Best Running Event in Georgia.
Hotlanta Half Marathon 2023
We picked the Hotlanta Half Marathon as the Best Race in Georgia . Cept it ain’t happening this year!

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Last year we talked about getting peach ice cream from Dickie Farms after running Papa’s Peach Classic 5K in Musella and a number of other events. You can read about ‘em if you wish in our June 2023 post. We’re not just about Atlanta, cause once again we’ve managed to find interesting running events in 34 different Georgia communities for our 2024 Georgia Running Events Calendar.

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 Rabun Gap Half Marathon Trail Run.

This month we’ve added a little DD Night Time Ultra for those looking for something a bit more… 

This is a Blog about running in Georgia. And this Post is about Best Georgia Running Events June 2024.

A (Atlanta) — Summerfest 5K

Summerfest 5K in Virginia Highlands

Our Top Pick for Running in Atlanta is the is the Summerfest 5K in Virginia Highlands

The Blueberry Festival down in Alma is a once-a-year event in which everybody in the county shows up for the festival and parade, and a handful of folks sign up to run the 5K. But what happens once a year in Alma is something that happens almost every weekend somewhere in the big Atlanta Metro area.

“Virginia-Highland Summerfest is celebrating 39 years of fine art, live entertainment, and family fun in 2024! Year after year, our festival is considered one of the leading events in metro Atlanta, and we are excited to invite you to join our estimated 75,000 attendees on June 8 & 9 in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.”

The Virginia Highlands Summerfest 5K is part of a big festival weekend. Here are some of the highlights we found on the website:

Artist Market with over 200 fine art booths feature a wide variety of mediums including sculpture, painting, textiles, ceramics, photography, wood, and metal.

Live Music. Past acts have included Sister Hazel, Tonic, Drivin’ N Cryin’, Jason Isbell, Marc Broussard, BoDeans, Pat McGee Band, and many others.

5K Fun Run – almost 800 participants will race through the neighborhood.

Kidsfest –arts and crafts activities that focus around our art and music festival theme.

We found this from 2016. “This year’s Summerfest 5K Road Race will feature 1,500+ runners winding their way through the streets of Virginia-Highland.” On this side of the global pandemic, we expect the Virginia Highlands Summerfest 5K to get bigger!

My old Saturday morning running group would occasionally head out from the Little Tart Bakery in Grant Park and run thru Virginia Highlands. This is a cool intown Atanta neighborhood with period homes, tree lined streets, active retail area, restaurants, and legacy bars.

They’re not kidding about the size of this event. I’ve run thru their Saturday morning setup on more than one occasion. There are blocks and blocks of vendors displaying some seriously nice stuff.

On one particularly bad day, my friend Jeff noted there was a reason they called this area High Lands. Yes, there are some hills. But hey, this is Atlanta.

One of my all time favorite restaurant signs is posted out front of Pielands at the corner of Virginia and Highlands.

Yeah, that’s a Rivian in the photo.

That law degree you got pay off? You might just live here!  

Start: The Summerfest 5K race begins at the eastern end of the festival just one block east of the intersection of Virginia and North Highland. Since your Smartphone ain’t going to find this, try the address for Pielands and you’ll be close. Set your GPS for 1021 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

The Tot Trot starts later in the morning at the Elementary School around the corner.

How to Train: This is Atlanta. Get comfortable running hills.

Gear Tip: Packet pickup is at Phidippides Ansley Mall. Highland Runners is just around the corner, so make sure you got a decent pair of running shoes

Weather: According to gosouthatlanta.com, The average daily high temperature in Atlanta in June is 86°F (30°C). The average daily low is 67°F (19°C). You’re running at 8 o’clock in the morning, you’re going to be alright!

Need to Know: Parking is limited. Read the info on the event website. You might want to get a Marta Breeze Card and walk over from a nearby train station, get an Uber /Lyft, or both.   

Where to stay:  You running this race, you live in-town or you’re staying with your frat brother from law school. We looked around, there may be some AirB&B or a Vrbo options in the area, but the only property we found on Trip Advisor was that funky little Hotel Clermont a little less than a mile away.

Where to eat: Trust me, you’ve got options.

What to do: spend money. You got 200 Summerfest vendors, trendy retail area, restaurants, and legacy bars.

Registration costs always go up as you get closer to the event. So be sure to check out our new 2024 Georgia Race Calendar for the Best Georgia Running Events and plan ahead. Please send us an email and let us know if there is an interesting event we should be aware of..

B (Best) — Best Race in Georgia is the Braves Country 5K and Dash

Braves Country 5k
We picked the Atlanta Braves Country 5K as the Best Race in Georgia after the Hotlanta Half went south.

You looking for some Major League Fun?  You come to the right place: the Braves Country 5K at Truist Park… in Cumberland. What?

There are Half Marathon in Georgia that cost less than this race, but they don’t come with Braves Tickets. 5K registration (ages 8 & over) includes an Atlanta Braves game ticket and an Adidas short-sleeve shirt. 

Participants can purchase additional game tickets at a discounted rate for family and friends to join them at the Braves Game. Chris loves these pro team events. He’ll run the 5K, buy some extra tickets, take the wife and kids to the game!

Here’s how it works: After your registration is complete, you will receive a separate email from the Atlanta Braves within 7 business days with instructions on how to redeem your Braves ticket. You will have the opportunity to select your specific seating location.

Course Description: You will be running through the streets surrounding the Atlanta Braves Baseball Stadium at Truist Park. And like that sign on the Reds Stadium up in Cincinnati, you’ll be rounding third and headed for home with a major league finish On The Field!

Atlanta Braves Mascot, Braves Country 5k

This is a family friendly event that offers kids an opportunity to participate in the Dash (ages 7 & under). Dash participants will receive an Adidas short-sleeved shirt.

All skill levels are welcome!

Just don’t invite LITTLE G. from Snellville. He won the Hartwell Dam Run 5K last year as a 9-year old beating 450 other runners! (Read more in our May post)

I jogged over to watch the Atlanta Hawks Fast Break 5K back in February. The Atlanta Track Club does a nice job with these Big League events. Want to learn more? Check out the Atlanta Track Club or Major League Baseball sites for more information about the Atlanta Braves Country 5K.

The Braves Country 5K is part of the ATL Fit Fan Series. The ATL Fit Fan Series consists of all three Atlanta Track Club sports races and in-person participants of all three will receive a unique medal upon completion of the final race.

I tried Googling ATL FIT FAN SERIES. Not much there other than a FaceBook Post for the Atlanta Hawks Fast Break 5K and a Press Release announcing partnerships with 3 Atlanta sports teams: The Atlanta Hawks, The Atlanta Braves, and the Atlanta Falcons. No 5 Stripes, seriously?

This is a big league event. Garret from Atlanta won the Braves Country 5K last year with a blistering 4:59 pace! Jack from Tennessee and Hisato from Peachtree City came in 2nd and 3rd. I keep seeing Hisato’s name popping up in finishing results. Make a note: Hisato is Fast!

How Big? There were 51 pages of results totaling 2,515 runners. Hannah, George, and Cyrus finished it up last year with 23, 24, and 25 minute mile paces. Cyrus was only 12, so give him a break. And I suppose Hannah and George were walking…?

Need to Know: Free parking is not available for those registering on race day. Translation: You need to pre-register for this race. Free Parking is just another perk for these big league sports themed running events.

Set your GPS for Truist Park 755 Battery Ave. SE, Atlanta, Ga. 30339.

How to Train:  You’ve gone to a Braves Game? You’ve driven around I-75 and I-285? You know the area. Find a nice route in the neighborhood with some ups and downs.

Gear Tip: Watch the sun. This is a 7:30 am start. If the sun is behind the clouds, it might be cool in the shade. But I’d pack a visor and some sunglasses just in case…

Where to stay: Trip Advisor says you got lots of options, but The Omni Hotel at the Battery is .1 mile ie 530 feet from the Park

What to do: Go to a Braves Game, duh! Explore Georgia was absolutely lame regarding things to do at the Battery. I kept searching around, and Trip Advisor hit this one out of the Park. If you’re looking for a little something extra, you might want to check out Rays on the River just around the corner off I-285. 

C (Complete) —The Possum Trot 10K in Roswell

C  Completes our 2024 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like The Possum Trot 10K in Roswell.

Possum Trot runner, Chattahoochee River, Roswell, Georgia.

The Possum Trot 10K in Roswell runs alongside the Chattahoochee River.

Some running events are special, and I find myself writing about this one every year. I mean, here you are running the Possum Trot 10K alongside the Chattahoochee River next to a nature preserve in a metropolitan area of 6 million people ALL of whom seem to own at least 1 car, truck, or SUV!

The Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell is 23 miles north of Atlanta. 

The City of Roswell was founded by Roswell King in 1839 who came to the area in the mid-1830s. Roswell King established the Roswell Manufacturing Company and built a mill to harness the power of the local rivers to make textiles. There were 479 people living in Roswell in 1870.There’s more now. Lots more.

It happened so fast. I remember calling on the Roswell Ford Dealership for the Atlanta Journal Constitution back in 1977. The Dealership had room for only 2 vehicles in the showroom and the whole facility was smaller than a Quik Trip convenience store.

Ten years later I’m working for Mike Bowen, and the new Crown Ford in Roswell had 3 showrooms, acres of inventory, and an overhead nobody could afford!

BRING THE TEAM AND BRING IT ON!

Possum Trout Race Team photo
Contact the Chattahoochee Nature Center about registering your running group for the Possum Trot.

Back to the Nature Center. You run the Possum Trot and You get: 

Possum Trot 10k Race T-shirt

Die-cast finisher medal for in-person 10K runners

Placement pins for top award finishers

Free race photos from TrueSpeedPhoto.com

Free admission to CNC all day on race day

There’s a Kids Run too

Free Admission to the Chattahoochee Nature Center is one reason why this event is a Family Favorite!

And Yes, you can push a stroller in this race! 

This is the 46th Annual Possum Trot 10K, so you know this is a great event. You can make that online payment knowing that All proceeds from the Possum Trot benefit the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s environmental education programs and wildlife rehabilitation efforts.

You can also register in store at Big Peach’s Marietta location at 1062 Johnson Ferry Road through June 14 or any other Big Peach location through June 12.

Need to know: Limited parking will be available at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.  Set your GPS for 9135 Willeo Road Roswell, Ga 30075.

Additional free parking is available at the Saint Francis Day School located just down the road at 9375 Willeo Road, Roswell.  If you park at the School, you will be walking about one mile to the Chattahoochee Nature Center. 

How to Train: I picked that photo at the beginning of this article to give you a visual of the gentle hills next to the Chattahoochee River in Roswell. Try to get out in the morning a couple of times a week for a one hour run / jog / walk.

Where to stay: . I couldn’t find a single B&B in this supposedly historic area blah blah blah, but Explore Georgia says you got 13 interstate exit type chain motels ranging from Studio 6 to Double Tree by Hilton

What to do: After the run, pick up that finisher’s medal and enjoy the trails, exhibits, programs, and events on the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s 127 acres of forest, wetland, and river habitat. Here’s a local Discover Roswell website if you want to more options.

D (Difficult) — The Rabun Gap Half Marathon

BEST Georgia Running Events June 2024 include the Rabun Gap Half Marathon.
BEST Georgia Running Events June 2024 include the Rabun Gap Half Marathon. Photo from event website.

The Rabun Half Marathon in Sky Valley showcases some of the prettiest wilderness in North Georgia

Ultra Signup describes the Rabun Gap Half as grassroots trail racing. You get nothing but a good time and a clock time. There are no T-shirts, no swag, no awards.

Search online for Rabun Gap, and 99% of what you’ll see are photos and articles about the Rabun Gap Nacoohee School. You have the wherewithal to give your kids an education in a positive environment, you might want to look into this. 

But this running event has nothing to do with the Rabun Gap School. It is a half marathon length trail race with nearly 6000 feet of elevation change. Note the term: killer vert in the course description…

By comparison, the Stone Mountain Walk-Up Trail spans approximately one mile with an elevation gain of about 700 feet.

The website describes the Rabun Gap Half as a 11.5ish mile course that takes you on 4 miles of pristine single track crossing 14 footbridges over creeks and small waterfalls.  

You will summit Rabun Bald, the 2nd highest point in Georgia, and enjoy the 360 degree views overlooking 3 states. 

Rabun Gap View. Photo Credit James Frazier of Nspired Eye Photography

You will tackle some killer downhill vert and then visit two, with an option to see a third, beautiful waterfalls before finishing.

I was wondering about how they could call this the Rabun Gap Half Marathon with an estimated distance of 11.5sih miles. It’s that option to see a third, beautiful waterfalls before finishing.

Need to know: There is no parking in the actual Start/Finish area except for the volunteers 

This is a cupless race.  Bring a water bottle and/or collapsible cup and don’t do gross things with the containers.

If you want food, gels etc… bring it and carry it.

This is a No SWAG race

Unless I am missing something, they don’t tell you exactly where the Rabun Gap Half Marathon start line is. And yes, they give you an email address for questions, but they haven’t answered any of mine the last 3 years!

Here’s what we found: All vehicles are to park along ONE SIDE of Hale Ridge Rd/USFS 7. Best to meet up with other runners and carpool over if you can.

How to Train: run up Stone Mountain, catch your breath, run down, then repeat 4-5-6 times. Next head over to the Village Corner and have a bier….or as soon as the rebuild is complete.

Where to Stay: We found the Fire Mountain Inn on Trip Advisor, but everything else was down the street and around the corner

What to Do: Bring a camera!  Go up the fire tower!  Visit the waterfalls! Explore Georgia has Things to Do and Places to Eat, but zero nada zilch about where to stay??? 

Double D (Difficult) — The Badder Marsh Night Ultra 

The Badder Marsh Night Ultra 50K is Fort McAllister’s premiere ultra racing experience!

The Badder Marsh Night Ultra 50K is Fort McAllister’s premiere ultra racing experience! 

“This beloved low country favorite is returning for another year! We are so excited to have the distinction of being the first footrace to be held in this beautiful and historic park. Both 25k and 50k races will start at 2pm.”

Here’s some links that might be useful: FaceBook, Georgia State Parks, Game Changers Running Store in Richmond Hill, and Race Raves.

E (Extra) — Races just across the Line

We went surfing on online to see what we could find. So here’s a couple of drivable events if you own a car.

Pirates Half Marathon in Mobile

It is not required to wear a costume in the Pirates Half Marathon down in Mobile, but… 

Pirate Half Marathon Mobile, Alabama. Mobile has the oldest organized Mardi Gras celebration in the United States, so you know these folks know how to throw a great party. It is not required to wear a costume, but you should. They take a group photo at the beginning of the race.The best costume will be awarded at the beginning of the race. They just don’t say what it is you’re getting..

Not into Pirates? Check out the Voices of Mobile. It’s where you should have sent your talented kid instead of….

Boogie Run Ellerby, North Carolina. Take your choice of the Boogie Marathon or 50 Miler. You do this run, you better carry a flashlight and a stick. The flashlight is to see the snakes. The stick is to move them off the road.

DL in Charlotte writes “Everything has been written regarding the organization, perfect, and the conditions -heat, humidity, snakes, dark, repeating loops, HILLS 🙂 so don’t worry about that. If you are into no-nonsense running and camaraderie, do it! 4th for me this year, and I will run the Boogie again. Hats up for this organization and volunteers.” Thank you Doug!

You’re around 5 hours from Atlanta, 4 from Savannah, 3 from Augusta.

Hatfield McCoy Marathon I was all into doing one more marathon, and why not pick one of the HARDEST in the USA. You run 2 miles to the mountain. 5 miles up. 1 mile down! The rest is just a jog to the finish.

You can run the first half. You can run the second half. You can run the whole damn thing. Cept Beverly didn’t sign off on the 8 hour plus drive to the West Virginia / Kentucky border..

KT from Kentucky writes “Course is hilly but organizers set up plenty of water stops throughout the race. Keep in mind this race is scheduled in June so weather is humid with scorching heat later through the day. Volunteers were supportive and encouraging. Few crowds and a small community, but I still had fun completing this race. Overall wonderful course and beautiful scenery, a must run course.”

One day in the car and you’d be close…..

James is a lifeguard at the MLK Pool in Atlanta. He reminded me to mention:

Tri The Parks

Photo: John Tanner State Park

SWIM BIKE RUN With the weather getting warmer, some of you may be wondering about a little swim-bike-run in the sun. Georgia has a series of triathlons and duathlons appropriately named Tri The Parks. The one I did years ago was at John Tanner State Park in Carrollton. Tri The Parks is a great (low cost) way to get introduced to a new sport before you go plopping down some serious money to go compete with the Big Boys at Ironman Augusta in September.

In The News

HONG KONG – China’s top-ranked long-distance runner eked out a dramatic victory in a recent half marathon in front of a home crowd in Beijing, overtaking a trio of competitors in the final stretch to finish barely a stride’s length ahead.

Video showed the other runners appearing to slow down for He Jie at Beijing Half-Marathon; investigation puts blame on sponsor.

Saturday April 20, 2024        Wall Street Journal   Page A8

Use this link if you’d like to read more. 

Patriotic Flag Theme Running Gear Made in USA for your Independence Day race. Hello Peachtree!

BOA You ready for Independence Day? Your friends at BOA like to be the life of the party. BOA’s got you covered with everything from that USA singlet you’ve always wanted, to USA elite split shorts, printed fit running pants, stretch trainers, to their Red White and Blue Women’s Performance Sports Bra. FYI the Elite Running Shorts are short!

We’ve just updated our Big listing Made in USA running gear on our Gear Page.

BOATHOUSE Our yachtie friends make some seriously nice Trous that you can ride, row, or run in. Search for Stars and Stripes when you check out this Made in USA collection of shorts, unisuits, Team USA Tees and swim 

SOARK American Made Running Clothes – Since 1986. I have a number of Soark products, and they make exactly what they claim: quality affordable running clothes. Check out this old school website and you’ll see flag theme supples and microfiber running shorts, stars and stripes singlets for warmer weather and tights for cooler weather.  

Soffe The Soffe Freedom Running Shorts are the updated version of the iconic Ranger Panty. They are cut like Soffe’s authentic Silkie, with an elastic waistband, pocket for keys or card, and the American flag print with stars to the left of each side. These ranger panties have a 2.5-inch inseam length and are proudly Made in the USA. FYI other Soffee products are not Made in USA

ULTRAS SPORTSWEAR Ultras is now a proud USA manufacturer of custom sublimated print, cut and sewn athletic wear made in Lomita, CA USA. Search this website for running and you get 8,918 results. Ultras has running hats, performance shirts, shorts, singlets, and tees. Photo 1936 USA Singlet like the one worn by Jessie Owens on the US Olympic Team. Want to look like a Dalmation? They got that too!

LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE Here’s a partial list of companies who post patriotic flag theme items online that are NOT MADE IN USA: Amazon, Born Primitive, Chicken Legs, ETSY most of their stuff is Made in China…in a factory, Flag Shirt, Gone for a Run, Ranger Joe’s, Red Shirt, And you too: Runners World

We note a number of Made in USA options at the end of each post and we’ve just compile these listings onto our Gear Page of Made in USA Running Gear including shoes, socks, shorts, singlets and shirts, caps, visors, running skirts and bras!

Got a favorite Made in USA product that you don’t see on this list, shoot us an email and we’ll look into it. Our address is contactus@americanrunnerblog.com

Follow us on FaceBook and Instagram. We generally post 2-3 times each week. First of each month we’ll encourage you to take a look at our latest post. Other times we’ll make note of an upcoming event, training tip, video, or FYI.  

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Runners’ Links June 2024

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