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What are Half Marathon Walkers Thinking? We Asked.


In 2019, Half Marathon Calendar USA set out to hear what Half Marathon Walkers were thinking. We asked:

"Half Marathon Walkers Only: How do you feel the Half Marathon industry has adjusted to the ever growing half marathon 'walkers' population, and what is your average time you have been able to complete a half marathon, walking? Do you feel the half marathons that only allow 3 or 3.5 hours to finish are out of touch with the changing market? Do you pay the same registration fee as others, but feel less supported? What would you like to see change or improve?"

Here are some responses Half Marathon Calendar USA received from walkers:

Sharron Shannon Ayers "Always have enough food (and beer) for the walkers that finish after 4hours. I’m 73, if I couldn’t walk I would not be in the race and organizers would not get my registration fee."

Dawn Hollinger "At least 3.5 hours is needed to walk a half marathon, but 4 should be the time. I have walked and ran half marathons and in the few I have walked I have found minimal to no support for back of the pack finishers. All entrants pay the same amount, and deserve the same treatment. It is hard to encourage friends to start walking or running when the slower finishers don't feel welcomed at an event."

Michelle Migneault Cox "I feel like this at many halfs finishing close to 3 hrs and I run/walk if I walked it would be 3.5-4 for sure and I feel all the good stuff would be gone! And when races offer stuff like GU many times it’s completely gone by the time I get there 😕 so they need to buy more or not let people take more than one."

Dawn Hollinger "I really feel more people would participate in these events if they felt their experience at the event mattered as much as their registration fee. I have several friends who gave up half marathons because the race support was cleared before they finished even though they finished within the time limit."

Bryan Maxwell "Arrange so no one leaves til last person finishes..."

Bryan Maxwell "idea number 2) find a way to grade a race by something other than speed"

Becca Monken "I agree 4 hours would be better and not to start tearing down until last person crosses. It is no sadder than to finish with no finish line or after race festival. I pay the same fee as everyone else, I should get the same benefits."

Sue McIntyre "I walk 2-3 half marathons every year and typically average 3.5 hours (from just under 3 hours, to as long as 3:40). On many occasions I have finished races that promised food, beer, and/or wine that have run out of food, stopped serving beer, and/or packed up everything to leave. (Twice with Pink Buffalo Racing, which makes me less eager to do their races.). In the Healdsburg Wine Half Marathon in October, the last rest station had packed up their water before we reached them and stopped traffic control on previously closed roads (and there were 2 dozen people behind us)—and we finished 40 minutes before the end time. If a race has a time limit, they should serve all their participants equally. I won’t enter a race if I’m worried I can’t finish it in time, and I would appreciate it if race organizers would honor the participants equally, as we pay the same amount as runners. I’m okay with awards being given out early, as I understand that’s for the competitive runners, but other race features—including team costume competitions—should be available to all equally. If they don’t want walkers to participate, they should set limits at 3 hours. Claiming to welcome walkers but treating them as second rate sends a clear message that we are not valued like runners."