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We’ve updated our Georgia Race Calendar of Running Events in Georgia for 2023 to introduce some new events as well as to reflect old favorites that moved from one month into another. Hot Chocolate Atlanta moved up to January while the Yeti Nightmare Trail Run fell back into March. We’re not just about Atlanta, cause once again we’ve managed to find interesting running events in 34 different Georgia communities.
Each month we feature running events of varying distances and difficulties under headings of A Running in Atlanta, B Best Race in Georgia, C something to Complete your options, plus a race we just deem D as in Difficult: like this month’s Bridge Run in Brunswick. This month we’ve added an E for Extra with races just across the State Line.
This is a Blog about running in Georgia. And this Post is about Best Georgia Running Events February 2023.
- A (Atlanta) — Atlanta Marathon
Rating: Big 26.2 13.1 5k Kids Run
- B (Best) — Augusta Half Marathon
Rating: Fun 15k 5k
- C (Complete) — Skidaway Island Marathon
Rating: Island Run 26.2 13.1 30k 10k 5k
- D (Difficult) — The Bridge Run in Brunswick
Rating: Hard to Repeat 10k 5k
A (Atlanta) — Publix Atlanta Marathon
Welcome to the Bigs. The Atlanta Marathon and Half Marathon is a Big Race with some Fast Company. Here are some highlights from last year’s race as reported by Jessica Moore for Atlanta’s 11 Alive TV station:
“World and state records were set in the Publix Atlanta Marathon weekend.
Shlomo Fishman of Silver Spring, Maryland, finished in 1st place in the Atlanta Publix Marathon with a time of 2:37:32.
Kenyans Nicholas Kosimbei and Dorcas Tuitoek made history. Kosimbei ran the fastest half marathon ever in Georgia shattering the previous mark of 1:03:59 and finishing more than two minutes ahead of his nearest rival with a time of 1:00:36.
Tuitoek also shattered the record with a time of 1:08:22 in the women’s half marathon race just seven seconds under the Georgia state record set by Molly Seidel last year, who went on to win a bronze medal in the Olympic Games marathon.”
The Atlanta Track Club proudly notes that the Publix Atlanta Marathon is an Abbott World Marathon Major Wanda Age Group World Rankings Qualifying Race. Clueless about what an Abbott World Marathon Major Wanda Age Group World Rankings Qualifying Race was, I clicked on the link. It took me to Parking??? Hint to folks at the ATC to check this out
If you search online for Atlanta Marathon, make sure that’s what you get. On my first attempt I ended up on Discover Atlanta with links to nearby Hotels and places to eat like the Slutty Vegan, Municipal Market, and Krog Street Market. Municipal Market is interesting and Krog Street is Hip, but Don’t You go walking over there from downtown unless you’re comfortable with folks on the sidewalk talking to themselves, homeless people sleeping in doorways, or hucksters who just need bus money to get back home.
That said I made a second attempt and ended up on the Atlanta Track Club website. Scroll down the Events pulldown to Publix Atlanta Marathon and you’ll find everything you need to know. Here’s a couple of notes:
The Start / Finish lines are at Centennial Olympic Park The Expo is Friday and Saturday at the Georgia Aquarium. Lots of parking but $$$. The Route Maps are there for both the Marathon and Half Marathon courses. The ATC is now running a 5k and a number of Kid’s events on Saturday. The Marathon and Half Marathon races are on Sunday.
I’ve run the new 13.1 course and really enjoyed it. It goes up, it goes down, it goes all around Downtown, Midtown, Piedmont Park, and Georgia Tech before returning again to Centennial Olympic Park.
Personal: I just don’t think I can’t run the full 26.2 because the new marathon course runs past the finish line at 13.1, and I really don’t think mentally I could make myself do this…
The full runs past Centennial Olympic Park at 13.1 and heads west towards Atlanta University before making a big loop and turning back towards the State Capitol. Here the course turns south running under the Olympic Rings to lap around Turner Field (now Georgia State Football Stadium) over to Grant Park and back to the Finish Line in Centennial Olympic Park.
Training Tip: If you live here, go out and jog the course. Your Hometown Advantage is that you slept in our own bed, ate your own food, and know the course.
Where to Park: There is lots of parking around Centennial Olympic Park, and Marta is an option. But I’d do a test run just to make sure you know you can arrive in time for a 7AM Sunday morning race start.
Where to Stay? Check out Explore Georgia and Trip Advisor and do your homework: Lots of places to stay, eat, and park around Centennial Olympic Park plus Marta Rail and Bus options all within walking distance of the Start / Finish lines.
Registration costs always go up as you get closer to the event. So be sure to check out our 2023 Georgia Race Calendar and plan ahead.
B (Best) — Best Race in Georgia: the Augusta Half Marathon
The Augusta 70.3 Half Ironman is absolutely one of my favorite events, and last year I got the chance to run the Augusta Half Marathon. This is a 13.1 race with 10k and 5k alternatives. I was hoping it was the same run course as the Ironman, but it’s not. The organizer says the Half “takes runners on a course through some of the Garden City’s most scenic areas.” I don’t remember it being all that scenic at the beginning, but they do a good job showing you where you will be running with good route maps, plus where to park etc.
The folks in Augusta have Spectator Information on their website with recommendations where best to wait, watch, grab a coffee. That’s nice. Gives the Babe an alternative to heading back to the hotel and setting the alarm for 2 hours.
The Augusta Half Marathon website is pretty good, but that copy writer ain’t going to Heaven either. “Gentle hill between 5 and 7” was a 2-mile UPHILL that was not on my radar. Where in the XYZ do you go to train for a 2 mile uphill? Answer, you live here! Like that good looking tall guy in my age group podium photo I posted on Face Book last year who lives across the river in one of those big houses on the South Carolina side. Yeah, that and him being a 2-time competitor at Kona…
What I liked about this race is that like Cincinnati Flying Pig (half marathon course) you gradually make your way up to a high point before barreling down to the finish line. So pace yourself on that gentle uphill between miles 5 and 7, cause the final 6 miles are a series of downs and flats that will put a smile on your face.
Where to Stay? The Start / Finish is at the Augusta Commons not far from the Savannah River, and there’s a really nice hotel near-by where the better class stays during the Augusta Ironman.: The Augusta Marriot and Convention Center. Beverly and I said why not and a booked a room there after we registered for the Augusta Half Marathon. Hint: Request River View if you can afford it, cause that view of the Convention Center’s roof wasn’t that damn scenic either.
But I’d stay there again. Friday night Beverly and I headed out on foot with 10 or 12 options for grabbing a bite. We ended up at a cool little joint called Nacho Mama’s. I ordered a burrito and a Corona, and by the time they had finished piling on all of the extras it would have taken two of me to carry both plates to the table. Its apparently a local favorite, cause as we were heading out there was a line out front that reminded you of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Race morning the elevator at the Marriott was packed with runners who all exited the lobby and hung a left while I marched straight forward two blocks before turning south. Five blocks later I realized they knew the short cut thru the parking lot to the Start Line while I didn’t…
For those of you who don’t’ drive Beemers there are other more plebeian options near-by.
Explore Georgia lists 40 Motels and 1 Bed and Breakfast, but you need to know how close they are to the Convention Center ie the closest landmark to the Start Line. We did a Search: Where to stay in Augusta near the Convention Center, and Trip Advisor gave us 6 choices within 1 mile.
I kept thinking there were a couple of other options. The Queen Anne Inn is walking distance but the Partridge Inn and the Lookaway Inn are 4 and 5 miles away.
C (Complete) —Skidaway Island Marathon
C Completes our 2023 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the the Skidaway Island Marathon near Savannah.
Back in January The Jekyll Island Marathon claimed to be the ONLY 26.2 being held on any of Georgia’s barrier islands. That said, it makes you wonder if the folks near Brunswick are unaware of February’s Skidaway Island Marathon near Savannah, or whether, technically speaking, Skidaway Island ain’t a real barrier island?
Photo Credit: Cory Brooks
This is another event that moved from one month in 2022 to another month in 2023, so I’m already starting out with a bad attitude. The folks at Skidaway Island Marathon call themselves Savannah’s Marathon. I have two problems with that. (1) It ain’t in Savannah. It’s on Skidaway Island. And (2) Rock n Roll is… or at least was until the major threw them out apparently indifferent to the $15-20,000,000 million dollars a year the Rock n Roll brought into the city.
But that’s all in the past… Skidaway Island looks like a great place to run. The island “boosts over 40 miles of trails, parks and walking paths winding through marshlands, alongside tidal creeks, golf courses and 151 lagoons with warm sea breezes that blow over the tidal marshes.” If you’re running the half you’re making 1 loop. If you’re doing the full, you’re running a second.
Last year Eddie repeated to win the marathon 2:45, but this time it was Samantha coming in just minutes behind. So get ready cause you’re gonna have some fast company on this race. Like that fella in the blue Snickers Marathon shirt in the photo. I’m pretty certain I see him every year at the Macon Labor Day Road Race. He’s fast too.
The Skidaway Island Marathon event website lists lots of running options including a full marathon, half marathon, 30k, 10k, and a 5k.
Where to stay? Take your choice in Savannah, but lesser options are closer to this event. Trip Advisor says you have 10-12 motels that are 5-6 miles away. Like the one we stay at over by the Mall, but the TV doesn’t work if it’s raining!
You could also look into staying on the Island. Both AirBnB and Vrbo claim to have vacation rentals on Skidaway, but I’d also take a look at the cabins and campsites at Skidaway Island State Park. Should you choose to make a weekend of it and stay at some fancy place in Savannah, you’re 18 miles from Skidaway Island and at least 36 minutes to the Start Line.
What to do? Lots to do on Skidaway Island, Savannah Riverfront, River Cruises, Tybee Island etc. , but check out Explore Georgia if you’re looking for more options..
D (Difficult) — The Bridge Run in Brunswick
I grew up attending church around the corner from Sidney Lanier’s home in Macon. Attended Sidney Lanier High for Boys. Even gave my Dad a tapestry of Sidney Lanier’s Marshes of Glynn for his birthday one year. So the name Sidney Lanier is special to me.
The Sidney Lanier Bridge is 7,780 foot long with the center of the bridge some 480 feet above the water in the Brunswick River below. To give you a little perspective, Stone Mountain is listed as 825 feet above the surrounding area, and Strava recorded 661 feet of elevation when Sarah Lynn and the boys and I walked up the trail in July.
Brunswick will be my first official Bridge Run, but it ain’t my first rodeo. The inaugural Ft Lauderdale Marathon was scheduled for November 2005, but it was moved to February 2006 after the hurricane blew the road away. It was here in this race as we ran up and over the bridge across the intercoastal that we separated the men from the Floridians.
The Bridge Run in Brunswick is certified by the U.S. Track and Field Association as the Toughest 5k in Georgia. I’m sure it’s going to be tough, but it’s pretty obvious to me that these Track and Field folks have never attempted the nearly 2,000 feet of elevation at the Ballbuster 5k up Brasstown Bald. Then again, if we run up, over, and back again there’s definitely going to be some elevation going on here.
That said, The Bridge Run looks like a great event with (4) different ways to participate:
10k runners will run first and do a double pump running up and over twice. The First Responder event is next 5k runners will run up, over, and back to the finish line Walkers will get their chance after all of the bodies have been located and identified
The race has an Expo and a Pasta Dinner option on Friday night, but the address given for both is the Sidney Lanier Bridge, Highway 17 South at Conservation Way? I assume if you live there you know exactly where this is, but it’s somewhat discombobulating to an outsider.
I found some additional information on a 2021 sponsor’s website. The Expo and Friday Night Pasta Dinner are held at the foot of the bridge. You can also pick up your bib at the Expo on Saturday, but you’d better be there when they open the Expo at 6 if you’re planning to run the 10k at 7.
How to Train: Run hills, duh. From Grant Park Pizza I’ve got a 1-mile downhill on Cherokee Avenue with 6 streets on my left all offering a one to four blocks uphill climb. Running up each incline and then down to the next I am slowing building up my endurance from 5 miles to 6 to 7 this past week. Basically, you need to run up and down a big hill adding to your repeats each week to build endurance.
What to do. Everything. Beverly and I ate at a seafood restaurant overlooking a dock with a shrimp boat, barefooted on the sand at St Simmons Island, took a deck tour of an 1812 Privateer The Lynx that was wintering in Brunswick, and left town with a list of places we’d like to go, see, and eat at next time…
Where to Stay? Beverly and I booked a room on AirBnB in a 100 year old mansion in the historic district within walking distance of downtown. Explore Georgia lists everything from Hotels to Campsites, so you’ve got options. St Simmons, Jekyll Island, and Sea Island are all close by, just make sure you know how long it might take you to get to the Start line.
E (Extra) — Races just across the Line
This is a new entry for 2023 that we will try and give some attention best we can.
We focus on running in Georgia, but I worked in advertising and one of the Facts about buying ads in this State is that half your money goes somewhere else. Run ads in Savannah or Augusta and you’re getting South Carolina, Columbus gets you into Alabama, and the big TV station in Thomasville is part of the Tallahassee market. Same principle also applies in reverse to Greenville, Chattanooga, and Jacksonville.
So here’s a couple of local to you running events if you live in Columbus or Thomasville:
The War Eagle Run is just across the line in Auburn, Alabama and offers you a half marathon distance race with a big SEC college football stadium finish. Even from Marietta won this race last year with a blazing 1:11 time beating Anthony from hometown Auburn by over 6 minutes! The photos on the website wowed me, so I looked up the number of participants in the 2022 results: there were over 700 runners.
The Tallahassee Marathon is just across the line with a full marathon, half, and relay option.
I have some thoughts about this race. Number one: take note of the weather cause Florida heats up fast. It was brisk and chilly that February morning as we waited for the starting gun, but as I caught a glimpse of the sun coming up over the horizon I quickly peeled off a layer and handed it to Beverly.
This is a great course that starts near the State Capitol and flies down towards “the pancake-flat St. Marks Trail.” But be warned: That long downhill you enjoyed at the start of this race is the 1-2 mile uphill you’ll need to do on the other side of mile 24….
Runners’ Gear: Click on our Gear Page for the Big List of Made in USA products
After experiencing 7 degree temperature in December, we added some cold weather gear at the end of our January Blog Post. I’ve owned a couple of these products, but a lot of these are new to me.
Back in the fall I said that I was going to purchase a couple of pair of merino wool socks and try em out. Reading over the product descriptions on our Gear page, I decided that I would to try out a pair from a company that specialized in merino wool. The copy writer at Cloudland got my attention with his “you need a sock that propels you forward, not one that holds you back.”
I was hooked, I tried to buy. They must be good, cause they were sold out of 2 of the 3 socks I wanted!
I didn’t want to pay $6 shipping for 1 pair of socks, so I reverted to my Plan B: the Sock Addict. They have Running Socks Made in USA from a number of brands including Thorlos and Wright Socks. Search the site for Merino Wool Running Socks Made in USA and you’ll see socks from Darn Tough, Stego, and Wigwam.
Darn Tough Vermont
My schedule got all turned around when I got the call to come get Beverly who was up in Nashville and … I packed my run bag just in case. Everyone’s heard of Darn Tough Vermont, so I don’t need to do a whole lot of explanation. I typed in my zip code on their Find a Retailer, and I was presented 3 choices within 10 miles: Abbadabba’s in Little 5 Points, High Country Outfitters in Ansley Mall, and REI on the I-85 Access Road etc.
That said, I slipped on a pair and headed out for a 6 mile run in 40 degree cool up in Hendersonville, Tennessee and managed not to get run over by the guy in the dated red Corvette for whom those double yellow lines were no hinderance.
What I liked best about these socks is how light they felt. My feet were comfortable, and I never felt like I was wearing a pair of wool socks.
If you’ve never heard of Stego, welcome to the club. But a quick search on the internet lets you know they are a family owned business whose Merino wool socks are available for sale at the Sock Addict and other internet retailers. Me, I purchased the EnduroTec Merino Wool Light No Show Socks you see in the photo.
The folks at Stego say their socks are made to perform in the harshest conditions with a targeted blend of merino wool and polyester and are covered by a Lifetime Guarantee. I can’t fathom a Lifetime Guarantee for a pair of socks, You Die They Pay? …. but I can say that I ran 10+ miles on a hilly course on a 40 degree day and their socks kept my feet toasty warm.
The website of this legendary company proudly announces that they are the official sock of U.S. Ski & Snowboarding. I bought the SynchroKnit Patented Compression Fit Axiom No Show.
I currently do a pace run on a track on Thursdays, so I was questioning whether or not I would do this run in a pair of wool socks. But this industry is promoting merino wool socks as a year-round alternative to stinky feet.
To make this somewhat fair, I walked over and back to the gym in 40 degree weather. That said, I ran a 10k in under 1 hour on an indoor track in a pair of SOM Nutrail gym shoes. The Wigwam socks were comfortable, and my feet were warm.
Saturday I did a second run on the Hot Chocolate Atlanta 15k course in 32 degrees in my Newton Distance shoes.
I like these socks.
You can buy Wright Socks at the Sock Addict, but I didn’t see their new Merino wool offerings. 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.
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.
We put together a Big List of Made in USA running products on our Gear Page.
We’ve expanded this list to include cold weather gear and other products to put on your Wish List. Got a favorite Made in USA product that you don’t see on this list? Shoot us an email or a link and we’ll look into it. Our address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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