Another Great Article from Tony Flesch, Jul. 15, 2011
Thanks to Debbie Fetterman for asking me to be a Contributor to this blog, and to my good friend Spareribs LaMothe for the introduction and kind words in his blog on Monday. For my inaugural blog, I decided to share some information about the explosion in half marathon growth and participation.
In the DFW area, 2011 started with an inaugural New Year’s Day Half Marathon in Allen. With the recent announcement of the launch of the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon in September, and the addition of the 13.1 Series Half Marathon in October, the DFW and surrounding area half marathon count will be close to 20! And, well over 20 if you include all of the area 20k and 25k distances. The Texas summer heat is certainly not a deterrent. June started with a hot Wounded Warrior Half Marathon in Las Colinas. This weekend many of my friends will be running all night at the El Scorcho 25k and 50k in Fort Worth, and next weekend is the inaugural Sizzling Summer Half Marathon in Arlington. The Hottest Half, which is featured in the August issue of Runners World magazine, is in August.
The half marathon distance is an increasingly popular choice for runners. The growth and expansion of the Rock n Roll and 13.1 series is evidence of the popularity of this distance nationwide. The half marathon is not just the little brother of the marathon anymore; many half marathons are stand alone and not connected to a full marathon. OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis is a prime example and is the largest US half marathon with more than 30,000 participants. When an event features both a marathon and a half marathon, such as White Rock, the half typically has twice as many runners as the marathon.
According to Running USA’s annual half marathon report, if marathon mania exists, then, the half marathon has reached hyper-mania! Since 2003, the half marathon has been the fastest growing road race distance in the United States. According to the report, the popularity of the distance nationwide has been fueled mainly by charity and non-charity training programs, destination-type events/series, runners moving up or down from the marathon and women’s participation. In 2010, women led the surge in participation in the half marathon with an astounding 59% of participants. Since 1995, the number of female finishers in the half-marathon has increased six-fold. Last year, there were a record 24 half-marathons in the country with 10,000 or more finishers; in 2001 there were two.
As Spareribs mentioned on Monday, my primary blog focus will be on beginning runners, as well as sharing some general information and running tips. If you have a question, or particular topic that you would like to see discussed in a future blog, just send an e-mail and let me know.