Marathons and half marathons aren’t just for runners. If you’re a walker who can keep a brisk pace, you, too, can participate in a race.
The key is making sure that the race time limit is compatible with your walking pace.
For example, if it takes you 15 minutes to walk a mile, that’s a 4 mph pace. It would take you a little over 3:15 to complete a half marathon. Not sure of your pace? You can find a pace calculator here. So, when you’re looking for a race to do, you’d want to check the race’s time limit to ensure that course support (and finish-line services and festivities!) will be available based on when you’d still be on the course and arriving at the finish line. Race time limits are usually listed in a race website’s FAQs or in “race info” links.
Here are some races I recommend:
Date/Location: Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, Slatington to Northampton, PA (in the Lehigh Valley)
This race in particular is super welcoming of walkers — it offers awards in walking divisions (very rare for races!) and features a walker-friendly pace to boot. The time limit for the half marathon will be 4.5 hours. That translates to a 20-minute-mile pace, which is very friendly for first-timers.
Date/Location: Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015; Atlantic City, NJ
You can’t beat a race that starts and ends on a boardwalk at the Jersey Shore! (Or alongside a beach in any state, for that matter!) This half marathon has a 3.5-hour time limit, which is a 16-minute-mile pace; the full marathon has a 6-hour time limit, which is not as walker-friendly.
Date/Location: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015; Baltimore, MD
This is a great race for beginners — the half marathon has a 5.5-hour time limit, and the full marathon has a 7-hour time limit. Both races finish between Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium (the football stadium), with the final part of the course giving you a view into the baseball field.
Date/Location: Sunday April 3, 2016; Atlantic City, NJ
Ditto the notes above about racing near the beach. This walker-friendly half marathon has a 4-hour time limit.