3 Tips for Running the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon

As runners, we don’t have the option to quit. We find the strength to push forward and to cross the finish line.  Regardless of time, we all feel that wave of pride as we meet this goal. It’s this shared goal that joins us as a community.

It’s no surprise that this camaraderie would be taken to new levels in an area known for its close-knit community. Many come to visit the Lancaster County countryside but when you join the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon, you are no longer a visitor observing from the outside. You are treated like family.

Named as the #3 “Can’t Miss Race in the Country” by Active.com, you might have heard of the BIH Half. But there may be some things that you don’t know about this run. Whether you are a race veteran, local to the area, or joining us for the first time, check out these tips from our past runners to help you prepare!

Stay the Half Marathon Weekend

“Great scenery, volunteers, food, s’mores, coolest medal, and racing! Would recommend this to everyone!”

If there’s one thing Lancaster County is known for, it’s our hospitality. Always ready to lend a hand and listen with an open heart, our connections last much longer than race weekend. Whether you are visiting the area or live locally, join us for a weekend of fun activities! Check out Bird-in-Hand.com for nearby lodging options and fun things to do in the area. Be sure to add these important events to your list!

Packet Pick-Up
Friday 11am – 7pm

Race packets, bib numbers, and timing chips for all races must be picked up on Friday before the races.

BIH Half Expo
Friday 11am – 7pm

Check out work from local artisans, shop for race gear, and savor hand-made treats!

Pre-Race Pizza & Pasta Party
Friday 4pm – 8pm

Includes all-you-can-eat spaghetti, pizza, salad, garlic bread, shoofly pie, pumpkin pie, and beverages. $4 – $14 per person. Open to runners and their families.

Bonfire & S’mores Party
Friday 7:30pm – 9pm

End the day by gathering around the fire to meet your fellow runners and BIH community! Open to runners and their families. Free of charge.

Country Life is Unpredictable

“This was an absolutely amazing race experience! Gorgeous scenery running through Amish farmlands.”

Canopies of old-growth trees, fertile lands, one-room schoolhouses. These are just a few of our unique course highlights. As a community dedicated to farming, we’ve learned to embrace what nature brings us. All Bird-in-Hand races are rain or shine and in mid-September the weather – including the heat index – can vary.

You’ll find 12 drink stations staged throughout the course, including six located in authentic Amish one-room schoolhouses.  Additionally, ice buckets and water sprinklers can be found throughout the course during very warm weather.

Aerial View of BIH Half Marathon

Know Your Half Marathon Course

“It’s a challenging race, but if you open your mind and your heart and let yourself be a part of the community you are running through, it becomes so much more.”

It’s true what they say, the Bird-in-Hand Half can be a challenge. But the best things in life usually are. Minor areas of both the half marathon and 5k courses are unpaved and may be muddy or uneven during heavy rainfall. This is not a closed course, but we attempt to deter vehicle traffic for runner safety.

Give yourself a chance to run without music or other distractions and take time to enjoy the scenery! It’s hard to say which view is most celebrated on the BIH course, but for certain the “Valley of No Wires” is a memorable one. This remote area of Lancaster County is completely off the grid and not often experienced by those outside the Plain Community.

Half Marathon Celebration

Don’t Miss the After Party

“Awesome atmosphere, wonderful people, unbeatable countryside!”

There is no better way to learn about a culture and its people than through food. Join us as runners and their families, volunteers, and members of the Bird-in-Hand community all gather together in celebration. Enjoy delicious BBQ chicken, grilled sausages, and all the fixings, followed by cake and ice cream.  It’s a fun day of community and fellowship that is free of charge.

Ready to experience Lancaster County like never before?  Join our community and register for the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon or 5k here. We can’t wait to see you!