side of Seminole Canyon State Park.
Want to run a race through Fort Worth? Then we have the one for you – Cowtown Marathon is the place to be on the last Sunday in February!
For an extra challenge try the marathon, 5k or 10k alternative tracks.
You’ll be able to enjoy views of Trinity River, the Fort Worth stockyards, Main Street, and other iconic sights.
This is a lively event that brings all of the runners together in an energetic haze.
Once completing the race you can visit the Stockyards, check out the Cowboy Hall of Fame, try your hand at a rodeo, or celebrate with some of the best Texan barbecue from one of the downtown restaurants.
The Urban Ultra Dallas
The Urban Ultra Dallas is a building within the Dallas skyline, and it is impressive to anyone who gets to marvel at it.
Not only do you get to enjoy the skyline as you’re running, but you also get to enjoy the sunset.
That’s right, this race begins at sunset and follows the Skyline Trail on the last Saturday of January.
This trail is flat so that you can run faster, with plenty of energy offered from all of the runners. Think of this one not so much as a half marathon, but as a party!
There are also 5k, 10k, 50k, and marathon courses along the same strip, so the half marathon course is the smallest of them all.
It is a good taster into what the rest of these courses are like, so you can always come back and try another one.
Throughout the race, you will go from day to night and therefore be able to see the skyline transition from magnificent buildings to a wondrous twinkling of lights.
The running surface is both paved and trail, so you’ll never get bored of just one. Make sure you take your headlight!
Dallas is full of museums to look through after the race, as well as lovely restaurants to try local cuisine.
You can also visit some more rural places to explore such as the Oak Cliff Nature Reserve or the Cedar Ridge Preserve.
Missions Heritage Half
If you’re visiting Texas on the second Saturday of February, you can take part in the Missions Heritage Half marathon!
This is included within the number of distances you can complete, such as the 5k, 10k, and even a children’s fun run. There is something for everyone here!
Taking part in this half marathon will allow you to follow in the footsteps of some of the earliest history of Texas, winding along the remaining Spanish Missions in San Antonio.
This course is flat and therefore quick, and you can even earn your personal record on this course.
Take your entire family for a day out to explore the Spanish Missions, and all have a go at competing in a race!
After you finish, learn more about the local culture by visiting the Market Square or take the tour of the Missions.
You could even take the family out to the Restored By Light light show in Mission San Jose after dark.
Spicewood Vineyards Half
Another fan favorite half marathon, the Spicewood Vineyards is a peaceful option that gives you an insight into Texas Hill Country, which is a small and comforting town.
Since the half marathon is held at the vineyard, celebrations at the finish line will include a free glass of local wine!
This race is held every year on the second Saturday of December, so it is a great way to kickstart your holiday plans.
The race includes courses for a half marathon and a 10k.
The course is a hilly one, as you might have assumed by the location, and therefore might be slightly challenging for some runners.
However, you’ll be able to find serenity as you take part in the race thanks to the rural farmlands that you’ll pass.
Once the race is finished, there is the amazing Lake Travis to visit nearby for various water sports, camping, or hiking trails.
There are many other camping and hiking spots around this area, such as the Krause Springs, Pace Bend Park, Colorado River, and Pedernales Falls State Park.
Run The Line Half Marathon
What makes the Run the Line half marathon so special is that it covers two states. If you’ve ever wanted to run over the state lines, then now is the chance to do just that.
The starting line is in Texarkana on the third Sunday of February, and it runs through Nix Creek Trailand into Spring Lake Park.
This course is easy to run thanks to its flat nature, and you’ll see some amazing sights of Texas and Arkansas.
Check two states off the bucket list with this sought after half marathon.
Enjoy the local community feeling after the race by venturing into Texarkana and perusing its numerous markets, such as the 1894 Market.
Natural Bridges Caverns Trail Run
You can compete in this half marathon when visiting San Antonio during February.
It is held on the first Sunday of the month, and you can also compete in an additional 5k or 10k if you’re up for a bigger challenge.
This half marathon takes you over the largest cave system in the state, with the starting line actually being underground!
You’ll be able to marvel at the caves and the rest of the subterranean views Texas has to offer while challenging yourself.
Once the race is finished, why not celebrate with a post run lunch and then go exploring the local area?
Around you will be the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, and New Braunfels where you can go tubing.
Rock N Roll San Antonio
The Rock N Roll half marathon series are known all over the world thanks to plenty of energy and enthusiasm within the runners.
This is more of an event than just a half marathon, with live bands and entertainment, and large crowds of excited supporters.
The run is held in San Antonio with lots of hills to challenge your legs as you push on through the run.
You can compete in the half marathon, marathon, and relay races – so there is plenty of choice for you here!
This race is held on the second Sunday in December, so it’s a great way to begin your holiday plans.
If you love to run in a high energy crowd, then this might be the one for you.
Once the race has finished, explore the Missions, the Alamo, and walk along the famous Riverwalk.
And there we have it – 20 of the best half marathons that Texas has to offer all year round (You might also be interested in The Top 25 Half Marathons In The US)! Spring, Fall, or Winter are definitely the best times to be training and completing a half marathon in Texas due to the high summer temperatures, but there is one festival to enjoy during the summer that also quells your urge to race!
We hope that you can see why Texas is so renowned for their races throughout the year – it’s quite impressive how many are always ongoing! Why not make it a challenge to see how many you can complete?
- Competition Nutrition: Meal Planning For Those Training For A Marathon - August 18, 2022
- Best Racing Gear For Marathons, Half-Marathons, 5Ks And Fun Runs! - August 9, 2022
- How To Estimate A Marathon Time - August 8, 2022