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Last year we talked about running along the shaded banks of the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta and Columbus, lapping around antebellum homes in beautiful little Madison, or heading north to run on horse trails at the Mountain Goat Adventure races at Garland Mountain. You can read about ‘em if you wish in our May 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 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 Fort Yargo Ultra Trail Race. This year 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 May 2023.
- A (Atlanta) — Memorial Day Race
Rating: Patriotic 15k 10k 5k
- B (Best) — Madison in May
Rating: Antebellum 10k 5k
- C (Complete) Jugfest 5k
Rating: Unique Awards 5k
- D (Difficult) — Fort Yargo Ultra Trail Race
Rating: Beautiful 50k 25k
A (Atlanta) — Memorial Day Race in Marietta
The Memorial Day Race in Marietta is part of the event organizer’s Patriotic Series.
I checked their website, but Site Search couldn’t find anything there about their Patriotic Series. Maybe it’s just these 3 races on Memorial Day? But they did have a video of a swimming pool triathlon and a listing of 62 different running events in 2023 divided into Georgia and Out of State categories.
Bouncing around the Memorial Day Race 5k 10k 15k listing, I located a Button on the Registration Page for 15% Off if you run all 3 races in the Patriotic Series:
Memorial Day race in Marietta in May
Made in the USA races up in Sugar Hill in June includes a Half Marathon
Labor Day races in Kennesaw in September
Five Star was the name of an automotive group that my country car dealers had to put up with, and they were really good at bringing you in with a low-ball price and sending you home in that brand new something or other that they just happened to make a boat load on money on. I mean that fabric protection costs something.
Nevertheless, these Five Star NTP folks got a lot going on too. You can run Freaking Freezing races in Atlanta, Henderson NV, or St Georgia Utah. Chilly Willy in Sugar Hill or Albuquerque NM. They got Java Runs, Wine Runs, Ugly Pajama runs, Dog Runs, Bad Kitty Runs, and even a Couple Shuffle which I don’t want to talk about.
They’re Big too. I counted 22 members of their office and event teams. And they’re good.
You got a family member that died on active duty, still active or retired? … Memorial Day is about remembering the soldiers who died in the Military and Five Star’s got a complimentary registration for this race waiting for you. But note: your Military ID is required…
The Memorial Day Race starts at 7:30 AM at the Sprayberry Shopping Center in Marietta with an amazing crowd full of energy. The event organizers promise you a scenic course, Finisher Medals, awesome race shirts, & Top 3 Awards in all Age Groups.
Working for an Advertising Agency, I can tell you horror stories of somebody releasing an ad before another set of eyeballs had proofread it… In my first agency job I was assigned to work with the Johnny Walker Men’s Stores up in Cobb County. The agency placed a half page ad that ran in the Marietta Daily Journal headlined Knit Shits Half Price…. Naturally the owner sent me since he was too chicken shit to go see the client himself!
Which leads me to the Packet Pickup instructions on the Memorial Day Race website asking you to stop by Road Runner Sports in Marietta the afternoon of the 29th after the race is over… probably last years date?
Not trying to be too Critical. But telling folks that you ain’t going to have any water out there for them on this course Due to Covid is a bit of a stretch…. particularly for the 10k and 15k runners. So you might want to stop by your local run shop or REI to see what they’ve got.
Gear Tip:. Years ago I bought a bunch of these on EBAY, and I think the Nathan hydration belt is the best one for the least money. Personally, I run with a hydration belt by UltrAspire, but you ain’t going to spend that kind of money for some backyard 10k. Malissa and Jeff used to hide a water bottle somewhere on the course, but that’s assuming you’re local and you know the right place.
Bottom line, don’t you spend your hard-earned money on any kind of hydration belt or backpack unless you’ve tried it on and it’s so comfortable you can wear it all day and not even think about it. Otherwise, you are thinking about it and it’s bothering you.
Where to Park: Sprayberry Square Shopping Center 2550 Sandy Plains Road Marietta, GA US 30062
Where to Stay: Your house. This is an annual local event. You live here.
Nevertheless here are some links to Trip Advisor and Explore Georgia just in case you happen to be in the neighborhood on Memorial Day.
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: Madison in May
Madison in May was on our radar long before the Midtown Mile disappeared in the Coronavirus Apocalypse. It’s a place I like to slow down and just drive around looking at all the beautiful old houses whenever I’m in the area.
Lots going on in Madison. In April the folks from BRAG (Bicycle Ride Across Georgia) held their Spring Tune Up. The City held their Spring Tour of Homes… as in something built before the Civil War, along with wildlife hikes, an art exhibition, and a Farmer’s Market. You’re going to like Madison.
Madison in May Photo Credit Young Life Morgan County
Last year I missed this, but there’s a course description of the race on VisitMadison.com if you’re not afraid of fine print. Here it is blown up in a more readable font size: “The Madison Lion’s Club invites you to the Madison in May 5K and 10K benefitting Morgan County Young Life. The 5K is a flat and fast, out and back, along a shaded course through Madison’s Historic District. The 10K course follows the same route and continues beyond city limits on scenic rural road, mostly flat with a few moderate rollers.”
Here’s a couple of items you’ll need to know: Runner Sign Up says You can register that morning, but if you want that T-Shirt you’ll need to sign up by May 6. The same site says registration ends May 10??? They’re probably both correct. The online registration probably ends May 10th, and someone will probably take your money if you show up that morning…but I’d hate to risk it I was driving in from out of town.
The 5k starts at 7:30
The 10K starts at 8:30
You can run both, jest not sure how this works…?
The Madison in May races are part of the Black Bag Race Series. That means absolutely nothing to you if you live in Downtown Atlanta, but if you compete in places like Rock Eagle and Milledgeville it’s important. And these races are half the cost of those local to you events on the Beltline!
Budget Travel Magazine rates “Madison, GA as one of the 16 Most Beautiful Towns in The World.” It’s the kind of place I envision rich old folks in Buckhead moving to after they’ve had enough of Atlanta’s high taxes, crime, and corruption. Besides, you’re only about an hour East on I-20 whenever you feel the need to sit down with the Governor to discuss your concerns about the new $5B Rivian plant down the road.
How to train: Just get comfortable running on rolling hills. No big ups or downs.
Where to stay: Assuming you’re not sleeping in the parking lot of the First Methodist Church, you’re probably not walking to the Start line to this one. You can drive there in an hour or so from Atlanta, but you just might just want to stay a bit longer once you take a look at all the options from VisitMadison.com including “quaint B&B’s and cozy inns, farm stays, and brand name lodging.”
C (Complete) —The Jugfest 5k
C Completes our 2023 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the Jugfest 5k in Knoxville.
Some folks at the Macon Track Club suggested I take a look at this race, and eyeing that starting line photo at the beginning of this month’s post, you see that ‘in it to win it’ look of determination on those front row runners. There’s that Oregon Project race shirt, and there’s Terry Kerry Perry (I can never remember) in his red Atlanta Track Club singlet. Mike’s somewhere in the back with his white hat. He’s 71, and he’ll beat you too if you give him a chance.
Nathan won the Jugfest 5k in 2022 with a 16:18 finishing time. Cole, Tyler, and Ethan each crossed the line around 1-2-3 minutes afterwards. Mike finished 35th, but 27:01 ain’t exactly ‘shabby for a 71 year old. And Lazzaro, age 80, crossed the line in 56 and change just behind a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds who probably thought Running a 5k would be Fun!
If you’re asking yourself “where’s Knoxville?’ It’s around 85 miles from Atlanta just southwest of Macon.
The ‘Suits’ want you to believe that Knoxville was named in honor of General Henry Knox, who served in the Continental Army under George Washington. But General Knox had no ties to the state of Georgia and he’d been dead for 15 years at the time of naming. Source: Wikipedia.
Regular folks like you and I think the origin for the name was Hugh Knox. Hugh was a stagecoach operator who delivered mail along the Federal Wire Line through the future location of Knoxville. He was an enterprising kind of guy who owned a half-way house where travelers could rest and swap horses called the Knox House. You know: Knox House … Knoxville.
The City was designated the County Seat by the State because it was located in the middle of Crawford County. But then the railroad bypassed Knoxville for Roberta, and rest is history..
So why do they call this race the Jugfest 5k you ask?
Crawford County was a major pottery center in the 1800s and into the 1930s. “Jug makers” from the Long, Merritt, Becham, Averett, Yaughn, Marshall, Bryant, Pyles, and other families shipped their churns, storage jars, jugs, bowls, pitchers, chicken waterers and ant traps all over the Southeast. The county’s clay is still prized today by folk and studio potters.
The Jugfest is a big local event, so there’s lots more going on than just that 5k race. We surveyed the Top 100 finishers, and 90% of them appear to be from Middle Georgia. I suspect the ones from Alabama, Florida, and North Carolina were in town for the festival and just decided to sign up and run. That said, 3 of the top 20 finishers were from out of State and two of them were Fast!
How to Train: I couldn’t find a course description for this event, but that photo on the website of a smiling Grandma carrying her Grandson up that Hill… you better be able to run hills in this race.
Where to Stay: I don’t know, and neither do they. You can look into Trip Advisor and Explore Georgia, but all those places they’re talking about on Airbnb and Vrbo and those other websites are 15-20 miles away from the Old Knoxville Courthouse on State Route 42 South and Hortman Mill Rd, Knoxville, GA.
D (Difficult) — Fort Yargo Ultra Trail Race
The Fort Yargo Ultra Trail Race is at Fort Yargo State Park near Winder. Photo Credit: Trip Advisor
The Fort Yargo Ultra Trail Race is presented by AR Premier Events. They must be popular cause AR Georgia has a Face Book page with some 4,000 Likes! They describe themselves as Warrior Adventure Racing, and their FB Page notes a number of interesting events:
There’s a mountain bike event in the Ozarks
2024 Sea to Sea Expedition Race across Florida
300 Mile 3 Day 300 Racers running event across Florida sponsored by Red Bull
And a reminder to watch the Race to Survive up in Alaska on the USA Network
Here in Georgia, we spotted the Endurance Hunter 100 mile trail run.
Blue Ridge Adventure Race, and the Oak Mountain Adventure Race.
Many of these are Team Events and others you can run solo.
Like the Ft Yargo Ultra Trail Run.
“The Fort Yargo Ultra is a 50k trail race with a 15.6-mile loop through one of Georgia’s most beautiful State Parks: Fort Yargo. Voted some of the best single track trails in Georgia, this race will be 100% on trails with the 50K completing 2 loops of the 15.6-mile loop. The rolling hills surrounding the lake are the perfect backdrop for a fast finishing time if you are a competitive athlete and a great beginner race for someone’s first Ultra. Start and Finish at the historic Fort Yargo State Park just outside Atlanta, GA.”
I was about to mock that just outside Atlanta cause I live here. And Winder ain’t exactly next to the State Capitol. Google says it is 48.7 miles, 55.1, or 55.1, But that second 55.1 will take you an hour and 11 minutes while the first two will get you there in around an hour. Assuming, of course, there’s no traffic issue….
The website says “Memorial weekend is the perfect time with warm-weather just starting temps in the 80s. A single loop of the same trails gives you our 25k option. Brought to you by Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. The best single-track trails, beautiful location, music, and food. This is not just a race; it is an unforgettable event!”
Like Jesus coming back or you driving there in under an hour from Downtown Atlanta.
If you’re into Trail Running, the Fort Yargo Ultra Trail Race has some nice extras like:
Photo Credit: AP Georgia
There’s even a Canine Run, but you have to give those other 25k runners a 15 minute head start before y’all go nipping at their heels. Interested? Read all of the details on the website. This is a Great single back trail event.
Where to stay: Fort Yargo State Park has campsites, cabins and cottages as well as yurts and unique accommodations. Trip Advisor says you’ve got your choice of 2 motels in Winder, and Chateau Elan’s only about 9 miles away assuming they’d let you in the front door after you’ve been running thru the woods all day. Personally, I’d stay in the park.
How to Train: Run on trails. I did a Google Search for walking trails near Atlanta and got a listing of 10 trails by Atlanta Trails. Some of these were short like the 1.3 mile Arabia Mountain Top Trail, but the Kennesaw Mountain Trail was 11 miles long. The rest ranged from 2 to 6 miles. I sometimes run on the unpaved portions of the Atlanta Beltline, but that day is coming to an end. I’d start on a trail that’s convenient to you and explore other trails as you have the opportunity.
What to do: Trip Advisor says Fort Yargo State Park is the number 1 thing to do in Winder. Visitor comments note that the park is beautiful, and that the Visitor Center is staffed by friendly rangers who are happy to advise you what to see and do based on your interests. Just make sure you’re really on the right website, cause the copycat one I ended up on had a pretty women promoting lingerie and pop-up ads for false teeth.
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 in May. So here’s a local to you running event if you live just south of the Tennessee line and are looking to run a longer distance.
Chattanooga is just across the State Line. So crank up US101 on the Radio and Country Road Take Me Home. Chattanooga has had a number of marathons in the past, so I’d advise a bit of caution when looking at one of these events. Nevertheless, the Rock Creek Scenic Trails Marathon has been held since 2007. So it’s been here for a while. Is this the old Racoon Marathon? Don’t know. But I’d take a hard look at those reviews cause not everybody was that damn happy…
Drive a little further up towards Nashville to Wartrace, Tennessee, population 635, and you have the Strolling Jim Marathon. People seem to like this road race. Take your choice of a 40 mile Ultra, 26.2 marathon, 13.1 half, or a 10k road race in a beautiful rural setting.
The Marathon Season moves north each month which is why you see all those Publix Marathons down in Florida in February, the Albany Marathon in Georgia in March, and the Rock n Roll Country Music Marathon in Nashville in April. But this is May, so if you’re ready to hit the pollen trail again the Best Marathon in May is probably The Flying Pig in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati sits on the Ohio River. Eat breakfast in Atlanta, head north on I-75, and you can have Skyline Chili for Supper….Dinner up there. No sweet tea. The corals line up near the Red’s Baseball Stadium. You run upstream a bit then UP and over the Ohio River into Kentucky. Around mile 5 you are crossing the river back into Ohio and into downtown Cincinnati. Then it’s UP UP UP that legacy hill by the TV station to some park overlooking all that land once claimed for the King of France. Congratulations. For the next 18 miles you are flying past legacy neighborhoods, churches and watering holes before turning back to run those last 6 miles looking downstream at a cityscape that Never Never Never seems to draw near…
Check out AmericanRunnerBlog.com’s 2023 Race Calendar for some of the Best Running Events in Georgia!
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. Last month we showcased Made in USA Running Shorts in our April 2023 post. This month we’re listing Running Shirts:
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 Shirts Made in USA.
This company has expanded their original bike only focus to include triathlon shorts and this triathlon racing singlet tank. I’ve done hundred mile bike rides, but I’ve never really run in them. So I wore mine to the gym and did an 8 mile run on the track. The website says Our Cycling Apparel Is Made With Pride In The USA… the listing for this Sleeveless Triathlon Running Tank says This item is Imported. I’m really getting tired of this….
BOA is known for their lightweight running shorts, but they also offer shirts, singlets, and custom running gear. Founded in 1992, the company is family owned and operated. They love being known for their unique print designs that allow runners to stand out instead of simply blending in. Like me in my boring solid black BOA Elite Running Shorts. So join the family and have a little fun with their Made in USA running apparel.
Boathouse refers to themselves as America’s Premiere Elite Performance Outerwear, and for only $663 you can own one of their Custom Running Singlets. The company traces their heritage back to the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games where they introduced a technically designed shoulder gusset allowing full arm rotation. The Olympians received the signature silhouette well, providing a functional and fashionable alternative to their everyday uniforms.
I found this company on the internet. CoolclothingUSA.com was founded by a husband and wife team: Craig and Joanna. Craig is an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran who knew first hand how valuable Coolmax shirts were in the hot environment of Iraq. Joanna is a marathon runner who has enjoyed Coolmax clothing for years. Base layer or underwear? Don’t know. I emailed Joanna. She didn’t respond…
The Big City Folks at Miler Running like to show you how bad ass they are by hiring You Guys they met in lock up to use as role models for their product line. It’s’ bad ass too: LIGHTWEIGHT RUNNING SS TEE FOR TRAINING AND COMPETITION.
Made in New York City of imported European fabrics. Bonded noso® seams and hems…
Recent Press includes “boutique running brands to know now” – Gear Patrol | “best running short” – GQ fitness awards 2022
The folks at Mud Gear invite you to Get ready for your next Spartan Race…Mud Gear is a brand of mud run clothing and outdoor performance gear for warriors. Mud Gear didn’t start as a gym brand that began making outdoor gear. It was made from scratch by and for outdoor athletes. Mud Gear develops unique features that will help you achieve top performance on the trail or course.
PATH projects makes premium running apparel, for every terrain, path and adventure. Designs and technical fabrics that outperform, out style and out-run anyone. Running shorts, tops, base layers and headwear – everything we build is high-end, timeless in style and unmatched in price.
Down the road we’ll probably do a listing of reflective products, but we thought we’d include this one to add a little diversity to this list. RUSEEN is a producer of Hi-visibility and reflective athletic apparel for runners, bikers, walkers, and the outdoor enthusiast. Their shirts are completely designed, sublimated, cut, sewn & the reflective is applied in Berks County Pennsylvania! Color Fast. UV Protection, Zero Shrinkage
Great fit! Great fabric! This long-lasting running shirt stays with you over the 5ks, 10ks, halfs, marathons and ultras that you run. The most comfortable T around! No annoying scratchy tags at the back of the neck. Smooth, soft, ultra-lightweight ReadyTech Aries fabric performs well over a wide range of weather conditions.
Runyon Canyon is in Los Angeles at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. The clothing company by that name makes a full line of active lifestyle apparel. This Run Series shirt is made with 100% performance moisture-wicking fabric technology. It is lightweight, breathable & silky-smooth, odor-resistant, quick-dry, with UPF 30 Sun Protection. Made In USA Performance Textile. Designed, Cut & Sewed in the USA
Back before the global brands took over, Soark made running apparel for the New York City and other marathons. Moisture Wicking Short Sleeve T-Shirt: This short sleeve Performance Visa® Comfort running shirt feels great against your skin keeping you cool, dry and comfortable.
I got a short sleeve shirt for Christmas, but you can order this in long, short sleeve, or sleeveless.
“A few months before I started Territory, I quit my job and took a road trip across the US. I didn’t have a specific direction, I was just running in cool places and meeting new people….” Same old BS, their Go the Distance Tees are Made in Oregon. The rest of their stuff they don’t really want to talk about where they’re made…
Tracksmith New England makes premium running equipment for racing, training, and all conditions….like you saw at the 2020 Olympic Trials in Atlanta. This shirt was designed for distance in a streamlined, lightweight style and silky-soft mesh. Must be popular. Currently out of Stock when we last checked. But lots of new arrivals and old favorites are ready for you…
Doing Boston, Berlin, Tokyo?
They got you covered.
WSI makes stuff for Winter Sports. Like snow and ice. But this Tech Tank might just be right for this listing. Their men’s Soft Tech continues to be a best seller. WSI’s new lightweight performance SoftTECH™ Tank Essential Tank for everyday spring and summer activities like the women’s racerback in the photo. Proudly Made in USA since 1990.
Watch our Reel: Patriot’s Day is a legal holiday in a number of states, and in the Boston area there are reenactments of Revolutionary War Battles, a Red Sox game, and the Boston Marathon. This year we posted a reel on why you might want to visit your local thrift store. We posted it on April 17th, and you can check it out on our AmericanRunnerBlog.com Face Book page.
Click back to our January 2023 post if you’re looking for some ideas on what to wear in colder 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 email@example.com
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