Last year we talked about the Jekyll Island Marathon and several of these same events. You can read about ‘em if you wish in our October 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 Atlanta 10 Miler. 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 October 2023.
- A (Atlanta) —Peachtree City Classic
Rating: Local Favorite 15k 5k
- B (Best) — AthHalf Athens Half Marathon
Rating: College Town Run 13.1. 5k
- C (Complete) Boston Mini Marathon
Rating: County Roads 13.1 5k
- D (Difficult) —Atlanta 10 Miler
Rating: Hill Run 10 Mile 5k Kids Run
A (Atlanta) — The Peachtree City Classic
The Best Race in Atlanta maybe just down the road in Peachtree City.
I’ve known about the Peachtree City Classic for some time, but I’ve never run it. So I decided that I would call someone who has: Bob. He says this event goes back to the Peachtree City Running Club’s founding back in 1981, when they decided they’d do something different vs everybody else’s 5k and 10k races. And thus the first Peachtree City Classic 15K was born.
Bob was an Army guy stationed at Ft MacPherson in Atlanta, and a Navy friend kept inviting him to meet up with his local running club over in Peachtree City. Eventually he yielded, and best he can remember, his 51-minute 15k is still the Master’s record! At this point I kept quiet cause my 70-minute 15k seemed really slow, but Bob wasn’t exactly making two laps up that steep hill on North Avenue next to the Old 4th Ward Park!
Peachtree City is where you buy a nice home with a 2-car garage with room for a golf cart! And that’s what makes the Peachtree City Classic so unique. There’s something like 100 miles of cart paths here, so the local Peachtree City Running Club has no problem putting together their weekly runs, or this big annual event.
For 2023 they’ve combined the 5k events, but for years there were 3-races: a men’s 5k, a women’s 5k, and the big 15k Peachtree City Classic. Runners from Atlanta would come down to tune up for their 10 miler at the end of the month, but things change and the big Atlanta Track Club race is now the same weekend for those of you who like HILLS.
The Peachtree City Classic is Flat and FAST.
Peachtree City has been named one of the Best Places to Live in the United States. And this course was voted the Best Course by Georgia Athlete Magazine.
If you prefer flat and fast, here’s a brief lap around the course. You’ll start out on a road named Peachtree City Parkway (of course), but Bob says that’s just to give you a little time to spread out before you hit the cart paths.
Once you’re on the path there is water at mile 2 ½, a small loop around 3, Three Ponds or was that three ponds at 4-5, and six tunnels so dark Bob says you can’t see your feet! But that’s OK, they’re only about 50 meters long and before you know it, you’re looking at Lake Peachtree (of course) and flying back on Peachtree Parkway to the finish line at the Fred Brown Amphitheatre.
This race is so popular they’d have a cut off on registrations in the past, and on this side of the pandemic it’s heading back in that direction. So don’t put it off and register late like I do. Cause that other Big Race has 12 hills in 10 miles. I know because I counted them last year.
Jeff Galloway was speaking at the Peachtree City Running Club the night I called Bob. And you can look into his Run Walk Run training if that’s interesting to you. I live a couple of miles from Jeff’s Phidippides Running Store here in Atlanta, but the folks at Fleet Feet Peachtree City are the local sponsors of this race.
Where to park: The Peachtree City Classic starts and stops at a concert venue the locals call The Fred. And that’s good cause parking for this event is no problem. Google Maps says it’s 33 miles from Downtown Atlanta on I-85 South.
How to train: Bob says you can go from Couch Potato to doing this event in 6-8 weeks, but I assume he’s talking about the 5k. No way in Hell you’re going to run 9.3 miles from a standing start if you need help getting off the coach 2-months before this race. I’d advise finding a local track or a relatively flat course in the neighborhood and get comfortable going out 30 minutes to an hour a couple of times a week for the 5k …and a little longer at least once a week for the 15k.
Where to stay: At your buddy’s house near the golf course. Trip Advisor showed us 9 motels in Peachtree City, 5 of them with 4 Star ratings!
What to do: Explore Georgia has a long list of where to eat, drink, shop… and Trip Advisor showed us 351 places to eat, but that’s ridiculous. LeBeRuit is noted as the Best Lebanese Restaurant in Metro Atlanta, but my goodness have you got lots of choices….
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 AthHalf is the Athens Half Marathon
The Big Races (not all in Atlanta) are the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race
Rock n Roll Savannah (cancelled by da mayor)
The AthHaft Marathon
Macon Labor Day Road Race
halfmarathons.net rates the AthHalf as the #1 College Town Race.
Take a look at the video on the AthHalf website. It’s good, but it’s nothing like that heart pounding ‘if I don’t run this race, I’m going to die” video they had up last year. In fact, I rated that one as one of the best.
I said it was BIG because it is. Georgia has 159 counties, and Athens (Clark County) is ranked in the Top 20 with a population of 129,000. Add in another zillion University of Georgia college students and you’ve got the making of a BIG high energy event.
Last year some 2,000 ran the AthHalf Marathon with Taylor and Gary crossing the line in 1:12 and change and the Unknown Runner finishing in 4th. But this time it wasn’t me, though I swear I’ve finished in that mysterious designation in Vidalia, Montgomery, and twice in Atlanta!
The website says the “half marathon course runs through Athens’ historic districts, downtown, and the UGA campus, with local Athens bands performing live throughout the course.”
Here’s how I’d call it. You line up for a 7:30 am start near that double barrel Civil War cannon next to City Hall. You’ll lap around downtown over to Prince Avenue where the good kids went to the Baptist Church (before it moved to Bogart) and the others didn’t.
Look for Athens to turn out in force to cheer you on Dawg.
The route continues around the Health Science campus over to Sunset Drive. You’re going to be running thru local neighborhoods lined up with folks cheering you on as you make your way over to the Frat Houses in the Historic District on South Milledge.
Between miles 9 and 10 you’ll pass by the Oconee Hill Cemetery, but don’t give up: you’re getting closer to the University of Georgia Campus. The last three miles you’ll pass legendary landmarks like Stegman Coliseum, Tate Student Center, and Stanford Stadium where you’ll lap around Dooley Field looking at your Bad Self up on that huge jumbotron before you go sprinting to the finish line.
We found a course map for the athHalf on halfmarathon.net.
The AthHalf is two events. A 5k on Saturday and a Half Marathon on Sunday. You can register for both, but I don’t advise that if you’re looking for a fast time on Sunday. At the Savannah Sultry Swamp Run I met a runner named Abdo. He’s strong, flies all over the world to run, but he’ll do some fun run the day before Big Events like the NYC Marathon, and then he’ll post how he was disappointed in his finishing time. DUH!
My daughters teach music, art, and dance, so I’m all in for the Artfest folks using this event to raise money to fund high-quality music and arts education programming for local K – 12 youth. So you should feel good about writing that registration check. Why they’ll even let you Donate!
Where to stay: Concert Hotels has a listing of places you can stay near the Start Line at 440 Foundry Pavilion, 440 Foundry Street, Athens, GA 30601.
Looking over the list we found 5 options within 1-mile most with 4 and 5-star ratings. There are more affordable 2-Star options as well. The Hyatt Place Downtown is walking distance, and last year we advised you to check out the Holiday Inn Express if that’s what you need to do.
What to do: Trip Advisor says you ‘must visit’ the State Botanical Garden, are you serious! This is Athens, Georgia home of the National Champion University of Georgia Bulldogs! You got SEC Football, College Basketball, Baseball, Tennis, Gymnastics, music scene, arts scene… and don’t forget about hanging out with the Athens Road Runners!
C (Complete) —The Boston Mini Marathon
C Completes our 2023 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the Boston Mini Marathon.
If that 6:24 Finishing Time on your last marathon attempt didn’t get you an invite to run with Kip and Faith, here’s your chance to let folks know that You Are Doing Boston!
I’m constantly amazed at finding interesting running events that I have never heard of before, and the Boston Mini Marathon is no exception. The women’s 20th Century Club evolved over the years into the Boston Community Club, and they work to raise funds for various local needs. One of the members was a runner, and thus the idea for the Boston Mini Marathon was born.
This ain’t their first rodeo. The Boston Mini Marathon (and Festival) is now in its 45th year!
The Festival is a Big Deal. You got a parade, vendors, food, and lots of activities. Like the Bed Race: where teams of bedmates push a bed on rollers for an as yet to be determined distance to raise money for local kids who don’t have one…, local library, etc.
Lots going on in this town of 1,500 down by the Georgia Florida Line:
There’s the National Master Retriever Competition with 1,500 doggies registered for this event.
Boston Red Sox Little League Baseball Tournament
Spaghetti 100 bicycle event out of Tallahassee with paved and off-road options
Crowd support is a big deal in the Boston Marathon, and the same is true in the Mini. You may be running a down and back Half Marathon on lonely country roads, but cows are real curious beasts, and they’ll mosey over the to the fence line to watch you run past.
You’re doing Boston? You better find that $50 you got hidden under your mattress and get registered right now!
Need to know: Set your GPS for 118 E Jefferson Street, Boston, GA US 31626
Boston GA is around 4 hours from Atlanta and Savannah, 2 hours from Macon and Columbus, 1 hour from Albany, and 17 minutes from Thomasville. Just put Georgia Florida Line on the streamer Roll Your Window Down and Cruise!
Where to Stay: Ask Trip Advisor for Boston, GA and they showed me 237 places to stay….in Boston, Massachusetts! Tried a second time, same result. VBRO has places to stay in Thomasville 18 km, Valdosta 49, Tallahassee 61, and Tifton 78! I’m not flying in from France. Why the Hell is VBRO giving me distances in kilometers! Cozy Cozy has a bunch of cute listings, but they’re all in Thomasville around 10 miles away.
For $99 a night William will let you sleep in the camper that he’s got hitched up to this pick-up truck. But what if he’s running late for work and forgets you’re back there? Amanda says the Courtyard by Marriott in Thomasville is nice (and new) and to check out a couple of B&B in the area. I found the Paxton House, the Thomasville B&B, but I’m not sure if Southwoods Bob White is still an option.
What to do: Here’s Trip Advisor and Explore Georgia, but I say Run the race. Go to the festival. Spend money and eat. Dillion Candy Company has been making gourmet candies there since 1918, and with no Stuckey’s on the Interstate, I might just stop by. And Yes I know they got healthy food at the finish line, but if the Brothers are grilling Brats, I might just tuck a Bud in the cooler….
D (Difficult) — The Atlanta 10 Miler
We Rated this race as Difficult, because I ran it last year and it is. Photo Credit: Lara Joaquin
Our Top Pick for Difficult is part of the Atlanta Track Club’s Triple Peach Race Series. And for the cost of that 1962 Rambler Classic I bought after 4 ½ years at UGA, you can be part of a special group of runners with VIP privileges on Thanksgiving Day! This is the same town that gave you Coca Cola, Delta Air Line, and Home Depot, so they know a thing or two about marketing. And their events are well done.
Last year I whined about the crappy age group awards, so just to spite me they gave everybody at the packet pick up for the Atlanta 10 Miler a really nice Adidas backpack (a $65 retail value). This year…
If you’re from Abbeville this will be the most urban experience of your life. Atlantic Station is a futuristic city just off the Downtown Connector (I-75 I-85) complete with a Batman Building, a petite Arc de Triomphe, and 2 Microsoft Office Buildings that look like somebody’s regional insurance company’s headquarters.
By hosting this event at Atlantic Station, the ATC has solved a host of participant problems including Where to Stay, Where to Eat, and Where to Park.
The Atlanta 10 Miler Course starts out at Atlantic Station and runs on 17th Street over the interstate up to Peachtree. You’ll head north for a couple of miles before turning left onto Peachtree Hills Avenue. Please note the name: Peachtree Hills as in Hills. I counted four on my run thru that neighborhood that were problematic, and you’re just getting started.
Peachtree Hills runs into Lindbergh then up towards Piedmont. Here you’ll head south to Montgomery Ferry Road to Monroe and past Ansley Mall, but it’s too early in the morning to trade in those shoes you picked up somewhere On Sale for something worth wearing at Phidippides. Turning back onto Piedmont you’ll run up the hill and into Piedmont Park. There are at least 4 bathrooms in the park, so check out this link to a map of the park if you might need to schedule a pit stop an hour into the race.
I mention this because last year the porta potties around mile 6 were LOCKED. Not saying that kept me off the Age Group Podium, but when you see them at the top of the hill and you start thinking about it and… I came in 4th. It wasn’t even close.
Leaving the park you’ll go up 12th Street to Juniper, down to 6th, over to West Peachtree and up to 17th where you’ll go roaring back over the Expressway on your way to the Atlanta 10 Miler Finish Line. Running that last mile in to Atlantic Station was so cool…
The Atlanta Track Club wanted me to let you know there is something new this year: New in 2023, PNC Atlanta 10 Miler weekend will include a youth Mile and Dash on Saturday, October 21. Upon completion of the youth event, participants and families can make their way into number pickup to shop for merch and grab bibs for the 10 Mile and 5K distance events.
The PNC Atlanta 10 Miler takes place on Sunday, October 22.
The Course Maps are good if you can find them. One shows you where to pick up your packet before the race and where the Hospital Tent is located near the Finish Line. This link shows the route. It’s a great run, but be sure to take a look at the elevation chart at the bottom of the map. You need to be comfortable running hills.
Know the course: Last year I did a test run the week before the race. Took it easy. Just went out one morning and jogged it. I think knowing the course is a big mental advantage on race day beginning with “I know I can do this!”
Where to Stay: Atlantic Station’s got it all if your American Express Card ain’t maxed out yet. There’s a boutique Marriott, an Embassy Suites, a Springhill Suites and a Tapestry Hotel by Hilton. Here’s a link from Hotels.com
Gear Tip: I picked up a new pair of training shoes at New Sole down in McDonough, and I’m really enjoying the cushioning of a new pair of shoes. Here are a couple of Made in USA options: Carson Footwear makes trail running shoes. Hersey makes custom running shoes. SoftStar makes a minimal zero drop shoe. SOM has a new Trailhead shoe. Keen makes hiking boots. Earth Runners, Luna and possibly others make sandals you can run in.
Double D (Difficult) — Mystery Mountain Marathon and 12 mile trail races
I ran the Kings Mountain Marathon on the South Carolina side of Charlotte where I discovered that anytime you combine the words marathon with mountain you were in for a tough run. The description for this race takes things one step further by dropping in phrases like “difficult, sometimes technical” in the same sentence with “panoramic views of fall foliage displayed on the surrounding mountains.” Mystery Mountain is another running event from the folks at GUTS: Georgia Ultra Trail Society, so you know it’s going to be good.
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 online to see what we could find. So here’s a couple of drivable events if you are looking to do a longer distance and not that interested in running something just south of the Canadian border.
7 Bridges Marathon Chattanooga, Tennessee
‘We’ve watched running events in the Big City just north of Ringgold come and go, but runners seem to like this marathon. Dave with 50+ Marathons says “The Seven Bridges Marathon has a wonderful atmosphere and lots of great things going for it. The course is awesome, the spectators are inspiring and the finish is absolutely spectacular!”
Home Boy has run it 6 times and likes this race. He says ‘you will love the run along the river and over the 7 Bridges that cross the Tennessee river. You’ll also get a great feel for the wonderful city of Chattanooga. Good food awaits you at the finish, and great aid stations along the course. I come back every year for this one!”
Spinx Runfest and Half Marathon. Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville’s not a bad drive at 2 hours from Atlanta, a bit more for Augusta, and only 4 from Savannah, but every time I look up a race here, there’s always some reason you don’t want to do it. ML from Orange Park says “Disappointing: The weather was ideal, 40’s to start with overcast skies. Packet pickup was a breeze. The course was modified to avert trains…” My memory, always a problem with trains… RS from SC adds “I sincerely hope that this was NOT a Boston qualifier.”
Emerald Isle Marathon Emerald Isle, North Carolina
The Emerald Isle Marathon is one of those island runs you think you want to do until you see just how far you’ve got to drive. The southern end of the Outer Banks of North Carolina are 7 hours from Atlanta and not that much closer from Augusta or Savannah. EW from VA loved the weather, loved the course, loved the food, loved the beer. Plan B: Hello Delta…but you still have to pick up a rental car at the airport to get over to the island.
Best Georgia Running Events October 2023 include the Coliseum’s Rock ‘N Roll Man Triathlon.
This popular Swim Bike Run event at Lake Tobesofkee in Macon was held on May 31st when I did it, but they got shuffled to an October date. Brrrrr
In The News
Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal wrote this article about the Ugly Shoes Now Worth Billions of Dollars, and why you might be seeing them in more places…
Hoka Running Shoes
June 24 Wall Street Journal News Section B1
This article focused on the story of a little brand purchased by a larger concern (they own Ugg boots and Teva sandals) who took their time in building this line into a billion Dollar brand. Use this link if you’d like to read more.
Running Gear you might need for your upcoming Fall Marathon
Back in August I found myself running alongside different groups of runners who were training for an October Marathon. One group was headed up to the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, another to the 7 Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga.
Me: I’m planning to run the Boston Mini Marathon in Boston GA! You’ll find it on our 2023 Georgia Race Calendar. My advice to them was to run a little, walk a little, and gradually build endurance. It’s not just the 26.2 miles that you are dealing with. You’ve also got to be prepared to be out there on the course for 4-5-6 hours if that is what it takes to do the distance.
You ain’t running no 5K. You’re going to need this….or something like it. Rub Body Glide around your neck, across your nipples, Yes nipples, and between your legs. Race Day I sometimes run it across / between my toes…ie anywhere you might rub and cause irritation.
Cap Visor Headband
I’m partial to Halo Headbands, but you’ve got lots of choices. You want to keep the sweat out of your eyes. And the girls like to keep their hair under control. I like visors and headbands because you can park a pair of sunglasses up there and grab ‘em when you need them.
BOA and Soark and others make marathon shorts here in USA. Photo: Race Ready
They are light weight running shorts that have small pockets on the back where you can pack gel packs for your race.
Running Shirt / Base Layer
You need a shirt that wicks moisture away from your body. I like to wear a long sleeve over my short sleeve / singlet or base layer so I can pull it off it I need to and tie it around my waist. Photo: Runyon Canyon
Check out or Gear Page for lots of options here.
The Wall Street Journal noted that most of the world’s running shoes are made in a giant 20 square mile industrial complex in China. The motivation was to make them Cheaper, Not Better. You can look into a pair of custom running shoes from Hersey, or a really cushioned up shoe from SAS if that is what you need, but most of the running shoes Made in USA are minimalist zero drop barefoot shoes and sandals.
Back when most of us were running in cotton tube socks, the folks at Wright Socks came up with a light weight No Blister running sock. My advice is to buy 2, 3, 4 different weight socks (cushioned, running, ultra-lite) to see which one works best for you. Personally, I run in the first two for training and the thin socks for race day.
We showcased Made in USA Running Socks in our March 2023 post. You need to air dry running socks.
My friend Gebo once made fun of me for posting a picture wearing a pair of sunglasses on top of my head… like I was making some Fashion Statement. NO. You start that marathon at 7 in the morning and take a turn east and you’re looking right into the sun… And you are blinded. You need to be able to see the road, the potholes, and the traffic furniture. If you find one Made in USA, let me know. But for $25 the Goodr Running Sunglasses are hard to beat.
Don’t you walk into some running store asking for a Throw Shirt and go home with something they’ve got on the sale rack for $25. Head over to your local Thrift Store and buy yourself an oversized long sleeve or hoodie. It’s going to be chilly at 6:30 in the morning while you’re standing in that corral waiting for the race to start. Some runners toss them at the Start Line, but I like to keep mine on for the first mile or so until things warm up a bit. Photo Credit: Junk Headbands
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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