Let's face it: A marathon is too damn far. Ironically, running 26.2 miles is unhealthy, and there's plenty of science to back that up. Not to mention that the L.A. Marathon is poorly managed, to an almost absurd extent. (Good luck using the bathroom before the race; the line will be about 45 minutes long.) Thankfully, the Los Angeles Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, set for Oct. 26 this year, kills two birds with one stone. The downtown race's organization is flawless, with plenty of food, drink, music and other entertainments. The pre- and post-race swag is impeccable. (Smoothies? Yep. Free Clif products? Indeed.) And the length is exactly right: 13.1 miles is enough to make you feel as if you really did something but not so far that you'll, say, die of dehydration. Some people complain that it's corporate because the Rock 'n' Roll group holds races nationwide — ignore them. This half marathon has what runners deserve: creature comforts. —Ben Westhoff
Start line is L.A. Live at Figueroa Street; finish line is L.A. Live at South Flower Street and West Olympic Boulevard, dwntwn., 90015. runrocknroll.competitor.com/los.angeles.