A blog by runners. For runners.

Winter marathons (and half marathons) in warm places


For me, winter is the hardest time of year to stick with running. I can only run in the mornings … when it’s dark, cold, and windy – making it very difficult to get out of bed.

The best way for me to stay motivated is to sign up for a winter race. Not just any race — preferably one in a warm locale. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels this way!

Here are some winter half and full marathons in warm places that still have registration open (Note: we would have included the Houston and Disney marathons, but they’re already sold out):

  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona, Tempe, Ariz., January 19, 2014. This event features a full and half marathon, plus a marathon relay and a mini marathon (that’s 5.4 miles). In true rock ‘n’ roll fashion, there are plenty of live bands along the course plus a finish line party with a headlining group.
  • Key West half marathon, Key West, Fla., January 19, 2014. The Key West half marathon consistently ranks among the top winter halves in the U.S. And with good reason. Who wouldn’t want to run a fast, flat course in paradise over a holiday weekend? The event also has a 5K option.
  • Maui Oceanfront marathon, Maui, Hawaii, January 19, 2014. The words “Maui” and “oceanfront” are probably enough to chase anyone’s winter blues away. If you don’t want to spend too much time running in when you’re paradise, sign up for the 5K, 10K, 15K, or half marathon instead.
  • Surfside Beach marathon, Surfside, Texas, February 1, 2014. Do you love running on the beach? If so, the Surfside Beach half or full marathon is for you. The entire race is held directly on the beach (check out our tips for running on the beach.) A challenge for sure!
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, New Orleans, February 2, 2014. This race is below sea level, so if you want to PR this winter, look no further. The event features plenty of on-course entertainment, plus you get to run through New Orleans’ iconic French quarter. There’s a half marathon and marathon relay as well.
  • Myrtle Beach marathon, Myrtle Beach, S.C., February, 15, 2014. Head to this popular spring break destination and run 26.2 miles with a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean. Race directors claim it’s the perfect beginner’s race thanks to the flat course, weekend’s fun festivities, and ideal weather. There’s also a marathon relay, half, and 5K.
  • Fort Lauderdale A1A marathon, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., February 16, 2014. As the race’s website says, “While the rest of the country is fighting cold temperatures, we are treated to warm weather with temperatures ranging between 60-75 degrees.” Sounds good to me! Other race weekend options include a half marathon and 5K.
  • Napa Valley marathon, Napa Valley, Calif, March 2, 2014 (pictured). The Napa Valley marathon has long been touted as one of the most beautiful point-to-point courses in the U.S. The course literally takes you on a tour through wine country. And what better place to celebrate your accomplishment than a winery?

Written by Jen Matz.