Walkers nominated their favorite walker-friendly 13.1-mile half marathon. These half marathons have a time limit of 3.5 hours or more and welcome walkers. Our expert panel of walkers chose five finalists, and then the readers voted.
The K W Walking Classic is held in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The next date is May 11, 2014. It was also the winner for this category in 2012. It's a smaller event, limited to 1,500 walkers. It's walkers only, for both the fast and the slow. A nominator said, "The KW Walking Classic is devoted to WALKERS only! With gleaming medals and long-sleeved technical T-shirts for all finishers, this well organized event is welcoming and inspirational. Best of all, it raises funds for regional mental health initiatives and fights stigma around mental health issues."
This event is held in early September in New Albany, Ohio. It's a walker-only event, no running allowed. It attracts about 3000 walkers from 40 states and sells out. It has a relatively low entry fee, which includes swag such as a fleece jacket. It has a great health fair, too. Here's what the nominators said:
- "This race is competitive racers and healthy walkers. I have done this race and to see all walkers only either competing or just walking together as a healthy community is awesome. The Expo offers many healthy exhibits packed with great information. The after race gathering is filled with great food."
- "The course is laid out with a couple of inclines through a well maintained neighborhood. The event volunteers are heplful and friendly, and the event showcases some really fantastic local talent."
- Great give-aways, nice scenery along the route, lots of good neighborhood bands along route."
- "It's walkers only-about 3,000 walkers. They always give great packets, with quality jackets. Very well organized. Lots of support from the public, gathered along the beautiful course. The best food I've ever had after a race. Well worth the entry fee and the trip to New Albany."
This September race in Appleton, WI has both open and competitive walk divisions. A nominator said, "The separate walker's division made me feel like I was still racing to win, even though I wasn't running." For those who just want to make it to the finish line at their own speed, it has a very generous time limit of seven hours for the half marathon.
This mid-October race invites runners, walkers and competitive walkers. They have a strictly-enforced four-hour time limit for the half marathon. There are two routes. One is an international half marathon than goes across the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and back through the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel into the USA. Those entering the competitive walk division must walk the entire route with no running. The other route, all on the U.S. side, has a strict three-hour time limit. A nominator cited "Two countries, one big bridge, one underwater international mile -- what's not to love? And walkers get same respect as runners!"
This Super Bowl Sunday race in Huntington Beach, California is for both runners and walkers. It's a big race, with almost 15,000 in the half marathon and another 2000 in the marathon, which is also walker-friendly. Walkers won't be lonely, over 800 finished in 3.5 hours or longer in 2013. A nominator said, "Starting in the last corral I still had 5 hours to complete the race. There was plenty of water as well as pretzel and bananas near the end. Few hills, a cool breeze off the ocean and a great view." The finisher medals are surfboard-shaped.