5 Better Names For A Half Marathon

5-better-names-for-a-half-marathon-featuredAny run­ner with the gump­tion to pick a race, sign up, train, and com­plete it deserves to be rec­og­nized for accom­plish­ing their goal, but it has been argued that half marathon­ers have had some of their glo­ry stolen from them sim­ply by the name of the race they con­quered. Every oth­er dis­tance reg­u­lar­ly raced has a name of its own, an acknowl­edge­ment of its unique dis­tance and chal­lenge to run­ners. The half marathon is the sole dis­tance race not only named after anoth­er dis­tance, but also named in a way that cheap­ens it by point­ing out that it’s only half the dis­tance of anoth­er well-known race. It’s about time to give this pop­u­lar mid­dle dis­tance race a name of it’s own – one that rec­og­nizes and cel­e­brates its unique chal­lenges.  Here are a few.

The 21K
13.1 miles tech­ni­cal­ly trans­lates to 21.097491 Kilo­me­ters, but to keep it sim­ple, let’s just call it a 21K.  Although not extreme­ly cre­ative, many oth­er well-known races – 5k, 10k, 50k, etc. — are sim­ply named after their kilo­me­ter dis­tance. In fact, the marathon is prob­a­bly the only oth­er well-known race that doesn’t go by it’s dis­tance in kilo­me­ters, and most non-run­ners couldn’t tell you how many miles or kilo­me­ters are in a marathon.

A Göte­borgsvarvet
You’re prob­a­bly think­ing, “What the hell?” This actu­al­ly makes a lot of sense. Held annu­al­ly in Gothen­burg, Swe­den, Göte­borgsvarvet is the largest half marathon com­pe­ti­tion in the world, with 62,000 entrants. In Eng­lish, the race is some­times called ‘Göte­borg half marathon’, so just ‘Göte­borg’ is just fine. It’s eas­i­ly the most badass sound­ing sug­ges­tion on the list, and who doesn’t feel like a total badass after run­ning a half marathon?

The Wall Break­er
Per­haps this one is sug­ges­tive of  “The Ball Break­er,” which is true of a half marathon any­way, and may even be a more accu­rate (although less ‘appro­pri­ate’) descrip­tive name for the race. Half marathons are also often used by run­ners to break into longer dis­tances, or ‘break through a wall’ into the marathon zone. Few peo­ple stop at half marathons – many at least try a marathon as well.

The Long Dash
Doesn’t every­one love a lit­tle irony? Sure, ‘Dash’ gen­er­al­ly implies a sprint between two near dis­tances, but put the word ‘long’ before it, and you’ve cre­at­ed chaos. A ‘long dash’ is para­dox­i­cal any­way, so why the hell not decide its def­i­n­i­tion is “13.1 miles”?

The Step-Up Race
Okay, this one may take a lit­tle longer to catch on, but the mean­ing behind it is heart­felt. Along the lines of ‘The Wall Break­er’, half marathons are often used by peo­ple to prove to them­selves that they are more than a casu­al run­ner – they can put in some real long dis­tance, which the major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans would agree is any­thing over 10 miles (many would agree with few­er miles even). It could even sound cool to pro­nounce, “I’m run­ning a step-up,” or “I’m train­ing to step-up.”

Although the half marathon name seems pret­ty well estab­lished and unlike­ly to change, it’s impor­tant to acknowl­edge – if even in a day­dream – that it is an awe­some race and deserves to have some auton­o­my from the marathon itself. We’d love to also hear some sug­ges­tions from you on what you think a bet­ter name for the half marathon dis­tance is.

By: Audra Run­dle