The half marathon is essentially half a marathon run, and it may also sometimes be called a mini-marathon. These events are becoming increasingly popular and sometimes people participate in a half marathon at the same time that a full marathon is held. The difference between full and half is fairly easy to understand. A half marathon is approximated 13.11 miles (about 21K). Sometimes marathons called mini-marathons are much smaller than this and there are 5K and 10K runs that can be called minis.
The appeal of the half marathon can be easily understood. They do not require as extensive training as do full marathons, but training is still advisable, and it can be very dangerous to try to participate in a long run if a person has not worked hard in advance to gain the endurance he’ll need to do it. Lots of people train together in groups or join marathon-training programs in order to prepare adequately to make a 21K run. Most of these events also have pre-registration which gives people time to train, and some of the more popular half marathons quickly meet the allowable number of participants.
As mentioned, these races are popular and they are held around the world. They’re not just for the average Joe or Jane either. Lots of professional and semi-professional athletes participate in half and whole marathons. Records on speed are duly kept at most of them and obviously change, as people are able to push the human body to new speeds and new endurance limits.
Throughout the world there are many popular half marathon events. One of the most popular and garnering some of the largest participation figures is the Great North Run, which was first established in 1981. It is held each year in England, and runners travel between Newcastle on Tyne and South Shield. In the late 2000s, number of runners in this marathon exceeded 50,000 people.
In the US, one of the largest half marathon events is simply called the Mini Marathon. It is held each year in Indiana. In the late 2000s, over 40,000 people ran the Mini Marathon, and attendance of the race is even higher.
For those who can’t run the half marathon, there are still plenty of reasons to watch one. It can be fun to cheer on friends that participate, and many of the large marathons have huge expos, plenty of delicious food, and lots of things to do while people wait.