This year Lehigh Valley may see more than 10,000 half marathoners. The beautiful scenery, decades old running community, and proximity to other metro areas has made Lehigh Valley one of the best places for half marathoning on the East Coast. Take a look at the bevy of half marathons that call Lehigh Valley home.
The St. Luke’s Half Marathon in April started the spring racing season off with a field of nearly 4,000 runners. The St. Luke’s Half is arguably Lehigh Valleys premier event, and for good reason. With impeccable organization, a diverse course, live bands, a stadium finish, an expo, and an accompanying 5k, what’s not to like? But now you’ve finished the event and the adrenaline is wearing off or you missed it and are looking forward to the fall to take on your next half. Which event should you choose?
The Lehigh Valley Health Network VIA Half Marathon on Sunday, September 13 is your first opportunity to get back after it. Race director Jerry Yasso and the VIA team put on a first class event with a starting line in Historic Bethlehem and an energetic finish line in downtown Easton. The scenic course runs along the D&L Towpath with views across the Lehigh River of the blast furnaces at SteelStacks. VIA also has a full marathon and team relay. The day before you can also choose from a 5k, walk, or kids run. Why not make it a family weekend around the VIA events. The Half expects to draw 1,500 runners with another 2,000 in the full marathon.
The Dorney Park Half Marathon on Sunday, October 4 is the new event in town, and Dorney is going after it in a big way! You can choose between the half or a 10k. The courses pass through Dorney Park with views of the exciting roller coaster rides and all the park has to offer. Your entry fee includes the race and admission to the Park. If the half isn’t for you, there is a choice of a 5k and 1 mile run on Saturday. This should prove to be big weekend for Lehigh Valley running.
The Runner’s World Half Marathon and Festival kicks off on Friday evening, October 16 with races for the kids at the SteelStacks complex in South Bethlehem. Saturday follows with a 5k, 10k, and 1-mile dog run. The races are spread out so that you can run them all. The Half Marathon runs on Sunday with a course that winds through the many historic neighborhoods of Bethlehem, past Lehigh University, and Moravian College before a dramatic finish at SteelStacks! Once again, plan a family weekend in Lehigh Valley around a race distance of your choice. The Half Marathon expects to draw 1,500 plus runners and all races combined should total about 6,000 participants.
[caption id="attachment_22193" align="alignright" width="320"] D&L Half Marathon[/caption]
The Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Half Marathon culminates the half marathon journey on Sunday, November 1. New race director Ed Eppler (that's me!) has several changes planned for this year’s 5th annual event. Previously the course ran along the D&L Rail Trail from Northampton to Slatington in what has been described as an uphill course with a headwind! This year the course will be run in the opposite direction. The new course has the potential to be the fastest off all the Lehigh Valley Half’s. In addition to the course direction change, the starting line has been moved to Northern Lehigh High School with the use of indoor facilities.
The spectacular finish line is now in Canal Street Park in Northampton just a few steps from the Hungarian Hall where a post-race buffet will be served. Beer will be available for purchase also! The folks at D&L believe that the race will reach its limit of 1,000 participants early. D&L also offers the option to walk the course, something no other Lehigh Valley Half’s have.
Be sure to visit Discover Lehigh Valley for more information on things to do in the area while you're here for a half marathon, and great hotels and bed & breakfasts to stay at while you're in town.