Marathon Training

The 19 Best Handcycle Races, Marathons, and Half-Marathons in the USA in 2023

Photo: Getty Images / Aris Messinis
Hand cyclists looking to join a race or marathon can look ahead to what awaits them in the upcoming year. Whether you are an active participant in the handcycle circuit or you want to join in on the experience, 2023 is full of events that have opened their courses to para-athletes. Some of the best handcycle races are held throughout the USA, all varying in terms of length and intensity, according to Janet Patton, the vice president of event production and expansion at Achilles International, a global organization that transforms the lives of people with disabilities through athletic programs and social connection.

If you want to learn more, we’ve curated a list of handcycle race locations, arranged in order of when they’re taking place.

Top 2023 Handcycle Race Locations and Events in the USA

Ahead, the top handcycle marathon, half-marathon, and race locations in the USA in 2023:

Handcycle marathons and half marathons

Museum of Aviation Foundation Marathon

Being held at the Robins Air Force Base, which is home to one of the largest aviation museums in the country, this largely flat course is ideal if you’re chasing your Boston qualifier. Marathoners lap twice around twice around the base, and mostly over paved roads.

For more information, you can visit the official website.

When and where: January 14, 2023; Robins Air Force Base, Georgia

Cost of entry: $110 (Early registration) or $120 (Regular registration)

Houston Marathon

This fast and relatively flat course that will take you on a tour of Houston. Held in the winter months, you can expect respite from the heat and enjoy the chillier weather as you make your way through the marathon.

For more information, you can visit this page or the official website.

When and where: January 15, 2023; Houston, Texas

Cost of entry: $180

Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon

If you want beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, this course offers just that experience with 18 miles of the marathon along long sandy stretches of beach and rolling surf. You’ll also zip past Buena Vista Lagoon, and through the quaint streets of downtown Carlsbad.

Interested participants must confirm their ability to complete the course and complete a questionnaire prior to registration. For more information, you can visit this page or the official website.

When and where: January 15, 2023; Carlsbad, California

Cost of entry: Pricing available upon registration

Galveston Marathon and Half-Marathon

This Boston qualifier takes you on a tour of downtown Galveston’s historic Strand district and Seawall Boulevard, while rewarding you with scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico in the home stretch of the race.

For more information, you can visit the official website.

When and where: February 26, 2023; Galveston, Texas

Cost of entry: $70 (21K) or $90 (42K)

Los Angeles Marathon

Enjoy the sites that Los Angeles has to offer, and pass iconic landmarks along the way, starting from the Dodgers Stadium through West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, all the way to the Avenue of The Stars in Century City.

In this event, athletes are required to comply with the event rules, including the use of a handcycle that meets the specifications provided by the organizer. For more information, you can visit this page or the official website.

When and where: March 19, 2023, Los Angeles, California

Cost of entry: Pricing available upon registration

Salt Lake City Half Marathon and Marathon

Starting at the Olympic Legacy Bridge, then towards the Wasatch Mountains, and ending at the Olympic Legacy Plaza, this marathon allows you to enjoy the sights of Salt Lake City while you cruise through the mostly flat and downhill course.

For more information, you can visit the official website.

When and where:  April 22, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah

Cost of entry: $70 (Half Marathon) and $80 (Marathon)

Pittsburgh Marathon

Consisting of a course that offers views of the three rivers, and a tour of thirteen neighborhoods, each with their own distinct character, this marathon will show you some of the best of what the Steel City has to offer.

Hand cyclists must submit proof of their qualifications and receive approval from the event organizers prior to registration. For more information, you can visit this page or the official website.

When and where: May 7, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Cost of entry: Pricing available upon registration

OC Marathon

If you can’t get enough of coastal byways, this course offers you breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Big Corona Beach. You’ll also traverse through the seaside village of Corona Del Mar and past the homes and boats of the neighborhoods within the vicinity.

For more information, you can visit the official website.

When and where: May 27, 2023; Costa Mesa; California

Cost of entry: $119

Vermont City Marathon

Tour through a few of Burlington’s most-famed locations, including the vibrant Church Street Marketplace, and catch glimpses of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains along the way.

Handcycle athletes who want to join the marathon are required to inform the event organizer prior to the race to ensure the race accommodates the needs of participants ahead of time. For more information, you can visit this page or the official website.

When and where: May 28, 2023; Burlington, Vermont

Cost of entry: $125

Utah Valley Half Marathon

With the majestic mountains of Provo Canyon serving as a backdrop, this course is for anyone who likes taking the scenic route. The race ends at the heart of charming downtown Provo, which is contained by mountains on one side and a freshwater lake on the other.

For more information, you can visit the official website.

When and where: June 3, 2023; Provo, Utah

Cost of entry: $89

Missoula Marathon

Flat, fast, and a Boston qualifier, this marathon will tour you through Missoula, where you will be wowed by its beautiful natural scenery. Expect dazzling views of the surrounding mountains and expansive flatlands.

For more information, you can visit the official website.

When and where: June 25, 2023; Missoula; Montana

Cost of entry: $85 (21K) or $95 (42K)

San Francisco Marathon

Roll through the charming city of San Francisco, starting from the waterfront, across the Golden Gate Bridge, through its historic neighborhoods and past landmarks, including the Chase Stadium.

With its hilly topography, it one of the more challenging handcycle race locations—something to keep in mind if you’re considering joining the marathon. For more information, you can visit this page or the official website.

When and where: July 23, 2023; San Francisco, California

Cost of entry: Pricing available upon registration

Chicago Marathon

Mostly flat and ideal for athletes looking to Boston quality, the Chicago Marathon will take you around the Windy City. It begins and ends at Grant Park, but you will see over 25 neighborhoods along the way.

Keep in mind that the last day to register for this race is on November 16, 2022, so if you’re interested, you might want to act quick. For more information, you can visit this page or the official website.

When and where: October 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois

Cost of entry: Pricing available upon registration

Detroit Free Press Marathon

Detroit’s hometown marathon will take you on a tour of the city, from the historic Woolbridge neighborhood, where Victorian homes line its streets to the Eastern Market, a thriving destination for art, design, and food.

For more information, you can visit this page or the official website.

When and where: October 15, 2023; Detroit, Michigan

Cost of entry: Registration opens January 1, 2023

New York City Marathon

One of the major marathons in the USA, participants can enjoy the energy that New York City has to offer. Cheers will carry you through every mile of the marathon, making the experience all the more electrifying.

For more information, you can visit this page or the official website.

When and where: November 5, 2023; New York, New York

Cost of entry: Pricing available upon registration

Handcycle Races

Bayou City Classic

The Bayou City Classic, will be held in downtown Houston, where verdant greenery is enclosed within the core of the city. Participants can choose between a 5K or 10 race upon registration.

For more information, you can visit the official website.

When and where: March 4, 2023; Houston, Texas

Cost of entry: $45 (5K or 10K)

Gate River Run

Held in Jacksonville, this event presents an opportunity for experienced hand cyclists and those who want to work their way up to a longer race. It’s a 15K run—a few kilometers short of a half-marathon.

For more information, you can visit the official website.

When and where: March 4, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida

Cost of entry: $50

Amway River Bank Run

Held in downtown Grand Rapids, the racing event will have you cruising along their charming streets, where historic brick buildings adorned with decorative cornices continue to reside. Expect to take on 25 kilometers in this race.

For more information, you can visit the official website.

When and where: May 10, 2023;Grand Rapids, Michigan

Cost of entry: $70

Boogie to the Bank

A Columbia Falls Heritage Day tradition, Boogie to the Bank is 10K course that all athletes can experience. It starts at the North Fork Road and ends in the middle of Columbia Falls, where you’re rewarded with scenic mountain views.

For more information, you can visit this page.

When and where: July 29, 2023; Columbia Falls, Montana

Cost of entry: $20

FAQs About Handcycle Races

What is handcycling?

“Handcycles allow people with disabilities who have limited or no use of their legs to participate and compete in mainstream races,” explains Patton.

How many types of handcycles are there?

All handcycles (aka hand cranks), according to Patton, have three wheels, handlebars, and a gear system. They’re propelled forward with the arms, and Patton says they move in a push-pull cadence. However, you will often come across two common types—recreational handcycles, such as upright and recumbent varieties and competitive handcycles, which are “lighter and lower to the ground,” says Patton.

Which type of handcycle is allowed in a racing event?

“The rules for what is and is not allowed in road races are varied by race organizers,” says Patton—which is why it’s often recommended that you contact the event organizer prior to the registration to ensure the type of handcycle you’re using is permitted.

Is there a procedure for athletes who want to register for a race using a handcycle?

“People who wish to race using a handcycle must coordinate with each individual race and register as an athlete with a disability (AWD),” says Patton. “Procedures and accessibility can vary.” For first-timers, it might also be helpful to join an organization that will help you through the process. One of which is Achilles International. “[We] help break down barriers to the start line for athletes with disabilities,” says Patton, adding they also offer a community of support.

Loading More Posts...