Check out AmericanRunnerBlog.com’s 2023 Race Calendar for some of the Best Running Events and Races in Georgia!
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Last year we talked about the Berry Half in Rome, Albany Marathon, Skidaway Island Marathon, and the Canyon Crash Trail Race over in Providence Canyon. You can read about ‘em if you wish in our Best Georgia Running Events March 2022 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 2023 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 Georgia Costal Greenway Ultra. This month we’ve added an E for Extra with race(s) just across the State Line.
This is a Blog about running in Georgia. And this Post is about Best Georgia Running Events March 2023.
- A (Atlanta) — Jeff Galloway Half Marathon
Rating: Midtown Run 13.1 Relay 5k Kids Run
- B (Best) — Albany Marathon
Rating: Fast 26.2 13.1
- C (Complete) —Georgia Yeti Nightmare
Rating: Night Time Trail Run 10m 5m
- D (Difficult) —Georgia Costal Greenway Ultra
Rating: Badwater Qualifier 155m 100m
A (Atlanta) — Jeff Galloway Half Marathon
Jeff Galloway was the winner of Atlanta’s very first Peachtree Road Race, and it seems like he’s wanted to have his own race ever since. He was an All American Collegiate Athlete at Wesleyan University (not Wesleyan College in Macon), competed in the 1972 Olympic Games, opened America’s very first specialty running shoe store and named it Phidippides. In addition, he has authored a host of books and training programs.
The Atlanta Race Calendar is tight with Big events like the springtime Atlanta Marathon, the Peachtree Road Race in July, and the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. So Jeff’s previous 10 Days before Christmas running event just fell short of what it takes to fill up the corals.
Vince Lombardi said the ‘key to success is when preparation meets opportunity.’ So when the folks at Publix decided to move their big Atlanta Marathon up to February, you know, like all of their Florida Marathons….
Jeff got the primo date of his dreams for his Jeff Galloway Half Marathon.
Hit the map link on the website, and you’ll see this is a great course that takes you from Margaret Mitchell’s house on Peachtree thru Midtown, Freedom Parkway, the Carter Center, Virginia Highlands, and in and around Piedmont Park to the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon finish line near the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
Jeff’s a bit of an entrepreneur, so he’s packaged this 13.1 run into an Event Weekend complete with a 5k on Saturday, Kid’s events, Sunday Relay, and an option for Walkers. Cha-Ching! You can even run both races and be part of the Double G. Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching. Need a friend to get you Home? Jeff’s offering you a chance to run with Experienced Pacers, plus discount coupons that you can take around the corner over to his Phidippides Running Store in Ansley Mall.
After almost 10 years running, I think the new March date will make the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon a Hit.
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: That’s a question I didn’t see addressed on the event website. The VIP folks get a Pass at the Sage Parking Deck near the finish line, and I suspect that is where you will park as well. We did a Search on Where to park. One parking entrance is next to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens off Piedmont Road. The second is on the other side of the Park off Monroe…. either way you’re near the finish line but one mile from the race start at Peachtree Street and 11th.
Where to Stay? Trip Advisor says you’ve got 10 Four Star Hotels within walking distance from the Park. Take your choice from the Hampton Inn Suites to the Starling Atlanta Midtown, Hotel Clairmont and a host more. We found a B&B on Booking.com, but it was pricey as well.
More affordable options are available but further out. And Marta is also an option. Either way, I’d make a test run on a Sunday morning to see how long it will take you to park the car or arrive at the station and walk over to the start line.
Registration costs always go up as you get closer to the event. So be sure to check out our 2023 Georgia Race Calendar for the Best Georgia Running Events and plan ahead.
B (Best) — Best Race in Georgia: the Albany Marathon
If your finishing time is a just few minutes short of a Boston Qualifier, this is the marathon you’ve been looking for. Down in Albany, they like to let you know that their little race is a really BIG DEAL: it’s a Top 10 Boston Qualifier!
Albany Marathon and Half Marathon Photo Credit: Visit Albany GA
How to Train: I’d recommend you get on the track and practice keeping that steady pace. Why? Because this is a really flat course. It might bore you to death, but the hills won’t kill you because there aren’t any.
And Yes, I know that Course Map on the website shows 587 feet of elevation, but that equates to 22 feet of elevation per 5,280 feet, ie per mile. Like I said, there ain’t no hills on this course.
The Race is sponsored by Snickers. And the Bling is good IF you’re fast enough to place in your age group. Like Alex Ekesa. He ran the 26.2 Albany Marathon last year in 2:21
The Word is out that the Albany Marathon is a Fast Race. We counted the Top 100 Finishers. The Kenyan won, but the next 99 were from 14 different States: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and 1 Unknown. I looked him up. He lives in Gwinnett.
They’re taking this race a lot more seriously, so be sure to read the Legal Statement if you have any thoughts about loaning your race number to a faster friend. Not saying Jail Time, but you need to think about it all the same…
Where to Stay? The better class stay at the Hilton Garden Inn across the street from the Start / Finish. There’s a Days Inn a half mile away, but most everything else is 3-8 miles out. So make sure you know how long it’s going to take you and everybody else to get into that parking lot at the Civic Center.
Me, I slept in the van at the Walmart Super Center across town. Colby Mehmen camped out in his Chevy van, and he got a write up in Runner’s World. Big Blue was our GMC. It really wasn’t that bad after the local boys drove their 5-liter Camaros and Mustangs home around midnight. 24-hour Walmart ‘s got everything you need: clean bathrooms, fresh fruit, Gatorade and snacks.
Explore Georgia says you’ve got 18 motels, cabins and an RV campground to choose from. But those campsites are in the Chehaw Animal Preserve with Black Rhinos, Cheetahs, and Alligators. I looked for a Bread and Breakfast and didn’t find any, but AirBnB has a number of listings in and around Albany, GA.
C (Complete) —Georgia Yeti Nightmare
C Completes our 2023 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the the Georgia Yeti Nightmare.
The Yeti Nightmare should easily satisfy those of you who got a new headlamp for Christmas and are dying to try it out. Here’s a chance to run wild thru pitch black darkness with a reasonable chance of enjoying that Michelob Lite at the end of the run with your new friends.
Georgia Yeti Nightmare Trail Run Photo Credit: the Internet
This race looks really fun for younger runners who aren’t afraid of falling, breaking, and dying in the dark somewhere out beyond Lithia Springs.
This year’s Yeti Nighmare is in a new location about 10 minutes further out I-20 West than the previous one. So set your GPS for the Clinton Nature Preserve on Ephesus Church Road in Villa Rica, Ga 30180
They say some folks actually show up to race, but the folks at Run Bum view this event as a chance for you to invite your friends to come out and experience the fun of running trails at night. The event video is a hoot with runners crossing over a little ravine on a log, navigating a fallen tree, and the young lady laughing about the guy in the bear suit. Grrrrrrrr.
The Yeti Nighmare is actually 2 events: a 5-mile trail run and a longer 10-mile trail run.
You’ll start out together on a double track and separate down the road onto mostly single track trails.
Everything you need to know is on the website including All the Info, Volunteers, and Required Gear. You’ll need to be wearing trail running shoes and that headlamp has got to work. Period.
Where to stay? Mr. Tidwell bought a Chevy dealership in Villa Rica, and I worked with them off and on for a number of years. So when Trip Advisor says you’ve got the Fairfield Plantation Resort and 19 chain motels to choose from, I was like What?
What to do? Explore Georgia is way more honest in telling you there are only 4 motels, but they also let you know about the Pine Mountain Gold Museum on their Things to Do page. Most people don’t know this, but the Country’s first gold rush was right here in Villa Rica. Yep, ‘there’s gold in them thar hills.’
D (Difficult) — Georgia Costal Greenway Ultra
After qualifying for Boston, I begin looking for running events that seemed, well interesting, and not just focused on speed. And that’s when I became aware of Badwater and a cohort of long distance runners that I never knew existed.
My race was appropriately called Run with the Devil. It was held in July in the Mohave Desert next to Lake Mead about an hour from Las Vegas. A brush fire caused the cancellation of the big Western States 100 mile race, and a number of Western States runners showed up at this event which included a 50 miler in addition to the Marathon from Hell that I was running.
Here in Georgia, Ms. Jo Claire Hickson envisioned a long corridor of trails and greenspace along the coast linking St Mary’s to the south with Savannah to the north. Today the Georgia Costal Greenway is 20% trails and 80% highway. But that’s a start. And every runner who signs on for this event will help in the cause.
The Rough Runners of Savannah launched their Ultra distance races to promote the Georgia Costal Greenway and help bring this dream to a reality. And their event, the Georgia Costal Greenway Ultra, is now a Badwater 135 preferred qualifier.
I thought about running the Georgia Costal Greenway route. My idea was to start 5 days early and run a marathon 6 days in a row! The 155 miles from St Mary’s to Savannah is a hair less than 6-marathon distance runs.
This year the race starts at Hutchinson Island in Savannah and runs south to the Waterfront Park in St Mary’s. Beverly and I were just at the Bridge Run in Brunswick, and we stopped by St Mary’s to look around. On Hutchison Island you’re looking across the Savannah River at South Carolina. In St Mary’s you’re looking at Florida!
This is a serious distance race for serious distance runners, and the Georgia Costal Greenway Ultra website has all of the details.
If you’re thinking about doing an Ultra distance race like this, here are a couple of notes:
You have 60 hours to complete the full 155, 34 hours to complete the 100 mile race
You must present your event booklet at every mandatory aid station check-in
Runners or support crew are to submit a status report every 6-hours
Aid Stations have some provisions, but runners are responsible for their own nutrition
Rough Runner events are cup free, ie bring your own water bottle
How to Train: : I don’t know, but the Western States girl from LA that I spoke with said she just gradually built up her endurance by doing longer and longer runs
What to do: After 155 miles you’re probably not going to be up for a walking tour of Cumberland Island… but Visit St Mary’s has a number of places to stay, eat, in bib, or just hop on the Ferry and stay on the Island! There are several beaches on Cumberland, but you’re paying the $$$ Ferry to cross over. We did a test drive over to Amelia Island in Florida, but St Simons is another option.
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.
We went surfing on marathonguide.com to see what we could find. So here’s a local to you running event if you live in Ringgold or Lafayette:
The Chattanooga Marathon is just across the State Line. If you live an hour or so north of Atlanta crank up US101 on the Radio and Country Road Take Me Home. Don’t know how they rank now, but that FM station in its heyday was # 1 in the USA.
Chattanooga has hosted a number of marathons in the past. The Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon is a relatively new event with a Full, Half and a Relay, but the Racoon Marathon has just been cancelled! The reviews of this race are mixed: “ Food issues, Course was short, Well Organized for a first time event, Don’t expect a PR, Hilliest marathon ever from a 50 Stater, and Wonderful View of Chattanooga” which scares the bejesus out of me!
Live up I-75, this is your race. Looking for a Boston Qualifier, Take a second look at Albany
Macon appeared on MarathonGuide.com as the site for the Appalachian Series Marathon. That blew my mind. I grew up down by the Ocmulgee River, and Macon ain’t in the Appalachians… and neither is Texas, Louisiana and a bunch more of those listings.
But the Cherry Blossom Festival is in Macon. So here’s a quick plug for the Cherry Blossom Quarter Marathon. The proceeds benefit the local Ronald McDonald House, so if you ain’t racing for a Boston Qualifier in Albany, you might want to take a look at this event.
Runners’ Gear: Click on our Gear Page for the Big List of Made in USA products
We like to showcase running apparel and gear with an emphasis on Made in USA products.
The bicycle riders will tell you how important it is to support your local Bike Shop, but what are we to do when our retailers don’t support us? Too many times when I walk thru a running store, I see everything made over there and nothing made here. So here’s a list of what I have found to date of Running Socks Made in USA.
Burlington AKA Burlix
Everyday performance socks is how this company’s presentation begins. The website notes socks for 18 different activities from The Office to Date Night to TV / Sports? Search Running Socks and you’ll see several reasonably priced options from Tab Back to Crew.
If you’re looking for a gift idea a pair of Merino Wool Socks is a sure bet. The folks at Cloudland say you want a sock that propels you forward — not one that holds you back. They must be good cause the ones I wanted were Sold Out!
I slipped on a pair and headed out for a 6-mile run in 40 degree cool up in Hendersonville, Tennessee. 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.
Farm to Feet makes micron US merino wool running socks. The company’s goal is to create the world’s best wool socks by exclusively using an all-American recipe: US materials, US manufacturing, and US workers.
This company seeks to create a better performance sock that takes advantage of the latest breakthroughs in sock technology. Look for Elite, High Performance, Merino, Therapeutic, and Graduated Compression offerings.
Made in the USA since 1900 utilizing US and imported yarns including Merino wool, acrylic, cotton, nylon, silk, and wick dry. Fox River product names include Triathlon and Ultra.
The Company’s product line includes Tops, Bottoms, Underwear, Base Layers, and Mid Layers. All Merino Wool socks shown are made at the Minus33 Headquarters in Ashland, New Hampshire.
This company makes bamboo and repurposed bottle socks, and NO I’m not making this up. Cushion where you need it and compression in all the right places. Sleet & Sole’s brand name is Pro Sport.
This is not the little company you grew up with. Smart Wool is now a property of VF Corporation whose brands including Vans®, The North Face®, Timberland® and Dickies® Socks. Smartwool socks are made in USA of premium New Zealand wool.
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. These are toasty warm socks.
Swiftwick is an International Brand whose products are Made in USA. The company started in 2008 when a mountain biker saw the need for high performance socks with superior moisture-wicking and an incredible fit.
Thorlos is known as ‘The original padded sock.’ I have a couple of pairs that I bought years ago at REI that I have yet to wear out. I no longer run in them, but if you need a little more cushion, this is your brand for every sport and activity.
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 you see in the photo. I like these socks.
Not every runner lives in a big city with a local run store. Walmart is there for you with their Made in USA Sam Socks: Merino wool running socks 2-pair for approximately $40.
Wright Socks since 1948
Wright is known as the Anti Blister Socks. I can vouch for that: I ran a 4-hour marathon in the rain ….and no blisters!!! Their brands include Endurance, Coolmesh, Lite and others. You can buy ‘em at REI or online.
Their presentation is rather impressive: These highly specialized yarns combat sheer force, heat build-up and bacteria on the skin, and improve toe and heel fit comfort, stability and splay. They offer the 5.0 Pro Series socks, sleeves, headwear, compression, T-shirts…
FYI Most of these companies make socks in a variety of sizes from the skinny tab pulls I like to calf length socks.
Click back to our January 2023 post if you’re looking for some ideas on what to wear in cold weather.
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 Runner Gear including shoes, socks, shorts, singlets and shirts, caps, visors, running skirts and running bras on our Gear Page.
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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