In 2013, an all-time high of over 2 million people finished a half marathon, 61% of them were women, according to a 2014 Running USA report. So people have actually figured out that running long distance, but not TOO long, is the cool thing to do. The question is why 13.1? How did this become the fastest growing distance, especially for women?
This is especially important to me because Skirt Sports puts on a women’s 13.1 event. We even reinvented it in 2015 as the Skirt Sports 13er because after reading (genius) Rachel Toor’s “13er Manifesto,” we agree that it’s not HALF of anything! It’s a full 13.1 miles of fun, challenge, euphoria, good pain, and more.
So I shouted out to a bunch of women to tell me what’s so special about 13.1. Here’s the word on the street.
13.1 Reasons to Go 13.1
- Because half marathoners are geniuses. I think that every time I do a marathon and see them split off or finish while I still have 13.1 to go. – Sandy S
- 13.1 is perfect as it doesn’t require the commitment that a full does. It is fairly reasonable to always be at a place mileage-wise that you could just jump in and survive a race, but is still enough of a challenge that you get that sense of accomplishment once you complete it. – Kristen G
- It usually has the best medals. – Rachel T
- 13.1 is my favorite race distance. I’ve run 56 of them! I love that I can train for one, without training overtaking my life. They are always a challenge, but with each one, I keep taking off a little time. – Jenna O
- I love the challenge of the distance and the fact that in some ways it hurts so much less than a short race like a 5k! – Joy G
- 13.1 remains one of my favorite races because I am able to run/race without it consuming the whole weekend for the family! – Aleasha L
- 13.1 is my fave because it’s a “comfortably fast” run! They go by so quick that I’m often home by lunch and I love that! – Nicole B
- Perfect for a “race-cation” (say, to CO in June J) – Jennifer L
- Afterwards, there’s still time to sightsee and have fun if you are on a vacation (See above!). – Erika H
- The time commitment is perfect for both training and race day. With 2 boys, a full work commitment as a professor and program director, 13.1 is perfect. Even on longer run days, you still have a majority of the day for spending time with family. My goal is 50 halfs in 50 states and when I’m visiting somewhere new, I like to have time to actually explore the area in addition to the run. A half gives you time to run, explore, and fly home that evening if you need to get home in a hurry for a new workday, school day, etc. The accomplishment feels awesome and allowing my kids to see me train for something that requires dedication and see me accomplish each goal and come home with another medal (my youngest thinks I win every race), it also teaches them a little about life too without training so much that I miss spending time with them (like it does for a full). – Kim R
- Race day is more like “race morning”. It’s long enough to require dedicated training but short enough to push hard. You feel like a Bad Azz when you’re done! – Marilou D
- I love the 13.1 distance. It’s both a challenge but at the same time easier to keep trained for than say a full. As long as you keep a base of 6-8 miles, training for a half is not so bad at all. The 13.1 distance is also attainable for anyone to train to run or walk. – Shannon C
- 13.1 is hard enough to give you the sense of accomplishment but still allow you to continue cross training & putting less stress on your body – Deborah B
I always decide at about Mile 10 of a marathon that the Half is the perfect distance!! – Anne M
Let me add some more (very important) reasons from my occasionally twisted perspective. You can walk afterward. It’s long enough to allow for at least 3-4 days of serious splurging. You can do more than one every 3-6 months without hurting yourself (which means more splurge days!). You aren’t going so long that your friends won’t join you. In other words, it’s the most social distance!