This year marks the first annual Runner's World Half Marathon, and with good reason. As the editors note in their most recent edition of the publication, the "challenging but not all-consuming" race is one of the most popular distances known to the sport.
Do you see a half in your future? Read up on these 10 fun facts to fuel you through the finish line and beyond.
1. Age is not a factor. More than 50 percent of participants are over the age of 35. Nearly 20 percent are well into their 40s. In other words, you can't use the number of candles on your cake as an excuse to back out.
2. A reasonable race. More than 45 percent of runners have completed between two and five half marathons, while 50 percent have never signed up for a full marathon.
3. Ladies first. More than 59 percent of all half-marathon finishers in 2011 were female, though the gender shift only dates back to 2005. Previously, men were in the lead.
4. California dreaming. The most popular half marathon in the past year was the Nike Women's Half, which takes place in San Francisco. The race attracted more than 15,000 participants!
5. Record breaking. The only American to break an hour (yet, that is) is Ryan Hall, who ran the Houston Half Marathon in 59:43 back in 2007.
6. Highway robbery. Ever dream of running 13.1 miles down the Las Vegas strip at dusk? If you answered yes, be prepared to shell out $175 for this "most expensive half."
7. Bigger is better. The largest half marathon of all time was held in 2011 in Gotesborg, Sweden, hosting 42,904 entrants.
8. Celebrity appeal. Hunky wolverine Hugh Jackman completed the 2011 NYC Half Marathon in 2:05, while Jennifer Love Hewitt came in at 3:09 in the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles event.
9. Test your skills. Looking for the ultimate challenge? Check out the Pier to Peak Half Marathon in Santa Barbara, Calif., which takes runners from sea level to 4,000 feet.
10. Do your body good. As any half marathoner can tell you, finishing the race - and doing so healthfully - is no easy feat. Consider incorporating cross-training, yoga and alternative therapies like bodywork and massage into your training program. Check out local health and wellness experts here.