Check out AmericanRunnerBlog.com’s 2022 Race Calendar for the Best Running Events and Races in Georgia!
Hey Georgia. Here’s our Top Picks for the Best Georgia Running Events December 2022 listed under our A, B, C, D headings: Running in Atlanta (A), Best Race in Georgia (B), 2022 Georgia Race Calendar Options (C), Difficult Race in Georgia (D). Included is our commentary about these races, links to the events and a few items of suggested running apparel and gear, especially those that are Made in USA.
- A (Atlanta) — Run the Lights 5k
Rating: Holiday Favorite 5k
- B (Best) — Savannah Bridge Run
Rating: Keeping it Local 15k 10k 5k
- C (Complete) — Atlanta Westside 10
Rating: Beer Party 10m 10k
- D (Difficult) — Cloudland Canyon Trail Races
Rating: Tough 50m 50k 13.1 5k
A (Atlanta) — Run the Lights 5k in Marietta
Our Top Pick for Atlanta was a brilliant substitution.
Once again, our Top Pick for Atlanta just vanished. But this time I got fooled by an internet listing that just wouldn’t go away. We wanted a family friendly event in December to balance with all of the longer distance races that we like to write about, and the Jingle Jog 5k that we used to run years ago with our kids immediately came to mind. Google Salvation Army Jingle Jog 5k, and there it is at the top of the listings.
The Problem is that the Jingle Jog 5k you see on the internet was a 2016 event, and the listing you now see has an estimated date on a Race Entry website. I generally email the race directors with a question or a request, and Jason from Performance Race Services informed me that the Jingle Jog 5k was a now defunct event!
That said we went searching and came up with a brilliant alternative. Why not write about the Run the Lights 5k up at Life University in Marietta.
Back before some of you were born, Atlanta was a big Southern town with 3 network affiliate TV stations, channel 8, and a little UVF station called Channel 17. But Ted Turner was now the owner, and he had big plans for the future. He was going to beam that sucker right up to some satellite in the sky and send it out to every cable-tv outlet in America.
And it worked. The Atlanta Braves were rebranded as America’s Team, and a silver haired chiropractic doctor named Sid Williams started running TV ads and became a national icon. He got so famous he later established Life University as The College for chiropractic studies. Hell, I’ve even bumped into a cross country skier on the Silver Comet Trail who had travelled all the way from Norway to get this kind of training!
Why run this Race? Because they put up some 3-zillion Christmas lights on this course. Explore Georgia says it’s one of the biggest events in the Southeast. After dark, folks line up for miles to drive thru the campus, but you’re going to get a chance to run thru it. It’s a 4:30 PM start time, so you’ll be starting out as the sun goes down and the lights go up!
They’re even providing a race photographer for all live participants, so make sure you’ve got what it takes to make it to the Finish Line….!
Where to Stay? Your cousin’s house in Marietta, but anywhere around the new Braves Stadium should be fine. We Googled it, and Life University is 4 miles away from Truist Park. That said, read the instructions on the website re: where to turn by that Toyota dealership in order to get to the Start line and which directional App they recommend you use.
Registration costs always go up as you get closer to the event. So be sure to check out our 2022 Georgia Race Calendar and plan ahead. We’ll be updating this with 2023 events as we get closer to the end of the year.
B (Best) — Best Race in Georgia: the Savannah Bridge Run
Keep it Local is all the rage, and nobody does it better than the current Mayor of Savannah. After throwing out all of those thousands of out-of-town folks who flocked into Savannah each year crowding the hotel lobbies, restaurants, bars, and River Street shopping for the annual Rock n Roll Savannah, the Savannah Sports Council now proudly hosts the local Savannah Bridge Run.
The Savannah Morning News reported that Rock n Roll Savannah attracted 20,000 visitors from all 50 states and 20 foreign countries and brought in $15-20,000,000.
That’s fifteen to twenty million dollars! Hell, Beverly and I spent $600 and that included a couple of tips at local restaurants that you didn’t see this year!
By comparison the Savannah Bridge Run is said to draw around 5,000 participants, but most of them appeared to be local. In 2019 the 10k registered 711 from Georgia, 118 from across the river in South Carolina, plus 25 from Florida who could have driven up from Jacksonville in a couple of hours. That said, as many as 9 out of 10 runners appeared to live close enough to have driven to this race and headed home.
The promotional piece describes this race as “the South’s Toughest Bridge Run.” My experience is that all bridge runs are tough. Like that one we crossed in the inaugural Ft Lauderdale Marathon back in 2006 where we separated the Men from the Floridians. That said, the Talmadge Memorial Bridge is 1.9 miles long with a 5.5% grade and 185 feet of clearance giving you at least a couple of inches of breathing room between you and one of those giant cargo ships from China bringing in stuff for Walmart.
The 15k is called a double pump: confusing. I thought double meant 2? And the 5k and 10k races start at different places. And how are you expected to know how to get from the 5k finish over to the 10k start if you’re intending to do the Double Pump? Answer: if you’re local you know these things!
Where to Stay? Anywhere but Savannah. The Mayor doesn’t want you here, so run the race and get the Hell out! Link to Savannah Morning News April 18. Link to Atlanta Journal Constitution article Sunday April 24 and scroll to the bottom of Page 28 (8B).
C (Complete) —Atlanta Westside 10
C Completes our 2022 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the the Atlanta Westside 10.
If you’re confused about how to make it to the Start Line at the Savannah Bridge Run, Welcome to the Bigs. Even the promoters recommend you catch a ride if you wanna find this place. There ain’t no parking around here.
I grab an Uber now and then when I need to get somewhere and Mama has the car. But nothing, absolutely nothing stresses me out more than the UNCERTANITY of how to get to the Start Line on time. It’s so bad that Beverly and I had words the week before the Atlanta 10 Miler regarding the necessity of exiting the expressway on our way to Church and making sure we know how to get into Atlantic Station on a Sunday morning.
The Westside 10 is presented by Run Social Atlanta and Monday Night Brewing. In June the Club hosts the Monday Nighter, in August The ATL, and in December the Westside 10. What I really like about this event is the choice of running a 10k or a 10 miler. Plus there’s a Free Beer at the end of this run assuming you’re over 21 and can prove it!
If you’re having problems locating the Start line, the Finish Line is No Problama: It’s Monday Night Brewing at 670 Trabert Avenue. We’re always spotting folks on my street who are lost as a coot, so I can relate to what you’re going to experience finding anything on a street that just stops in one place and starts again somewhere else.
If you’re heading north on Howell Mill from downtown, you’ll pass the City Water Works at 17th and then take the next right onto Talbert. If you’re on Northside, stop at Goodwill, pick up a few things and ask for directions. I mean you’re only a block away. I just don’t know how you get there from here.
Like the good folks at the Atlanta Track Club, these people at Run Social Atlanta know a thing or two about marketing. Packet Pick-up for the Westside 10 is conveniently timed for Happy Hour at Monday Night Brewing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. There is no packet pick up on Friday cause the Bar will be crowded with regulars.
Get there early for the luleman pre-race warm up. Starting Time is 8AM for both races assuming you can find the Start Line next to that provision company on Howell Mill Road. My old boss Mike Bowen used to have his art studio down in this area back when he was designing album jackets for the LeFevres. Those warehouses all look alike to me. Personally, I’d make a Test Run just to make sure…
And that’s exactly what Beverly and I just did. Monday Night Brewing was easy enough to find. Just have a strategy for how you plan to leave this end of the cul-de-sac location after the race. Next try and locate the Start Line. The White Provision Company noted on the website is in the process of becoming Shake Shack. So when you spot lululemon on Howell Mill Road…your just a few feet away.
Jason did it in 1:13 gun time in the 2020 virtual race. If I heard gun fire I’d run too, but Jason had to cool to look death in the face and turn on Strava before he headed out at a 7:19 pace. You’re going to like this event!
Where to stay? Are you serious! This is west of the Downtown Connector and while the cool is coming it ain’t here yet. No boutique hotels. You got a thousand places to stay downtown. Jest don’t you go strolling around here in the dark unless you know where you are.
What to do? If you’re running this event I assume you are local, but check out Explore Georgia if you’re going to be in the area and take a fancy to doing this race..
D (Difficult) — Cloudland Canyon Trail Races up in Rising Fawn, GA
The event website tells you to “get ready for a land of waterfalls.” Click on the link and you’ll see a fella in shorts and a blue t-shirt running along a mountain ridge like it was March and not December. And it might be December. I have memories of riding my bicycle in shorts and a t-shirt on Christmas Eve down in Macon, Georgia as a child.
Just below the big Cloudland Canyon trail races pic is an inspirational video by Mary Lide Parker that will absolutely get you thinking about running this event.
I said event, but I should have said events. On Saturday Run Bum hosts the 50 Miler and Half Marathon Trail Races, and on Sunday they do a 50k and the 5k Cloudland Canyon trail races. If you’ve been thinking about doing that first trail run, sign up for the 5k and get a taste of what it’s all about.
According to Google “Cloudland Canyon State Park is in northwest Georgia, on the western edge of Lookout Mountain. Boulder-strewn Sitton Gulch Creek cuts a deep gorge into the mountain. Sitton’s Gulch Trail runs parallel to the creek. The short, steep Waterfalls Trail, with stairs down into the canyon, leads to Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls, where water cascades down into pools. Nearby, Sitton’s Cave has mineral formations.”
Where to Stay? Cloudland Canyon State Park has 16 cottages, 10 yurts (whatever that is), 72 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, plus a huge group Lodge that’ll sleeps 40 of you. Search Where to stay near Cloudland Canyon State Park and you’ll see ads for vrbo and Airbnb plus listings for White Fawn Cabin, Tree Top Hideaways, The Groovy Nomad, and a crappy $85 a night 2-Star Days Inn. Plan B stop by the Canyon Grill near Lookout Mountain and ask for help.
How to Train: Cloudland Canyon goes from 800 to 1980 feet of elevation. Run Hills.
Gear Tip: Layer up but pack for cool, cold and wet options. I noticed lots of headlamps in the forementioned video. You’re starting early when it’s still dark outside, and if you’re not fast on that 50 miler you may need a little illumination at the end. Personally, I think my UltrAspire waist lamp is head and shoulders better than your stupid head lamp, But I concede those headlamps shining in the dark looked seriously cool at the Alien Half back in August.
Runners’ Gear: Click on our Gear Page for the Big List of Made in USA products
Earlier in the year we said that we’d start mixing in some cold weather gear, so here we are. I’ve owned a couple of these products, but a lot of these are new to me.
I thought these Sheep to Shelf merino wool products were a little on the warm side for runners, but there it was on their website: the Runner’s World logo. Duckworth is a big line of Made in USA products with everything from women’s racerback tanks to whatever you might need to complete your Seven Continent Marathon run down in Antarctica. Take note of the lightweight, midweight, or heavyweight options, or you’ll be like me walking around Boy Scout camp years ago wearing something my uncle brought back from Germany. ie a little warm for this part of the world!
I’m a visor guy. I run with my sunglasses on top and grab ‘em when I need ‘em. These Halo Headbands are the real thing. The folks at Halo say they are “technology advanced sweatbands that redirect sweat away from your eyes.” Me, I ordered the new Halo Sport Visor with the Grip Technology. I like their Made in USA visors better, but I’m saving this one for a rainy day when I need the extra grip to keep the visor in place.
I’ve run in 90-degree heat. They work.
Can’t wait to try on a pair this winter. Their tights are half as much as what I’m used to paying. These snug fitting midweight SupplexLycra running tights are great for cool weather running and are wind/water resistant and soft. http://www.soark.com
My favorite sock brand has some new offerings, and I’m probably going to try out a couple of pairs this winter. Look for this photo on the Wright Socks Merino Wool Page of 3 pairs of socks hanging on a clothes’ line. You need to air dry running socks.
I discovered a little company online up in Vermont called Skida. As in skiing. I like warm, and my Skida Nordic Headband is light, warm, snug, and holds my sunglasses nice and tight. I chose black, but you’re going to be amazed at the selection of colors in their line. And Make sure you understand the difference between Nordic and Alpine. Nordic is warm. Alpine is warmer
Skida continues to expand their offerings and now has beanies, headbands, hats, bataclavas and a whole lot more. Like hats for Kids. And it’s all locally Made in Vermont.
We like Track Smith for all the right reasons: serious Made in USA running apparel. But we were surprised when their name came up on a search for a wool running skirt Made in USA. We never did find the running skirt, but we did find socks, hoodies, crews, and something called The Down Easter made with merino wool…. Track Smith describes it as a high-performance mid-layer that protects from biting winds.
WSI makes Cold weather clothing for runners and outdoor training which heats up when you wear it. Stuff regular folks like you and I and the Minnesota Vikings might wear. Go browsing thru their website, and you’ll see products with names like Heater Tundra Base Layer Pants that keep you warm in 0-75 degrees. The WSI line includes socks, compression shorts, glove liners, hoods, long sleeve shirts, pants, and a performance running bra.
We like to talk about a couple of items each month. A couple are affiliate relationships. Most are Made in USA.
In July we put together a Big List of Made in USA running products on our Gear Page, so check it out to see what we’ve found thus far.
In October we expanded this list to include cold weather gear and other products for you to put on your Christmas List. Got a favorite Made in USA products that you don’t see on this list? Shoot us an email or a link and we’ll look into it. Our address is email@example.com
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