Last year we talked about the cancellation of Rock n Roll Savannah and several of these same events. You can read about ‘em if you wish in our November 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 Ranger Run up in Dahlonega. This month we’ve added a Double D 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 November 2023.
- A (Atlanta) —Cabbagetown Romp & Stomp 5k
Rating: Intown Favorite 5k
- B (Best) — Atlanta’s Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon
Rating: Big 13.1 5k Kids Run
- C (Complete) Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon
Rating: Flat 26.2 13.1
- D (Difficult) —Ranger Run in Dahlonega
Rating: R U Serious 13.1 10k 5k
A (Atlanta) — Cabbagetown Romp and Stomp
Our Top Pick for Atlanta is an Intown Favorite: The Romp and Stomp 5k
When Beverly and I went shopping for our first home years ago, we had a real estate lady who was scratching up every penny she could get her hands on in order to fix up and resell houses in a run down 100-year-old mill town around the corner called Cabbagetown.
Today Cabbagetown is a trendy Intown Atlanta Neighborhood with its own restaurant district, neighborhood association, and a running group appropriately named the Cabbagetown Running Club. For years I showed up Thursday nights at the Milltown Arms Tavern on Carroll Street for the weekly group run. And for years we ran the Romp and Stomp 5k course the week before the race.
The course description on the Chomp & Stomp website says it is Flat and Fast? Fast yes, Flat well maybe not so flat. The Romp and Stomp 5k starts out on Carroll Street and goes flying up the street and around the hood. But before you get to the Finish Line, you’ll run up and down those narrow mill town streets. That said, there’s a little elevation going on here and you better be ready.
The neighborhood festival that day is called the Chomp & Stomp Chili and Blue Grass Festival.
Run this race, and you’ll earn a Free spoon to the Chili Tasting! And that’s just another reason you better sign up now if you want to run it. Cause this intown favorite fills up fast as you get closer to the event date.
Last year I decided I was actually going to run it. Then Active decided my password wasn’t good enough for them. I sent Active an email. My Network Support Case is #07890275 with a strong 26-character password! Active responded with a generic message: “Due to an usually high volume, there may be a delayed response to you inquiry”…. That was November 6, 2022, and I still haven’t heard from them!
Welcome to CTOWN. Last month I walked over and hung out for a few minutes in front of Milltown Arms Tavern. The first runners were just arriving, and the walking group was getting ready to head out. I told Trey the Romp and Stomp event photo absolutely captured the spirit of this event. You can run it, walk it, push that stroller, volunteer, compete in the Chili Cook-off, or book your Blue Grass Band.
Packet Pick-up was always an issue for folks who live elsewhere to get to Cabbagetown after work and navigate those narrow streets over to the Community Center. This year the Romp and Stomp 5K has added a couple of dates at Jeff Galloway’s Phidippides Running Store in Ansley Mall to their Thursday Friday pickup at the Community Center.
Where to stay: Where to Stay? I assume you live Intown within walking distance or you’re staying over with a friend. That said, check out AirBnB for a rental near Cabbagetown, Grant Park, or Inman Park. Lots of parks here but not much parking, so keep that in mind and have a strategy if you’re driving to this race.
Need to know: The Romp and Stomp 5k starts in front of Milltown Arms Tavern at 180 Carroll Street, Atlanta, GA 30312.
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: Atlanta’s Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon
According to Run Georgia, there are Thanksgiving Day events scheduled for Atlanta, Augusta, Alpharetta, Blue Ridge, Bremen, Blairsville, Brunswick, Carrollton, Cummings, Clarksville, Dacula, Duluth, Dahlonega, Gainesville, Griffin, Johns Creek, Leesburg, Marietta, Richmond Hill, Roswell, Savannah, and Valdosta.
Most of the races have silly turkey theme names like the Gobble Wobble in Dacula, many raise funds for local charities like Must Ministries in Marietta, but the folks in Clarksville best reflect the true spirit of Thanksgiving when they named their event the We Give Thanks 5k.
The Atlanta Track Club has expanded this event to include a 5k and a Kids Run. Last year the family walked down the block to Grant Central Pizza to watch Ruth run down Cherokee Street in the 5k. Next we drove over to the Center Parc Stadium to watch Calvin and Carl in the Kids Run. Then I walked up Capitol Avenue to catch Chris as he ran under the Olympic Rings in the Half Marathon. Yeah. Lots going on…
The first two finishers in last years Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon crossed the line in 1:10 and 1:12, so if you like Fast Company, you need to sign up NOW!
The Atlanta Track Club will assign you to a coral so you can enjoy your run alongside others with a similar pace. Me, I was just fast enough to slide into the back of Coral A or B, but the last time I ran this race I was placed in the very last coral because nobody at the ATC believed a 70+ guy could run an under 2-hour half marathon. I never even knew there were Corals C, D, and E. They were out of sight around the corner.
The Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon starts up Capitol Avenue and runs under the Olympic Rings, past the State Capitol, and over to Centennial Olympic Park. Here you’ll turn north and run past Coca-Cola and Georgia Tech before taking a right at IKEA and into Atlantic Station.
Next you’ll cross over the Downtown Connector (I-75 I-85) on the 17th Street Bridge, head south on Spring, and up 14th Street towards Piedmont Park. (FYI the only bathrooms I know of on this course are in Piedmont Park around miles 6 and 7). At Juniper you’ll turn south and go flying back towards downtown.
Warning: Pace yourself… on Irwin Street you’ll run under the interstate and up “that hill” towards the King Center that seems to end the dreams of some runners for a big finish.
Passing the King Center you’ll make your way down to MLK and into Downtown. Now’s the time to pick up speed on this mostly flat run. You’ll go down and up the hill past the Fulton County Courthouse and then down and up the hill by the State Capitol the Olympians called Capital Punishment!
You’re now a little over 1-mile from the finish line. Take advantage of the little up and over I-20 to go roaring down towards the Stadium. You’ll loop around to the back of Georgia State’s Center Parc Stadium and run on to the field with friends and family watching your big finish on that huge video screen!
Where to Park: There is some parking….but retail and mid-rise apartments now occupy many of the Atlanta Braves lots where you have parked in the past. ATC is advising you to carpool. MARTA may be an option, but you need to confirm this option on their website.
How to Train: If you’re local, take a Saturday morning off from your regular routine and go out and jog the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon route. Your Hometown Advantage is that you know the course. For everyone else, start early to build a 2-hour endurance in running hills.
Where to stay: Discover Atlanta says there are thousands of hotel rooms, places to eat, and things to do Downtown, but you are 1-2 miles away from the Start Line location at Center Parc Stadium, 755 Hank Aaron Dr, Atlanta GA 30315
Gear Tip: Plan for cool, warm, and wet options. I generally layer up and tie the long sleeve around my waist if things warm up. You want to dress for the finish line, but it might be cool at 7:00AM while you’re waiting in the coral for the race to start. My advice is to head over to Goodwill and invest in a $5 hoodie that you can discard once you cross the start line.
C (Complete) —The Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon
C Completes our 2023 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in Ft. Oglethorpe.
I ran this race back in 2005 after my first to worst experience in San Francisco. I began training on August 10th and 10 weeks later I was standing at the start line next to that little Baptist church. Always had a good feeling about races out in the countryside that start next to little Baptist churches: Indoor plumbing, smiling faces, and a wind break from the morning chill.
This was my fourth marathon, and I still remember the things that made this one special. But a quick review of the Chattanooga Track Club’s description of this race lets you know that this little running event has evolved into something a whole lot bigger.
The Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon serves as the 2023 RRCA Southern Region Championship for the marathon distance.
The Chickamauga Battlefield Half Marathon serves as the 2023 RRCA Georgia State Championships for the half marathon distance.
The Fort Oglethorpe 5k serves as the 2023 RRCA Georgia State Championships for the 5k distance. FYI to the Chattanooga Track Club: These links do not seem to work?
The Pace Groups are a nice addition to this race.
I rate the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon as one of the most spectator friendly running events this side of the Augusta 70.3 Ironman. Here’s why: Beverly watched the race start, drove over to one of the little parks, set up alongside other families and friends, and watched me run past 3 or 4 times during the race. I got a cold Gatorade each time I passed. How cool is that.
Others have noted the same thing. In 2010 Readers of Runner’s World selected the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon as the “most family-friendly” marathon, runner-up for “most scenic” marathon, and third for best overall marathon.
Chickamauga was also selected as Runner’s World must-do “run through history” marathon of 2007. The race takes place at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the nation’s oldest and largest Civil War Park.
I enjoyed the laid-back nature of this race. But it was a sobering experience as you ran past giant monuments that burst out of the ground with names like Georgia Regiment, 125th Ohio, and Seventh Pennsylvania Calvary. This was a major Civil War battlefield.
FYI: The course may be up near the mountains, but this Civil War battlefield site is pancake flat.
Weather: You should expect to be running on a perfect fall day in 40-60 degrees. But watch the weather and be ready for the potential of cold and wet…or even warm.
How to Train: I’d locate a track or a fairly flat course in the neighborhood and practice running at a steady pace. You need to be able to do this for 2-3-4 hours depending on whether you’re planning to compete in the half or the full.
Where to stay: Beverly and I booked one of the Presidential themed suites at a little motel just off the interstate in Lafayette that was so tacky I’ve always wanted to go back. The John Adams suite had a big jacuzzi tub right there in the corner of the room complete with mirrors on both walls. John Adams was a New England prude. This room was pure Elvis.
I couldn’t find our little motel online. Maybe it was sold and remolded by a new owner? Explore Georgia says you have (4) choices, but they only list the Econo Lodge and Super 8. Trip Advisor adds an RV Park, plus places to eat like the Hibachi Grill and the Park Place Restaurant.
You’ve got lots of options as you head north towards Chattanooga, but I’d stay close by and try to locate the Start line before it got dark the day before. Bad things happen when you take the wrong 2-lane on the way to the race in the dark!
The start/finish is now located at the 6th Cavalry Museum at 6 Barnhardt Circle, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742.
D (Difficult) — The Ranger Run in Dahlonega
The folks up in Dahlonega are inviting you to drop in for one of their Run for Rangers events Veterans’ Day Weekend
Veterans Day is a whole weekend of activities up in Dahlonega including a 5k, a 10k, and a Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, plus the off-road half marathon distance Ranger Run on Sunday at Camp Merrill home of the 5th Ranger Training Battalion.
The 5k and 10k races start at Hancock Park in historic downtown Dahlonega on a challenging course in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. The 5k keeps on the streets while the 10k heads off road onto scenic trails that come with a warning: Not for the “faint hearted.”
You know these are Army guys because they spelled it feint on the website.
The Ranger Run half marathon takes place at the Ranger Base and it ain’t for the “faint hearted” either. The course description says “almost all of the half marathon course is off-pavement on service roads cut thru the Appalachian Mountains only feet away from the Appalachian Trail.” Me, I’m thinking about it. Just need to break in a pair of jump boots first…
The website dares you to “challenge yourself on the grueling hills where American’s best soldiers are trained.” Art says “no pavement, no path, they ain’t even forest roads.”
He says “the Army provides everything you’ll need from support teams to medical staff!”
If you’re still alive at the end of this race the Service Club is open to you with a full menu, wine and beer. Just not sure who’s picking up the tab. Might be you!
Art is an ex-Ranger with a background in hotels and restaurants, and he’s our point guy for this event (and the Heroes of America Marathon in Columbus). If you’re in town check out his Three Ranger Craft Beer and his little eatery called The Station. They’re just one of lots of places you’ll want to visit while you’re in town.
How to Get There: Art says Dahlonega is about and hour from Buckhead, but I think he drives faster than I do. Google says its 65 miles from Atlanta, so he’s close. You’re an hour and a half from Athens and around 3 hours from Macon, Augusta or Columbus
Where to Stay: Trip Advisor listed 28 places to stay from the Smith House to the Days Inn, so you got lots of options. Explore Georgia noted 10 Bed and Breakfast Inns, 28 Cabins, 4 Campgrounds, 14 motels, 4 resorts, and 2 retreat centers.
Double D (Difficult) — The Stone Stairs of Death in Savannah
I was going to list the beautiful Sky to Summit 50K trail race as our Double D event, but Run Bum moved it up a week from their November date in 2022 to the last week in October. Then I remembered to check out the Rough Runners Calendar in Savannah and found their Stone Stairs of Death event. This is a grueling timed event and you’ve got ONLY 2 hours to do it!
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.
Everybody’s wanting to fill the void left by da mayor’s cancellation of Rock n Roll Savannah: one of the greatest running events in our State. But that $15-20,000,000 event ain’t coming back here no more. They done found somebody else!
We went surfing on online to see what we could find. So here’s a couple of drivable events if you are looking to run a longer distance, but be sure to read the Comments before you commit. Cause other than The Monkey, there are reasons why you may want to think twice before running one of these events.
Charlotte Marathon Charlotte, North Carolina
This promotional photo makes this look like a really big event, but the comments we read kept repeating the word: small.
City of Oaks Marathon Raleigh, North Carolina
MD has run the City of Oaks race 4-5 times, and he doesn’t like the recent changes. This race used to be managed by local running stores who took a more personal interest in runners.
Town Banks OBX Marathon Outer Banks, North Carolina
We noted last month that the southern end of the Outer Banks of North Carolina are a 7 hour drive from Atlanta and not that much closer from Augusta or Savannah. ND has run 11-50 Marathons, and he had issues with this event. How do you design a marathon course in which 111 paying marathoners don’t even make it to the 13.1 split????
Flying Monkey Marathon Nashville, Tennessee
The Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon is a marathon that is about running. Running hard. Running over memorable rolling hills and through dense woods. MS says This is the best road marathon in the US.
In The News
Betsy Morris once served as the Bureau Chief in Atlanta for the Wall Street Journal. She wrote this piece last year asking the question “Are you exercising too much?”
Kelsey Santisteban, in a 2013 race, had five stress fractures when she ran for University of California, Berkeley Photo Credit: Mike Scott.
June 21,2022 Wall Street Journal Personal Journal Section A12
In 2018 I was feeling good, running steady, and probably winning my age group in the Atlanta Marathon when around mile 22 everything started going backwards. Angry at my poor finish, I doubled up on my training for my next event and on my last long run before the Flying Pig in Cincinnati something happened and I walked the last 2 miles home…
This article focused on the need to exercise right and give your body time to recover.
Use this link if you’d like to read more.
Running Gear: Our Search for a Wind Vest Made in USA
I lost my cherished wind vest after running the Hogpen Hill Climb up near Helen. Best I can tell it fell off a coat hanger in the hotel parking lot as I was carrying an arm load stuff back to the car. But I like wind vests because they keep your core protected from the chill without heating you up like a jacket.
My Search for a wind vest / running vest / runner’s vest Made in USA produced pages and pages of listing of USA Company / USA Design / and Made results including this puff piece from Runner’s World. Warning: this is an Affiliate Marketing article designed to earn a commission when you hit that BUY Button.
Take your pick: Brooks, Eddie Bauer, Nathan, New Balance, North Face, Outdoor Ventures, REI Co-op all make their stuff in China or in cheaper Vietnam, and Lulumon manufacturers in China and all over the world including some items Made in USA.
Soark makes a reflective wind vest for runners. This one’s going on my Christmas List. I own a couple of Soark products, and they are all well-made and moderately priced.
Aerotech Designs makes a wind proof cycling vest. I swim bike run in some of their triathlon products, and this might be an option worth a look.
Don’tGetHit.com makes reflective products. Look for their All Purpose Reflective Vest. I don’t see this as a wind vest, but it’s a great idea if you run after dark. This one’s Made in USA. Others are not…
Outdoor Research makes light weight vests, fleece vests, down vests. We’re really talking about sky vests, but I remember those pictures on Face Book of that running group up in Gainesville who went out in 10 degree weather!
Voler makes premium cycling and triathlon gear. If you do both this might make sense, but cycling and running are different sports and the athlete’s needs are different
Last year we compiled a list of Running Gear Made in USA that ranged from Flag Theme running shorts to Tracksmith products designed for the 2020 Olympic Trials in Atlanta.
We’ll update this Big List sometime this Fall 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 email@example.com
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