I just listened to a great feature on Bill Littlefield's radio show "Only a Game." The reporter, Karen Given, says that the half marathon is the ideal race distance, and I heartily agree. It's long enough that you have to train for it with a certain level of commitment, but unlike the marathon, it doesn't totally beat you up. People cheer for you, whether you're running 13 miles or 26, and you usually get a medal. And you can walk like a normal person afterwards.
It's apparently the fastest-growing race distance, and but it doesn't get the respect it deserves.
Starting with the name. It's not a full race, it's a half marathon. It's what you do if you can't run the full marathon, right? Clearly, we need another name for the 13.1 mile distance. And no, I don't buy the Indianapolis approach: Mini-marathon. A little condescending for a 13 mile race, I think.
I've run five marathons now, and I don't think I'll run another one, even though I sometimes talk about it. I trained for two marathons since those five, and I was sidelined by injuries each time. I ended up not running at all for weeks or even months at a time. But I've run several half-marathons, most recently the Geneva 1/2 marathon in May, and I've never gotten injured training for one.
So now I'm training for the Indianapolis (ahem) 1/2 marathon, October 20. Let's hear it for the 21K!