Best Half Marathons in Missouri

Half Marathons in Missouri for running races

Nestled in America’s heartland, Missouri boasts a rich tapestry of terrains and cultures. Equally compelling are its half marathons. These races, spread throughout the state, promise challenges and unforgettable running experiences.

Starting in St. Louis, the city’s iconic arch acts as a backdrop for several races. Here, urban sceneries merge seamlessly with riverside views, offering runners a diverse course. Transitioning westward, Kansas City beckons with its hilly trails. The vibrant energy of its streets complements the city’s storied history, making every mile memorable.

But it’s not just the cities that shine. In the southern regions of the state, the Ozark Mountains present a rugged, scenic beauty. Races here wind through dense forests, challenging runners with undulating paths while cradling them in nature’s embrace.

Finally, the true magic of Missouri’s half marathons lies in the blend of physical challenge, scenic beauty, and warm community spirit. Regardless of where you lace up your running shoes, Missouri guarantees an enriching half marathon experience that lingers long after crossing the finish line.

Kansas City Half Marathon

Location: Kansas City, MO
Date: October

The Kansas City Half Marathon is a premier race event, drawing participants from across the nation. Starting in the vibrant downtown district, the race showcases the city’s unique blend of modern urban landscapes and historic architecture. Runners begin their journey amidst the iconic skyscrapers, feeling the buzz of the city’s energy. Local spectators line the streets, cheering and supporting every stride, setting an encouraging tone for the race ahead.

As participants progress, the route takes them past some of the city’s most notable landmarks. The stunning Union Station and the World War I Museum stand as testaments to Kansas City’s rich history. Additionally, runners are treated to views of the picturesque Country Club Plaza, a shopping district known for its Spanish-inspired architecture. Between these major points, participants can also glimpse beautiful parks and boulevards, reflecting the city’s commitment to green spaces.

Transitioning through the course, runners encounter a series of mild inclines and declines. These rolling hills offer both challenge and reprieve, testing endurance while also providing opportunities for recovery. Aid stations are strategically placed along these sections, ensuring that participants remain hydrated and energized throughout their journey. Volunteers at these stations greet everyone with enthusiasm, offering both physical sustenance and emotional support.

The final leg of the half marathon brings a sense of accomplishment and exhilaration. As the downtown skyline comes back into view, the sounds of cheering grow louder, guiding runners toward the finish line. Crossing it, participants are enveloped in a celebratory atmosphere, having experienced the best of Kansas City. The Kansas City Half Marathon is not just a race; it’s a tour of a vibrant city and a celebration of personal achievement.

Rock the Parkway Half Marathon

Location: Kansas City, MO
Date: April

The Rock the Parkway Half Marathon stands as one of the Midwest’s most popular running events. Taking place in beautiful Kansas City, this race offers participants a scenic journey through the city’s best features. Starting near the iconic Country Club Plaza, runners are immediately immersed in the city’s rich history. The Plaza, with its distinctive Spanish-style architecture, offers an aesthetically pleasing backdrop to kick off the race.

Venturing forth, the course largely follows the picturesque Ward Parkway. This tree-lined boulevard, flanked by stately homes, provides a pleasant shade and visual appeal. Moreover, runners pass numerous well-maintained parks and green spaces, showcasing Kansas City’s commitment to urban greenery. As participants make their way through these serene settings, local bands stationed at intervals play lively music, injecting energy and rhythm into the race.

A notable feature of this half marathon is its relatively flat terrain. Although a few gentle inclines might challenge runners, they’re balanced by equally gentle declines. This layout, combined with the scenic route, makes Rock the Parkway appealing to both first-time half marathoners and seasoned runners.

Nearing the finish line, the atmosphere becomes electric. Crowds gather, cheering on every participant as they complete their journey. The sense of accomplishment is palpable, and a festive post-race environment awaits all. Medals, refreshments, and further live music celebrate every runner’s achievement. The Rock the Parkway Half Marathon, with its blend of scenic beauty and community spirit, offers a unique and memorable running experience for all.

Liberty Half Marathon

Location: Liberty, MO
Date: March

The Liberty Half Marathon, set in Liberty, Missouri, offers participants a delightful course showcasing the heart of America’s Midwest charm. This event, drawing locals and visitors alike, takes runners through a blend of urban scenes and natural landscapes. The starting line buzzes with anticipation, as runners prepare to embark on a 13.1 mile journey, weaving through the picturesque streets of Liberty.

The course unfolds, guiding runners past historic sites and landmarks that echo the town’s deep-rooted history. Downtown Liberty, with its quaint shops and brick-lined streets, provides a beautiful backdrop for the initial miles. As participants continue, they’ll pass by the famed Liberty Jail historical site, giving a glimpse into the area’s past. Additionally, the well-maintained streets and supportive locals cheering from their porches add a warm, community feel to the race.

Transitioning from urban to natural, runners soon find themselves amidst Liberty’s serene parks and green spaces. The gentle trails of Stocksdale Park, with its lush canopy of trees, offers a refreshing shade and a momentary escape from the urban setting. Streams, bridges, and open fields dot this section of the course, making it a favorite among many participants.

As the final miles approach, the energy is palpable. Spectators line the streets, encouraging runners to push through to the end. Crossing the finish line, participants are met with cheers, applause, and the satisfaction of completing the Liberty Half Marathon. With its blend of history, community, and nature, this event stands as a testament to the charm and spirit of Liberty.

Joplin Memorial Run Half Marathon

Location: Joplin, MO
Date: May

The Joplin Memorial Run Half Marathon is a tribute to the resilience of the Joplin community. Held in Joplin, Missouri, this event memorializes the tragic 2011 tornado that profoundly impacted the town. As runners lace up their shoes, there’s a palpable sense of unity and remembrance, making this half marathon a deeply emotional and significant occasion for all involved.

Starting in the heart of Joplin, participants are met with a course that offers a blend of the city’s landmarks and natural beauty. The initial miles take runners through the downtown area, where glimpses of the town’s rebuilding efforts are evident. Local businesses, renovated structures, and new constructions showcase Joplin’s dedication to moving forward, yet never forgetting. Along the way, cheer squads and local residents provide waves of encouragement, uplifting every runner’s spirit.

As the race progresses, participants are treated to the scenic outskirts of Joplin. Here, green landscapes, gentle hills, and open skies dominate the view. The serene setting provides a peaceful backdrop, allowing runners to reflect and find strength in the journey. The well-marked route, combined with plenty of water stations and enthusiastic volunteers, ensures that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.

The final stretch of the Joplin Memorial Run Half Marathon is genuinely heartwarming. As runners approach the finish line, they pass markers dedicated to the tornado victims, serving as a somber reminder of the race’s purpose. Crossing the finish, participants are engulfed in a sense of accomplishment, community, and remembrance. This event, in its essence, celebrates Joplin’s spirit, determination, and the memory of those lost.

MO Cowbell Half Marathon

Location: St. Charles, MO
Date: October

The MO Cowbell Half Marathon stands out as one of Missouri’s unique racing experiences. Based in St. Charles, this event has gained popularity for its festive atmosphere and scenic course. Combining history with natural beauty, the route showcases the best of the area, making it a favorite for both local and visiting runners.

Starting near the historic Main Street of St. Charles, participants are instantly immersed in a setting reminiscent of earlier times. The cobblestone streets and vintage buildings offer a nostalgic feel. Soon after, runners transition onto the Katy Trail. Here, the flat, crushed-limestone path provides a gentle terrain, perfect for all skill levels. As they move along the trail, the majestic Missouri River remains a constant, offering breathtaking views and a soothing ambiance.

Midway through the race, participants loop back, retracing portions of the Katy Trail. This design allows for continuous river views and encounters with cheering supporters. Volunteers and spectators uplift spirits with their encouragement and smiles.

As the MO Cowbell Half Marathon concludes, the sense of achievement is palpable. Runners are welcomed back into the heart of St. Charles, where the ringing of cowbells awaits. This unique finishing touch, coupled with the cheering crowds, encapsulates the community’s warmth and support. Whether a first-timer or a seasoned runner, the MO Cowbell offers a memorable race day experience.

Greater St. Louis Half Marathon

Location: St. Louis, MO
Date: April

The Greater St. Louis Half Marathon is a standout event that attracts runners from near and far. Set in the heart of Missouri, this race promises a unique blend of urban and natural beauty, presenting participants with a picturesque journey through the iconic city of St. Louis. With a course that is as challenging as it is scenic, this half marathon ensures a fulfilling experience for all who lace up their running shoes.

Beginning in the vibrant downtown area, runners are treated to the city’s historic architecture right from the start. As participants wind through the streets, they pass by iconic landmarks such as the Old Courthouse and the bustling Washington Avenue. These sights not only offer visual stimuli but also inspire runners with a sense of the city’s rich history. Moreover, the relatively flat terrain in this portion aids in keeping a steady pace.

As the race progresses, the course transitions to the picturesque riverfront area. Here, the expansive Mississippi River serves as a stunning backdrop. The tree-lined paths and serene waterfront offer a refreshing change from the urban environment, allowing runners to momentarily escape and find rhythm in nature’s beauty. Spectators often gather along this stretch, cheering and motivating participants with their enthusiastic support.

Drawing to a close, the Greater St. Louis Half Marathon reenters the city’s heart. The finish line’s energy is palpable as crowds converge, cheering on runners for their final strides. With a mix of city charm and natural allure, this half marathon offers participants an unparalleled running experience, making it a must-run event in the Midwest racing calendar.

Running from Yeti Half Marathon

Location: Springfield, MO
Date: February

The Running from Yeti Half Marathon is an intriguing race that captures the imagination of all who participate. Set against a backdrop of stunning landscapes, this event is known not just for its athletic challenge but also its unique theme. The idea of “running from Yeti” adds a fun twist, ensuring the marathon remains memorable for runners of all levels.

Starting in the serene woodland area, runners get an immediate sense of adventure. Tall, towering trees line the path, and the chirping of birds fills the air. The initial miles are marked by gentle undulating trails, allowing participants to find their pace comfortably. Occasionally, playful signs hinting at the Yeti’s presence pop up, adding an element of excitement and anticipation.

Midway, the course reveals expansive mountain views, reminiscent of the Yeti’s rumored Himalayan habitat. As the path winds upward, the challenge intensifies, but the panoramic sights reward the effort. Here, the theme comes alive as runners might spot “Yeti” footprints or even costumed enthusiasts cheering them on. The combination of natural beauty and playful sightings makes this segment a highlight.

Drawing to its conclusion, the Running from Yeti Half Marathon leads runners back to flatter terrains, allowing for a strong finish. The vibrant atmosphere at the finish line, complete with Yeti-themed celebrations, is a joyous sight. This half marathon, with its mix of scenic beauty and imaginative fun, ensures participants leave with not just a sense of accomplishment but also delightful stories to share.

Go Girl Run Half Marathon

Location: Springfield, MO
Date: April

The Go Girl Run in Springfield is a celebration of women’s strength and community spirit. This race, primarily designed for women, combines fitness, friendship, and fun, offering an experience that is both empowering and memorable. Each year, participants adorn themselves in themed outfits, creating a sea of vibrant colors and energy as they take to the streets.

The course itself beautifully showcases Springfield’s diverse landscapes. Starting in the city’s lively downtown area, runners pass through bustling streets lined with local businesses and cheering supporters. This urban stretch allows participants to absorb the city’s vibrant atmosphere before transitioning to quieter, scenic sections of the route. As the miles unfold, the sounds of the city give way to nature’s serenity.

Following the urban introduction, the course takes runners through Springfield’s picturesque parks and serene trails. Here, the beauty of nature becomes the focal point, with tree-canopied paths and gentle breezes accompanying the participants. The meandering routes through these green spaces provide a refreshing change of pace and scenery, offering moments of tranquility amidst the challenge.

As the race nears its end, participants loop back towards the bustling heart of Springfield. The final miles are filled with anticipation, camaraderie, and the collective energy of hundreds of empowered women. Crossing the finish line, each runner not only celebrates a personal achievement but also the shared spirit of the Go Girl Run community.

Bridge and Dam Half Marathon

Location: Lake Ozark, MO
Date: March

The Bridge and Dam Half Marathon stands out as a race that offers participants both a challenge and breathtaking scenery. Located in Lake Ozark, Missouri, the race showcases the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks, making it a favorite among both local and visiting runners. As the name suggests, the race includes runs over multiple bridges and a dam, providing a unique experience that’s both physically demanding and visually rewarding.

The course begins by guiding runners over the community bridge, introducing them to panoramic lake views. Here, the expansive waters stretch out under the vast sky, giving participants a sense of freedom and space. After this first bridge, the route delves into rolling hills, giving runners a taste of the area’s varied topography. The rhythmic ups and downs can be challenging, but they also add a rhythmic flow to the run.

Next, the route takes participants over the Bagnell Dam. This historic structure is not only an engineering marvel but also offers sweeping views of the lake from a different vantage point. Running atop the dam, one feels the powerful convergence of human-made marvels and natural beauty. The sounds of moving water combined with the sight of distant shores creates a mesmerizing backdrop for this section of the race.

The final stretch of the half marathon merges the past sections’ features, with undulating terrains and more bridge crossings. As runners approach the finish line, there’s a palpable sense of achievement, not just from completing the distance, but from experiencing the landmarks and landscapes that make the Bridge and Dam Half Marathon so special. The race concludes with the community cheering, creating an atmosphere of celebration and camaraderie.

Hospital Hill Run Half Marathon

Location: Kansas City, MO
Date: June

The Hospital Hill Run Half Marathon, as the name suggests, is known for its challenging elevations and scenic routes. Situated in the heart of the city, it offers runners an urban experience blended with the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes. For many, it’s not just a race; it’s a testament to endurance and the spirit of the running community.

Beginning in the bustling downtown area, participants are immediately immersed in the vibrant city vibe. Skyscrapers tower above, and the sounds of cheering crowds provide an energizing start. As the miles progress, runners encounter the race’s namesake: the notorious hills. Though these inclines test stamina, they also offer unmatched views of the cityscape below.

Transitioning from the urban core, the course winds its way through some of the city’s historic neighborhoods. Here, charming architecture and tree-lined streets offer a picturesque backdrop and a welcome change of scenery. Supporters often line these streets, giving the event a community feel and offering much-needed encouragement as the race intensifies.

As runners approach the finish, they are once again met with the city’s iconic skyline. The final stretch, while challenging, is also invigorating, as the end is in sight and the atmosphere electric. Completing the Hospital Hill Run Half Marathon is a badge of honor, with many participants returning year after year to conquer its memorable route.


Missouri’s half marathons offer more than just a race; they provide a transformative experience. The diverse terrains and vibrant atmospheres make each event unique. Furthermore, these events capture the essence of the Show-Me State, blending the rush of urban landscapes with the tranquility of nature.

In cities like Kansas City and St. Louis, the races wind through historical landmarks, reminding runners of Missouri’s rich heritage. On the other hand, rural courses offer a refreshing escape, showcasing the state’s natural beauty. Consequently, runners receive a well-rounded glimpse of what Missouri has to offer.

It’s also worth noting the sense of community these races foster. Participants and spectators alike come together, cheering each other on and sharing in the accomplishment. In essence, these marathons are not just physical challenges but also celebrations of unity and determination.

In wrapping up, Missouri’s half marathons are much more than mere runs. They’re journeys through history, nature, and human spirit. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a newbie, there’s a Missouri race waiting to offer an unforgettable experience. Happy running!

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