Ok – I don’t get it.  Why do people call things a “Mini-Marathon”?  Why does someone go around and say “I ran a mini-marathon, have you run a mini-marathon?”.  I don’t know, what the heck is a mini-marathon?  Is it a marathon you run with mini-mouse, like a variation of the Disney Marathon? Upon Googling I found that generally a Mini-Marathon is simply a Half-Marathon.  Ok…umm…why not call it that?

To be clear – I think the half-marathon distance is awesome.  It’s my favorite distance.  It’s just right in terms of length and not as painful as a full marathon.  It takes a fair amount of effort; but you can still go on and have a normal remainder of the day.  As once described to me – “The half marathon is really a much more gentlemanly distance than a full marathon”.

But where does the ‘mini’ part come in?  It’s a qualitative word that doesn’t really describe anything.  It doesn’t tell me (or anyone else) how long the race is.  For all I know it could be 1/4th the length of a Marathon, or even 1/8th.  To me ‘mini’ doesn’t mean half – but some small amount – like 10% or 20%.  It means tiny, small – or rather very small.

Finishing a half-marathon is just as important as finishing a marathon.  People don’t look down on someone because they ‘only’ ran 13.1 miles.  Seriously. 

I think before I ran a marathon I thought that everyone who had run a marathon thought people who hadn’t run one before were “inferior runners”.  I think many forums perpetuate attitude.  After completing the distance – I now believe what some say – it just doesn’t matter.  To me I don’t care that the longest distance you’ve gone is 1K, 10K, 10 Miles or 100 miles.  As long as you’ve found whatever distance you like running – and go out and run your hardest, that’s all that really matter.  (Although, the people that run those weird 8 Mile races do need some professional help)

You’re no less of a runner for calling it a ‘half-marathon’ than calling it a ‘mini-marathon’.  To me the term ‘mini-marathon’ tries to imply full marathon status by conjuring up confusion around what it really is.  People don’t go around calling a 5K race a ‘mini-10K’ – do they?  Nope.  Call it what it is, not some made-up name. 

Be proud of the fact that you ran 13.1 miles – don’t try and cover it up with ‘mini-marathon’ branding.  99.9% of the people around you can’t run 13.1 miles (or probably even 2 miles), so telling someone that you ran half-marathon is impressive enough.  If someone doesn’t think that 13.1 miles is impressive – tell them to run it faster then.  There is always room for improvement. :)

Ok…my random rainmaker rant is complete.


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  1. I completely agree. Thank you for not perpetuating the negative attitude for distances less than a marathon.

  2. My mom asks me questions like “so did you run a 10k marathon?” so I imagine terms like “mini-marathon” would only confuse her more :-)

    (and I am running an 8 mile race this weekend :-))

  3. One could argue the same for sprint- and olympic-distance triathlons. Both Ironmans and Halfs are very much intertwined with the 140.6 and 70.3 branding, respectively. Why not just call olympic distances 91.5 races (metric).

    Definitely agree with your point, but it could go pretty far :-).

  4. When you do such event, you appreciate the effort put into it. It’s not easy to run a “mini-marathon”!

  5. Anonymous

    So do sprinters get the same runner status as distant guys? Am I a true runner if I only compete 200m or less?

  6. If you run a 200m sprint and give it your all – you’re just as much of a runner as someone who runs a 100 Mile Ultra. It all hurts, just a different type of hurt. As I said above…

    “To me I don’t care that the longest distance you’ve gone is 1K, 10K, 10 Miles or 100 miles. As long as you’ve found whatever distance you like running – and go out and run your hardest, that’s all that really matter.”