Run Across Georgia runners leaving Tybee Island on their way to Columbus 277.2 miles away!
Run Across Georgia runners leaving Tybee Island on their way to Columbus 277.2 miles away!
Jugfest Festival 5K in Knoxville

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Last year we talked about the big Memorial Day race in Marietta and a number of other events. You can read about ‘em if you wish in our May 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 Georgia Forest Trail Race.  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 May 2024.

A (Atlanta) — Brookhaven Bolt 5K

Our Top Pick for Running in Atlanta is the Brookhaven Bolt.

Our Top Pick for Running in Atlanta is the Brookhaven Bolt. Photo Credit FaceBook

The Brookhaven Bolt got my attention when I discovered that 1,621 runners ran the Bolt in 2023. It’s an almost 20-year-old event benefiting the local Ashford Park Elementary School. And it’s a lot better fundraiser than the poor little children they send to my front door here in Atlanta trying to sell candy bars so their teacher can buy pencils and erasers.

For those of you who have absolutely no idea where Brookhaven is, think next neighborhood up from Lenox Square. My old boss Mike Bowen lived there, and it was a charming area of dogwood trees, little parks, and period homes slowly being replaced by the McMansions.

The website describes the Brookhaven Bolt race course as variable with rolling hills and a challenging finish. I think it must be winsome, because I saw runners from all over metro Atlanta in the finishing results.

And Fast. Stephen from Stone Mountain ran this last year in 16:40 with Mark from Atlanta and Max from Decatur close behind. Jessica from Peachtree City was the first female, but Conrad was one of only 2 runners in the Top 10 from Brookhaven!

Like we said, the Brookhaven Bolt benefits the Ashford Park Elementary School.  7 year old Grant from Snellville ran this in 21:21, and he and 9 year old Jack from Atlanta beat 95% of the rest of you. Don’t you let the folks at UGA dazzle your Dad with a set of season tickets. You talk to the coaches at Oregon or someplace that puts people in the Olympics.

I might be wrong about Georgia. According to the NCAA, UGA sent more Track and Field athletes to the last Olympics than USC or Stanford! And little Garner Webb and Shorter College each sent one.

One thing I like about th Brookhaven Bolt is that you know exactly where to park, where to line up, and where to get your race packet.

That’s Big Peach at 705 Town Boulevard, Brookhaven, GA 30319.

Another thing that I like about this race are the staggered start times. You run a 6:10 pace like Jessica, you line up behind the Big 6. You ran last year’s Peachtree Road Race; you know why this is a great idea. I ran 6.2 miles pushing past people who somehow started in front of me… who we slower than me. 

Start/Finish:  The Brookhaven Bolt starts on Caldwell Road directly behind Village Place Brookhaven.  We looked up the address: Set your GPS for 1430 Dresden Dr, Atlanta, GA 30319

How to Train: This is a rolling course. Get comfortable running hills.

Gear Tip: You pick up your packet at the Big Peach running store around the corner, so make sure you got a decent pair of running shoes.

Weather: According to gosouthatlanta.com Visitor Information, May should be warm. Expect temps to range from the high 50’s  to high 70’s most days.  

Need to Know: Parking for ALL runners is at the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA Station parking lot on Apple Valley Road, one block south of Peachtree..   

Where to stay:  You’re running this race, you live here, you’re commuting in, or you’re paying for a $$$$ hotel room near Lenox Square.

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

What to do: Take a tour of Oglethorpe University, go shopping at Lenox Square, visit the Atlanta History center, grab lunch at the Swan House… here are some links: Explore Brookhaven, Explore Georgia, Trip Advisor, but some of this stuff isn’t in Brookhaven.

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 Hartwell Dam Run.

BEST Georgia Running Events May 2024: We picked the Hartwell Dam Run as the Best Race in Georgia
BEST Georgia Running Events May 2024: We picked the Hartwell Dam Run as the Best Race in Georgia!

We made an effort this year to look for new events to write about, but the Hartwell Dam Run is one of the oldest running events in the State.

The race dates back to 1978. According to Georgia Encyclopedia “Construction on Hartwell Dam began in 1955 and concluded in 1963. The dam diverts the Savannah River and some of its tributaries into Lake Hartwell, which, with nearly 1,000 miles of shoreline, is one of the largest manmade bodies of water east of the Mississippi River.” 

I sent an email to Classic Race Services up in Athens to ask about some photos of the race. Judd replied reminding me that the name of the event is the Hartwell Dam Run…and not the Hartwell Damn Run as in “we run over a Dam, not that we are cursing as we do this!”  

I ran the Brunswick Bridge Run last February, so I know a little something about damn runs. Happily, I signed up for the double pump which damn near killed me. 

Back to Hartwell: as you can see in this photo from the Independent Mail we found from 1988, there is some elevation going on here. 

Hartwell Dam Run runners. Photo Credit Ken Ruinard / Staff Independent Mail 

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the top of the dam is 204 feet above the Savannah Riverbed. The Concrete Section is 1,900 feet. The Earth Embankments & Saddle Dike are 17,852 feet. 

A 9 year old named G. from Snellville won the 5K last year beating 450 other runners!

The 5K was big, but over 120 runners braved the 10K with 13-year-old Blane from Royston finishing in the Top 10!

Hint to the Bulldog’s Track & Field Coach Gilbert over at UGA: You need to get out of the air conditioning and start taking a look at some of this home-grown talent before your alma mater comes knocking on the door.

Reasons to run this event:

This ain’t another $50 Atlanta 5K.

The Hartwell Dam Run looks like a really cool event.

I’ve always wanted to visit South Carolina.

You really looking for an excuse to get out of the Big City for the weekend.

Need to Know: The 5K is a point-to-point race. Runners will be bussed to the start across the lake at Singing Pines Park in South Carolina. The last bus leaves at 8:15am. Be there on time or you’ll end up running the 10K!

The 10K runs across the bridge over into South Carolina and laps back across to the Georgia side. Runners must be able to complete a 15:00min/mile pace. Start for the 10K is at Big Oaks recreation area. Start Time: 8:30am EST

Set your GPS for Big Oaks Recreation Center, 5823 Dam Road, Hartwell, GA US 30643. 

Regarding being there on time. You’re about an hour from Athens GA or Greenville SC and about 2 hours from Augusta or Atlanta.

How to Train: You live in the area? Run the course. Otherwise find a nice route in the neighborhood with at least one big up and down. Learn to maintain your pace. Reduce the length of your stride as you go up. Lengthen your stride as you go down.

Where to stay: According to Explore Georgia, There are campgrounds and cabins, RV parks, motels and suites, farm stays, B&B’s, resorts and plantations.

What to do: Trip Advisor and Discover Hartwell add to what you’ve already seen in Explore Georgia. You got Farm to Table, BBQ, the Waterfall Grill, lots of choices. Plus there is Golf, Gardens, Brew Houses and Water Sports.

C (Complete) —The Army 10 Miler in Augusta

C  Completes our 2024 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the Army 10 Miler in Augusta.

Photo Army 10 Miler 2017 Ft Gordon Race Team

The Fort Eisenhower 10M will select the representatives to compete in the Army 10 Miler Race in Washington D.C.

Photo Army 10 Miler 2017 Ft Gordon Race Team

This is a really cool event just minutes from Augusta that most people have never heard about!

There are (2) events: a 10 miler and a 5K. There are (3) ways to participate:

Active Duty personnel will compete in this event for a chance to represent Ft Gordon at the Army 10 Miler in Washington, DC.

Competitive Runners can compete for Age Group Awards, but their 60 til Dead Age Group kind of sucks if you’re my age. But then I like a challenge!

Non Competitive Runners can register and run without all of the drama of a timed event! Like you give a damn that Kyle, Benjamin, and Nash ran it last year in 1:01, 1:02, and 1:03.

WELCOME TO THE CYBER CENTER OF EXCELLENCE

Ft Gordon is now rebranded Ft Eisenhower with all new logos and signage because that was so much more important to the ‘current’ Commander in Chief that supplying the parts and hardware to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines so their grounded airplanes could fly or their boats could float…. but I digress.

This is a new course for 2024. I swear that 1-dimensional course map on their website looks flat, but this is a military base so don’t expect to find any meaningful typography info and for God’s sake don’t try to do a fly over with that new drone you got for your birthday or it might be your last day as a free man!

Need to know: If you do not have a DOD ID Card, you must register for base admittance at https://home.army.mil/gordon/index.php/about/visitor-information/visitor-preregistration at least 24 hours prior to the event. Choose the visitor’s pass option.

Race Site – Barton Field, near Rice Road

Directions – From Gate 6 participants will need to make their way to Barton Field by going down 107th, go through two roundabouts, turn left onto 15th Street, turn right onto Lane Avenue, at the next roundabout turn left onto 25th Street, turn right onto Brainard Avenue, and parking will be available on the left on Barton Field.

This is the lowest running cost event I have ever encountered not called the Red Nose (Free) Half Marathon in Columbus!

Photo: Army 10 Miler Finishers

How to Train: Get comfortable running on rolling hills. I expect no big ups or downs, but I’d pack a cap and some sunglasses just in case you need them. It’s early May. It should be warm, not hot.

Where to stay: I found a site called MilitaryHotels.us that gave great information about where to stay near Ft Gordon. The closest off-post hotels and motels are 3 miles east of the main gate near I-520 at Gordon Highway, and also north of the gate near the junction of I-20 and Jimmie Dyess Parkway. 

This listing includes the distance to the base and what service people thought of their stay. You’ll note helpful info like low price but Not Recommended, Average, and Rated High. 

What to do: If you’re not interested in a turn on the gun range, Augusta is only 10 miles away. We loved all of the little eateries downtown, the museums, the Riverwalk, and the Canal District is on my list. Here’s a couple of links including Visit Augusta, Explore Georgia, and Southern Living.

D (Difficult) — The Georgia Forest Trail Race in Dawsonville 

Georgia Forest Trail Race in Dawsonville includes a half marathon, 10K, and 5K but NO 50K this year!

I searched for Georgia Trail Race. The website says Dawson Forest Area 51 Trail Races?

This is another Ultra Sign-up event from Insane Endurance Racing, so you might want to make sure your will is up to date and your dependents are fully provided for in case you don’t make it.

The About this Event information starts out with All three races, 5k/10k/13.1 WILL be challenging. 

When you register, they ask you to describe yourself as:

Super Human

Elite 

Regional Hero

Solid Athlete

That said, all of the trails I found on my Search of the Dawson Forest were identified as Moderate with some listed as Easy! I found 1778 feet of elevation on one post and divided it by 13.1 miles. That’s a little over 135 of elevation per mile. 

That’s impressive if you’re comparing this to the Albany Marathon in our March post, but you folks down in Brunswick and Savannah are doing that on your Bridge Runs!

I couldn’t find a good course description, so we’ll go with the one on the website: Races include a mixture of forest service roads and single track.

And that’s exactly what we saw on this You Tube video of this event by Patio Mendino who was running it while carrying a selfie stick! At one point he says ‘Holy Sh-t I’m lost.” Later he admits he should have seen the Big Pink Arrow! You like single back trails, you’ll love this video!

According to It’s Your Race: The Half Marathon will have an added feature of racers competing against the Georgia Area 51 Alien, who will start 10 minutes behind the field and race the field. Can you escape the Alien and make it to the finish line before him?

Here’s the beautiful waterfall nobody found in the hateful reviews we read. Photo Credit Sireesha Daruri

The Georgia Forest Trail Races have a Face Book page with 906 Likes. But not all of the reviews we found on All Trails were positive.

These reviews were focused on the Red and Blue loops, and nobody saw that beautiful waterfall you see in the photo. Wrong trail? Just be ready for potential heat, rain, mud, and bugs.

Dawson Forest is a 10,130-acre public-use forest located in Dawson County, Georgia, southwest of Dawsonville. It is owned by the city of Atlanta, but is considered a state forest, as it is managed by the Georgia Forestry Commission. What???

Dawsonville is home to the Approach Trail to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, which starts at Springer Mountain. The area is known as the Moonshine Capital and Birthplace of Stockcar Racing, and it is home to NASCAR champions Bill and Chase Elliott. In the fall, pumpkin patches and family farms attract visitors to this scenic North Georgia town.

The Georgia Forest Trail Race is around an hour and a half from Atlanta or Athens, 2 from Chattanooga, and about 3 hours or so from Augusta or Macon.

They got a Store too. They got $30 Tee Shirts and I like their Lightweight Puffer Vest. My Soark wind vest is Made in USA. They don’t want to talk about where their stuff is made.

Need to know: Do not Google for directions to the Dawson Forest or you may end up 5 miles away from the start. Use the directions on the website.

Set your GPS coordinates 34.3501660067541 -84.1419026243286

Where to Stay: You got cabins and resorts and in park camping. Check out your options on Destination Dawsonville, Explore Georgia, and Trip Advisor.

What to Do: Everything. Dawsonville used to be a sleepy little place where folks use to make moonshine back behind the barn and drive it down to Atlanta on Thunder Road in order to keep food on the table. Now it’s growing and growing as folks from Florida flee hurricanes and unaffordable homeowners’ insurance for the relative serenity of Appalachia. You’re going to like it up there.

Double D (Difficult) — Run Across Georgia 

You can Run Across Georgia, ride it, or put together a Team like this photo we found on Face Book. 

We found Run Across Georgia on Big Dog Fleet Feet in Columbus’ 2024 Events Calendar.

This is a 4-day race that starts May 22 on Tybee Island and ends 277.2 miles later (I’m betting within walking distance of the Big Dog running store) in Columbus.

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 live in Augusta, Columbus, or Atlanta.

The New River Marathon is a 26.2 run in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

We looked over a dozen options and some like the Wambaco Swamp Stomp were just too damn far away, while others like Mountains to Main Street in Greenville SC were liked, not loved.

Flying Pig Marathon, Cincinnati, Ohio. The marathon season moves north each month, and this is a big one if you’re willing to spend a day in the car driving the Cumberland Gap and crossing that bridge over the Ohio River into Cincinnati. You got 3 river crossings and a big hill at mile 8, but then it’s a nice run to the finish line near the Red’s Stadium. Hello Delta?

New River Marathon, Todd, North Carolina. Runners love this event. They talk about beautiful views, mountains, rivers, horse farms. The rest died along the course. You got 13.1 and 5k options just in case you want to get in a mountain run experience first. Long drive but registration is still open.

Montgomery Half Marathon, Montgomery, Alabama. Beverly and I booked a $500 a night room at the Springhill Suites by Marriott 1-block from the Start Line during Covid for $100 bucks! You’ve about an hour from Columbus, 2 from Atlanta, and 3 from Macon and Rome. Ain’t no giant hills in Montgomery and you finish at Riverwalk Stadium: proud home of the Montgomery Biscuits baseball team!

In The News

Toe spacers like the Naboso Splay, pictured, are becoming popular as more athletes focus on foot health. NABOSO

A year or two ago I purchased a pair of SOM Nutrail Shoes. My son Timothy calls them clown shoes because of the giant toe box. But think about it, most of the dress shoes we wear to work, church, meetings etc, both men and women, have pointy, rounded, or narrow styling that crunches our toes together. It’s the price one pays for Fashion.

Saturday March 16, 2024        Wall Street Journal   Page A11

What if a Toe Spacer Were Enough to Boost Your Fitness?

“The items, sometimes selling for under $10, are becoming a trendy tool for elite athletes and regular exercisers focused on balance and foot flexibility…”

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

Running Gear

With the weather getting warmer, we though this might be a good time to talk about Running Shirts Made in USA.

Photo: Muscle Shirt by LA based Runyon Canyon.

We’ve just updated our Big listing of Running Shirts Made in USA on our Gear Page.

BOA You’ve just found your new favorite tee shirt. The Mesa is a women’s running top that uses a lightly mossed performance jersey that is buttery soft next to your skin

We found 114 listings for Running Shirt Made in USA plus 14 Peachtree Road race shirts on Grailed: a reseller of performance apparel. You got something to sell?

Included in this in this Big listing on our gear page are items from BOA, Boathouse, Cool Clothing, Miler Running, Mud Gear, Origin Gear, Path Projects, Rabbit, Runyon Canyon, Soark, Ultras, and WSI.

Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race is coming, and BOA and others have you covered in Red, White, and Blue. We showcased their products at the end of our June and July 2023 posts, and we’re thinking about adding a Red White & Blue listing to our Gear Page.

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!

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 May 2024

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