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The Half-Marathon Achieves its Personal Best

from The Wall Street Journal

The business plan wasn't promising: Take a storied running event, chop it off in the middle and give it a name like a second-rate movie sequel. Yet the half-marathon has become a star attraction on its own, racing past its older sibling to become the darling of amateur distance runners.

Nearly 2 million people finished a half-marathon in the U.S. last year, an all-time high and a fourfold increase from 2000, according to industry tracker Running USA. The 13.1-mile half-marathon now counts more than three times as many annual finishers as the 26.2-mile marathon.

Fans of the half-marathon say it is long enough to present a challenge but short enough that novices can train for it in a few months. It's also gentler on the body. With proper training, half-marathoners can avoid some overuse injuries common to marathoners, such as stress fractures and joint irritation, says Kelley Anderson, primary care sports medicine physician at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine in Pittsburgh.

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