The Combos Albany Marathon is a Top 10 Boston Qualifier.
The Combos Albany Marathon is a Top 10 Boston Qualifier. Photo Credit: Walter Goff
Fire Ant Festival 5K in Ashburn.

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Last year we talked about the Coastal Georgia Greenway Ultra that ran from St Marys to Savannah and a number of other events. You can read about ‘em if you wish in our March 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 Flower Fest Marathon at Callaway Gardens. This month we’ve added a Double D Trail Run for those looking for something a little bit more…

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

A (Atlanta) — Jeff Galloway Half Marathon

Jeff Galloway Haf Marathon will run in the Atlanta Beltline East Side Trail

Our Top Pick for Running in Atlanta is the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon!

The Jeff Galloway Half Marathon and 5K running events have changed as you will note on the updated presentation on their website.

No one ever accused Jeff Galloway of thinking small, so don’t be surprised when this event website invites you to be part of something BIG.

JOIN THE GLOBAL RUNNING COMMUNITY for the Jeff Galloway Weekend.

Friday Night there’s a Meet and Greet

Saturday Morning a little 5K with a couple of thousand participants

Saturday an intimate VIP Breakfast, Expert Speakers, Podcast Recording…

Sunday the Fun Jeff Galloway Half Marathon

The 5K on Saturday was a bigger deal than I expected. You could run it in 15 minutes and change like Kevin and Garrett. Beat my fastest 5K time ever like Andrea. Or you could join the cohort of folks who just enjoyed a Saturday morning walk around Atlanta’s Piedmont Park.

Sunday morning you’ve got the option to run it, walk it, or put together a 3-person relay team, but last year we noted 90% of participants showed up ready to run a 13.1. 

Hisato’s name keeps popping up in the finishing results we see around the State, and whenever you beat Kevin’s 1:20 finishing time by 6 minutes, you know he is Fast!

Jeff says his Jeff Galloway Half Marathon is Fast…and Fun.

We found a Jeff Gallaway Half Marathon course map on HalfMarathon.com and it’s a great route. You’ll line up on 11th Street near the Margaret Mitchell House on Peachtree Street. You’ll run down 11th, turn onto Juniper, and run south towards the big Hilton and Marriott hotels downtown.

Jeff Galloway Half Marathon will run on the Freedom Parkway Trail

What makes the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon unique is the mix of big city streets, paved paths, intown neighborhoods, and a Piedmont Park finish. 

You’ll run on the Freedom Parkway Trail, the Stone Mountain Trail, and the Atlanta Beltline East Side Trail.

You’ll have the option to run with a Pace Group to help you reach your goal, make new friends, …

I jogged the course on Saturday. Here’s a photo of the Freedom Parkway Trail

How to Train: This is Atlanta, so be prepared for hills. This is a rolling course with a couple of hills you’ll notice but no big surprises.

Gear Tip: one of the sponsors of this event is Jeff Galloway’s Phidippides Atlanta, so make sure you got a decent pair of running shoes.

Weather: I’d expect to start in 40 degrees and finish in 50-60. But I’d pack for warmer and colder options just to take the drama out of any late change in the weather.

Need to Know: There is Parking at Piedmont Park, but it is limited. Best address for GPS: 1320 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30306. My advice is to check the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon event website for their recommendations.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy notes (2) Marta rail stations are near-by: Midtown Station and the Arts Center Station. I just ain’t buying their 2 and 3 blocks away description. I’m thinking more like 1 mile…maybe we’ll check this out.

Race Start is on 11th Street near the Margaret Mitchell House. Set your GPS for 979 Crescent Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 and cross over Peachtree Street to 11th Street,

Finish Line is near the Atlanta Botanical Gardens inside Piedmont Park.     

Where to stay:  Trip Advisor couldn’t find anything within 1 mile, but Hotels.com came through with some options assuming you’re comfortable paying for a room in some swanky hotel a couple of blocks from the start line. For $169+ you could be staying at the Starling by Hilton, $269+ at the Loews Atlanta, but if you’re looking for a little something more, check out the Four Seasons. 

The Flying Biscuit

Where to Eat: Here’s a piece from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on where to eat near Piedmont Park, and unlike those out of town listing services, the AJC piece included the Flying Biscuit. Seriously, there is a line outside waiting to get in every time I run past this intown eatery.

Location: Piedmont at 10th near Piedmont Park.

What to do: You got the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Caribou Coffee, Piedmont Park, Phidippides Running Store, Atlanta Beltline East Side Trail, Fox Theatre, Georgia Aquarium, hundreds of places to eat (and drink), you’ve got options.

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 Albany Marathon

Best Georgia Running Events March 2024 include the Albany Marathon.
I ran a Boston Qualifier at the Albany Marathon in 2009 and again in 2010. Now it’s Your Turn. 

If you go back to the Combos Albany Marathon Start Line photo that we used in our Header, you’ll see the Kenyans center left on the front row. In this pic the photographer either didn’t pull the trigger fast enough and missed them, or he was too focused on the babe in the two piece to notice the really fast guys on the far left.

We did a search for the Albany Marathon Finishing Results and were wowed at what we saw:

The Half Marathon attracted runners from 14 States including faraway places like California, New Mexico, and Iowa. The Albany Marathon attracted runners from 24 States. Here’s a list:

Alabama, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

A Boston Qualifier is why you choose to run the Albany Marathon.

Curious at how the Kenyans (and the babe) had done, I tried to find their finishing times by their Bib numbers. #111 came in 38th. But when I saw her name listed as Don Chappell, I realized there was a problem. The Albany Marathon website’s most recent data was from 2022. The photograph of the Combos Albany Marathon they sent me was from 2023!

I found the 2023 results on MarathonGuide.com, but not the bid numbers:

Jarrett LeBlanc came in first. You might have seen his name at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Kenyan Alex Ekesa came in second, but he won his 3rd consecutive Barbados Marathon in December.

Nicholas Dreamer came in 3rd. At 22 he’s still a kid, but he’s fast enough to get write ups in the Baltimore Sun.

Cheruto Isgah came in fourth overall and first female. You can look her up at the Nike Run Club in Narobi, Kenya next time you’re in the neighborhood.

There were 289 Finishers in the Albany Marathon and 36 qualified for the Boston Marathon!

I looked up the elevation on the website’s Map My Run course map. The Albany Marathon has 587 feet of elevation. That’s 22 feet per mile. You can do this!

I’ve run the Albany Marathon twice. I still remember Mom and Pop sitting in their lawn chairs waving as we ran by. The got cheer groups now. You going to run even faster. 

Albany is a little town with a positive ‘Can Do” attitude. Years ago, they sent us a Governor. I still remember his campaign slogan: George Busby, A Work Horse / Not a Show Horse. We sure as Hell could use him now.

Training Tip: Get comfortable running on a mostly flat course for the 2-3-4+ hours of your expected finishing time. And watch the weather. It was perfect both times I ran it. But the year all my friends went down the sky darkened, and it was like the Rapture came and they didn’t make it!

Wild Side Running is the local run store in case you showed up and your shoes didn’t. No seriously, if you’re flying pack your run stuff and a clean pair of underwear in your carry on…

I have their address at 2528 Dawson Rd, Albany, GA 31707. They’ve moved recently, so you might want to check out their FaceBook page or give them a call just to make sure you know where you’re headed.

Where to Stay: One of the first things you need to know about this race is that there is a little Hilton Hotel right across from the Start Line. The second thing you need to know is that there is more than one Albany Hilton, so make sure that you got the one in Albany, Georgia before you hit that Reservation Button. Otherwise you might see snow on the ground if you don’t get this right. Here’s the address: 101 S Front Street Albany, Georgia 31701 

Need to know: The Albany Marathon & Half Marathon starting line is located on Front Street next to Veteran’s Park, near the Riverfront. The start line is on the website a second time as Front Street at the James H. Gray Civic Center.

Since you can’t set your GPS for that: Plug in the Albany Hilton (GA) address at 101 S Front Street Albany, Georgia 31701 and you’ll be close.

Parking: Parking is available at the James H. Gray Civic Center next to the Start Line.

What to do: if you’re making a weekend of it, here’s two links to help you out: Visit Albany and Explore Georgia. There are a couple of cool wildlife parks to explore like Chehaw Park and the Albany Wildlife area, but walking is the last thing I want to do after a 26.2.  So maybe a little Farm to Table eating at Sunnyland Farms or a cold one at the Pretoria Fields Brewery might be another option.

C (Complete) —The 3 Bridges Run in Augusta

C  Completes our 2023 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the 3 Bridges Run in Augusta.

3 Bridges Run in Augusta

The 3 Bridges Run in Augusta takes place on the Georgia side of the Savannah River.

The 3 Bridges Run was voted the Best 5K in Augusta in 2016 and 2017 and the Best Fund Raising Event of 2018. Curious as to the source, I did a Google Search for the years 2023, 2022…through 2018. The only thing I found was a Facebook News Feed from 2018 of the 3 Bridges 5K presented by Jordan Trotter Commercial Real Estate.

What people like about this event is the scenic course near the Savannah River. I rated this as a River Run, but I was wrong. You are not actually running next to the river. Like the Savannah Sultry Swamp Run in July, you’re running alongside a historic canal from a bygone era known as the Augusta Canal Heritage Area Levee Trail.

Trail Links describes this 8 mile trail as ‘Originally constructed in 1845, the waterway itself is the only unbroken, accessible industrial canal in the South. Its textile heritage is preserved in several existing period structures, including the ornate Sibley Mill and a Confederate-era parapet.’ 

I saw something about the Canal District back when Beverly and I were at the Augusta Half Marathon. You can run it, bike it, walk it, drop in a kayak or take a tour. 

This is a popular 5K running event that has just gotten better with the introduction of the new 3 Bridges Run 10K. That’s why we picked it as one of the Best Georgia Running Events March 2024. Below from the event website:

3 Bridges 5K is a gorgeous run on the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area’s River Levee Trail. This scenic course is a paved out-and-back, crossing three bridges along the Savannah River and the Augusta canal, with start/finish at the Lake Olmstead Trailhead.

3 Bridges Run 10K follows the 5K course for the first 3 miles, then continues along the canal path out past the pump station before it returns to Lake Olmstead Trailhead. Here’s a link to Map My Run.

New for 2024 are Finisher’s Metals for both the 5K and the 10K!

Need to Know: the race takes place at River Levee Trail, 2 Milledge Road, Augusta, GA 30904. Personally, I’d make a test run or double check my directions at the packet pickup at Fleet Feet Augusta just to make sure I knew how to get there.

Participant parking is available in the lot next to the start and across the street on the grass. 

Weather: it’s probably going to be a perfect race day but watch the weather. I always pack for 3 options, too hot, too cold, and just right!

How to Train: if you’re local, go out and jog the course. Otherwise find a nice gentle route. Ain’t no elevation going on here in the Canal District.

Where to stay: Skyscanner was the only booking site to respond to my question re: where to stay near the Olmstead Trailhead in Augusta GA. According to the Aussies 10,000 miles away you got (4) choices within 2-3km: Hyatt House Downtown, Econo Lodge Downtown, Partridge Inn, and Crown Plaza. My advise is to stay close and drive over and check out the start line area the day before just to make sure you know where you are going.

What to do: Beverly and I stayed at the Marriott last time we were in Augusta. We enjoyed walking on the river levee, checking out the eateries downtown, and looking at the historic houses. Even caught a selfie with James Brown (statue). Southern Living has a pretty piece on Augusta, but only the Sunday AJC bothered to mention Pexicho’s American Dime Museum. Page A18. You got way more to do in Augusta than golf!

D (Difficult) — The Flowerfest Marathon 

The Flowerfest Marathon at Callaway Gardens. Photo Explore Georgia

The Flowerfest Marathon at Callaway Gardens is 26.2 Miles Hard. Photo Explore Georgia

It’s killing me to pick the Flowerfest Marathon at Callaway Gardens as our D for Difficult event for the month. I mean, this ain’t exactly the Widow Maker in Thomaston, but anytime you run 26.2 miles it is Difficult. 

The website invites you to “Enjoy over 1 million blooms and endless memories during Spring at Callaway. The marathon and half marathon will be entirely within Callaway Resort & Gardens on one of the most beautiful courses that you’ll ever run!”

Beverly, the bright girl with degrees from Wesleyan College in Macon and the North Avenue Trade School in Atlanta, politely notes that March 2nd is not Spring!

Here’s another description of the course we found on FindMyMarathon.com “The Callaway Gardens Marathon course (former name) consists of two loops. It is entirely within the resort and passes along tree-lined roads and winding bike paths. You’ll go past the Butterfly Center, Discovery Center, Sibley Horticultural Center, the Chapel, Brothers Azalea Bowl and The Vegetable Garden.

“There are some challenging hills on this rolling course and the course slows when it turns onto the winding bike paths – especially on the second loop.”

Challenging Hills. What? I’ve done a triathlon at Callaway Gardens with a 10K run. I’ve biked from Atlanta over to Pine Mountain. My memory of Callaway Gardens is that this was a pretty gentle course, but they’re right about the pace slowing on the bike paths. It was fun, like NASCAR on a Road Course. You just had to be patient and wait for a chance to pass.

Nevertheless, this first timer from 2020 reported on Raceraves.com “Beautiful Course, Extremely Hilly. 

“This was the most beautiful course I’ve ever done. The whole course runs through the gardens, so you are in the woods or by the lakes the entire time. Could not get enough of the scenery! The volunteers were great! There were snacks at every stop, which is not typical! The hills ate me alive though! I was not prepared for that at all! I do train on flat ground so maybe that’s why but oh man those hills!

“The course is two half marathon loops around and there were hills like 12 of the 13 miles and it was pretty brutal the second time around. I would highly recommend this race for how scenic it is but just do some hill training before..”

I just looked her up. Ekaterina is from Columbus, Ohio. This is a pancake flat area of the State whose Columbus Marathon is filled with thousands of Boston wannabes doing their best to run a BQ Finishing time.

Callaway Gardens has a small marathon with about 100 runners. It backed off during the Covid years, but it’s coming back. I mean, where else can you enjoy a cup of coffee in your suite at the resort, look out the window, and say Darling, I think I’ll run a marathon this morning.

Flowerfest Marathon turned frigid cold last year

I’d recommend packing a couple of options for any last second change in the weather.

Last year was one of those exceptions when it turned frigid cold, but generally you can expect to be lining up in 35 degrees at the start with the sun warming things up to around 55 as you run the course.

Need to know: there are multiple entrances to Callaway Gardens. When I did the triathlon there, Roger and I drove through the wrong damn one and literally made it to the packet pickup with seconds to spare!

Set your GPS for Robins Lake Beach Entrance 17800 US 27 Pine Mountain, GA 31822

Packet pick up is at the Robin Lake Beach Pavillion. Use the entrance on Hwy 27.        

Where to Stay: Callaway Gardens duh. All race participants enjoy discounted rates at the resort. .

What to do. The Resort invites you to Visit, Stay, Play. Weather permitting, I like to just hang out on the beach. But you got lots to do here after the race. Like the 3 Bridges Run in Augusta, this is an event managed by a Triathlon events promoter that couldn’t give a hoot about answering some cretin’s questions about a little running event. So use this link to find out all that is happening at Callaway Resort & Gardens race weekend. 

Double D (Difficult) — The Georgia Death Race 

This year’s Georgia Death Race sold out in minutes! Instead consider the Yeti 7-11. Photo: Event Website

The Yeti Nightmare was a popular Run Bum event, but this year it just disappeared… In its place we found the Yeti 7-11 Hour Endurance Race Trail Series, but I ain’t buying their claim to have been doing this event for years.. 

ALTERNATIVE RUNNING EVENTS NOT ON SATURDAY MARCH 2

Every running event in our Best of … with one exception is Saturday March 2nd. And the Berry Half Marathon in Rome and the Vidalia Road Race? They’re on March 2nd as well! This is something that just happens when we are putting together our new calendar at the end of 2023 and half the State’s running events haven’t posted new 2024 dates.

A         Atlanta             Jeff Galloway Half Marathon     Rating: Intown Run       13.1 Relay        5k

B          Carrollton         West Georgia Track Club Road Race         Rating: Green Belt Run 10k  5k

C          Athens              Lake Chapman Trail Race         Rating: Lake Run          15k 5k

D         Thomaston       Widow Maker Trail Race          Rating: River Run 8-Hour, 10K 5K

Assuming you didn’t grow up around the rodeo, Widow Maker was the name of the bull you did not want to ride… but I ain’t seeing a whole lot of danger on this event.

What I like about the Widow Maker is the option to run a big time 8-hour endurance race or a fun run on the trails. You know, try out that new pair of shoes on a 10K or 5K distance run.

Consumer Tip: Your rice burner blow up on the way over? Talk to Brian over at Southern Ford in Thomaston. Tell him you’re a friend of mine.

E (Extra) — Races just across the Line

We went surfing on online to see what we could find. So here’s a couple of local to you running events if you live in Brunswick or Dalton:

Racoon Mountain Half Marathon in Chattanooga

Chattanooga’s got a Big Marathon, but the Racoon Mountain Half looks like a Fun Run!   

The Racoon Half Marathon (also) in Chattanooga offers you a choice to run on road, off road, or a combination of paved roads and trails. I like the vide of this laid back event.

Photo: Event Website

This month you can head to the Beach, drive to the mountains, or just slip across the State line.

The Myrtle Beach Marathon promises you a flat and fast course with ocean views. We like the views, but you’re 5 plus long hours from Atlanta and almost 4 from Augusta and Savannah.

The Chattanooga Marathon is just across the line, and the photos on this event site are among the best we’ve ever seen.

The Gate City River Run in Jacksonville claims to be the World’s Largest 15K with some 20,000 runners

If you’re pining away for a mountain run, you’ve got two great choices. The Ashville Marathon is doable at 3 ½ hours from Atlanta, but the Tobacco Road Marathon up in Cary, NC is 6 ½ hours away!

In The News

LILAC FOR THE WIN

Satisfy’s sturdy shirts are offered in covetable colors. 

SATISFY  Photo:The Wall Street Journal

Daniel Varghese is the Gear and Gadgets editor of Off Duty, the weekend lifestyle section of The Wall Street Journal. He currently writes The Fixer…

December 30, 2023       Wall Street Journal     Gear & Gadget D10

My Secret to Running in the Winter Isn’t Cheap—but It Keeps Me Motivated.

Sad running gear gets sadder come January. These stylish pieces from brands like Satisfy, District Vision and Bandit are pricey, but might actually make you want to train through frigid temperatures.

The article was titled Fast Fashion, and it included trendy pieces like a Satisfy Cloud Merino Long Tee, Janji Transit Tech Pants, Miler Running Base Running SS Tee, Bandit SoftSpeed Cold Weather Quarter Zip, and Full Length Recycled Tights by District Vision.

Some of these products are high tech, some are fashion, some are hype, and some are great ideas. I like the merino wool long sleeves and the transit tech pants. Not everybody wants to be seen in spandex.

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

Running Gear

With almost every major running event in the State / adjourning States scheduled for March 2-3, we thought we’d talk about some race day options:

Show up shirtless or in a 2-piece like the girl in the Albany Marathon start line photo.

Over dress like me. Older colder…

Stop by Goodwill for a throw shirt.

Invest in something that actually keeps you comfortable when you run.

The Satisfy Cloud Merino Long Tee in the WSJ article is a nice piece, but there is a limited number of runners willing (or able) to plop down $300 plus for a High Tech European Tee Shirt. The Good News is that you can get Free Shipping to the US with purchases in excess of $350. So be sure to look abound for something else you can throw into the cart.

BUY SOMETHING MADE IN USA We currently have Base Layers on our Gear Page plus Singlets and Tees including Miler that you saw in the WSJ article. Here are a couple of examples: 

Merino Wool

Duckworth is just one of several merino wool options for a cooler temperature start. I read the reviews. People like their Vapor Tee’s and at $69 they’re worth a look.

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Base Layer

Mission Workshop makes a high performance seamless base layer that’s been vented by the University of Colorado to increase wicking performance over traditional wicking apparel. The short sleeve is on sale at $66. The long sleeve is a bit more.

 

Throw Shirt

Wear a Long Sleeve over your short sleeve and tie it around your waist after things warm up. At the Macon Music Half Marathon back in November, they gave out a quarter zip long sleeve that I wore over my USA BOA Singlet.

Stop by Goodwill / Salvation Army / Sisters of Mercy Thrift Store etc and buy yourself a Throw Shirt. It might be a hoodie or a long sleeve, just make certain it is too Big so you can easily rip it off and discard it when you’re ready.

Throw it in a friend’s yard. Ken lives in Inman Park and his house is along the Atlanta Marathon route. I’ve thrown my outer layer over his fence more than once…

We note a number of Made in USA options at the end of each post and once a year we 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!

We’ll update this Big List in 2024 with the editorial that we’ve added to each of our monthly posts.

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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And please please please don’t forget to sign up for our FREE monthly e-mail …

Runners’ Links March 2024

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