The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run Walk Roll is a Big Atlanta Race. Photo: Fletcher Marketing
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We’ll send you an email each month letting you know our newest post is up and informing you about special events like the legacy Tour de Ford 10 Miler in fashionable Richmond Hill. Cept it ain’t happening this year cause the Blue Bloods don’t want you there!
The good folks at Game Changers Running Company have put together a new race: Marching Madness 5K in support of the Richmond Hill School High School Band.
Last year we talked about the Iron Horse 15K in Kennesaw and several of these same events. You can read about ‘em if you wish in our September 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 Paynes Creek Trail Race. 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 September 2023.
- A (Atlanta) —Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run Walk Roll
Rating: Park Run 5k
- B (Best) — Macon Labor Day Road Race
Rating: Fast 5k Longer 10k
- C (Complete) Carrollton Half Marathon
Rating: Night Race 13.1 10k. 5k
- D (Difficult) —Twisted Ankle Trail Race near Summerville
Rating: Trail Run 5k 10 Mile
A (Atlanta) — The Corporate Run Walk Roll
I don’t remember ever running this event, but I’ll never forget the sight of hundreds, or were there thousands of people, walking down Capital Avenue towards Turner Field in big groups dressed in matching-colored t-shirts that read: IBM, ATT, Bell South…
WKHX 101.1 Radio was there and Bonnie Chapman gave me a t-shirt.
The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run Walk & Roll has moved from Downtown Atlanta to Piedmont Park, and this is the 40th Year! Jeff Galloway will be there, and if you signed up early you’ll have the opportunity to train with an Olympian!
There’s also a virtual option too in case you just got shipped off to Omaha or Dubuque.
I’ve run hundreds of times in Piedmont Park and even jumped into somebody’s 5k on occasion when we were both going in the same direction. Most events line up in the park and run a lap around the lake. Afterwards they exit onto 12th or 14th Street and run up Piedmont Avenue, turn right at Caribou Coffee onto Monroe Drive, and head back to the Finish Line inside the Park.
This event follows a similar pattern, but the finish line is around the corner on 10th Street just like the Peachtree Road Race. You’re going to like this course. There’s a little up. There’s a little down. But mostly you’re just going to run around…
The Corporate Run Walk Roll has some serious bling.
Last year my friend Collin gave me his Finishing Metal. It’s Nice. Just not sure why cause I’ve got a closet full of these things too.
The Kaiser Permanente sponsorship is part of their commitment to encouraging you to invest in a healthy lifestyle. So keep that in mind if you stumbled onto something on the web inviting you to ‘Atlanta’s Largest Office Party.’
How to train: The goal of this event is to get Metro Atlanta workers Moving into a Healthier Lifestyle. My advice is to go out a couple of times a week and run a little, walk a little, until you’re comfortable doing this for 30 minutes to an hour. Set a schedule for what works for YOU, and a year from now you’ll be feeling better, sleeping better, and maybe even living longer.
Where to Park: You can access the parking deck from Piedmont Avenue, but the folks at the Conservatory recommend you set your GPS for 1320 Monroe Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306 and enter from the other side. Parking is limited, so consider taking Marta or walking over on the Beltline. Marta’s Midtown Station and the Arts Center Stations are just a couple of blocks from Piedmont Park.
Where to stay: You live here, but Trip Advisors got lots of NICE places to stay within walking distance of the park. And with this being a 7PM start on a Thursday night, it might actually make sense to book a room if you’ve got a long commute.
What to do: Explore Georgia has a long list of where to eat, drink, shop, and the coffee at Caribou ain’t bad either, but if your needing a new pair of running shoes, Jeff Galloway’s Phidippides Atlanta Running Store is just around the corner in the Ansley Mall Shopping Center.
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 Macon Labor Day Road Race
The Macon Labor Day Road Race once claimed to be the Fast 5K in Georgia. Photo Credit: Macon Tracks
I like to write about this race because I grew up in Macon, and I still enjoy running thru the old downtown. The streets were made of bricks then, and downtown bustled with excitement as folks drove in to do their Saturday shopping. This was the era before interstate highways and regional shopping malls, and we sometimes took the Nancy Hanks up to Atlanta or spent an evening at Luther Williams Field watching the Macon Peaches.
The Macon Labor Day Road Race 5k race is Fast, and people drive in from all over Middle Georgia to run it.
Last year, the first men finished in 15:18, 16:11, and 16:22, the first females in 17:08, 18:04, and 18:15. Nathan is from Macon, Steve: Kennesaw, Brett: Walhalla SC, Ann: Tallahassee FL, Salley: Athens, and Eulen: Atlanta. Like I said, runners drive to Macon from all Middle Georgia and beyond to compete in this race.
If you’re “in it to win it,” you’re going to be crowding the start line across from the Vineville Baptist Church at 7:30 in the morning. Behind you will be hundreds of folks just excited to be there with their families and friends enjoying this event. At the rear are the mamas pushing their babies in strollers, but not one of them would make eye contact or even speak to me when I did the 5k back in 2018.
I was there pushing a 3-foot-tall Pikachu in a weighted down stroller as part of my physical therapy after crashing my bike back in July! And that made me … Best I can tell I was the first stroller flying across the finish line in 45 minutes and change!
The 5k starts at Vineville Baptist Church. Leave your car in the big parking lot and walk over to the start line. The first mile is a little downhill, a little up, and then down the big hill on Hardeman Avenue. Mile 2 heads UP Hardeman to the top of downtown, then it’s down down down as you fly past rock & roll history, Cotton Avenue, H & H Café, City Hall, and the painted ladies of old downtown. Mile 3 turns the corner on to 7th Street and runs past the little hospital where my father was born and onto the park.
You can’t see the finish line as you enter the park, but now’s the time to step it up and look good when you come around that final corner.
I’ve always said your hometown advantage is to know the course. So if you live in Middle Georgia, my advice is to go out and jog it. I said jog and not run because Vineville Avenue is a heavily trafficked street and you’re going to be jumping up onto an uncertain sidewalk from time to time. But once you’ve done this, you’re mentally ready for race day.
The 10k starts just south of Wesleyan College right across from local running shoe store Run Fit Sports! I’ve yet to learn whether this was marketing genius or just dumb luck, but they’re open that morning for those of you that prefer an indoor potty or just forgot to pack your running shoes!
The 10k starts at 8:00. Park your car in that little shopping area and walk over to the Start Line.
Pace yourself. The race starts flat and fast for about a half mile before it heads up a hill that will have some of you walking. Mile 2 starts at the top of the hill and flies over to Vineville Baptist Church. From here the course rolls down, a little up, then down down down before you head UP a second hill to the top of Downtown. Here you’ll fly past the painted ladies of old downtown. Mile 5 turns the corner onto 7th Street and heads straight to the park.
Both races are point to point events that end in Macon’s legendary Central City Park. Macon was founded in 1823 and the park in 1826. Look around, and you’ll see what those movie folks like about this park with its century old bandstand, exhibition hall, and baseball stadium.
My Grandfather Pop parked this powerful Central of Georgia steam locomotive in Central City Park years ago.
The Macon Track Club solved the problem of how to get back to your car years ago with a Shuttle. Just check the event website for all of the details re: packet pick up, course map, fluid stations etc.
And don’t forget to check out Macon Tracks Calendar of local races including their new Music City Half Marathon in November.
Where to stay: Last year I noted Explore Georgia giving you a choice of 2 exquisite Bread & Breakfast Inns and 36 crappy motels. This year I’ve noted a swanky new Marriott Boutique Hotel called Hotel 45 for those of you that like to chill out at places with $$ valet parking, down feather pillows and roof top bars.
What to do: Trip Advisor says there’s lots to do from the Hay House, to the Cannonball House, to the Alman Brother’s Big House! Me, I like walking by the river at Amerson River Park just north of town, but you might want to check out the Indian Mounds if you‘re here from out of town.
C (Complete) —The Carrollton Half Marathon
C Completes our 2023 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the Carrollton Half Marathon.
The Carrollton Half Marathon runs along the Green Belt. Photo Credit: Sole Roots Racing
Over the years I’ve had clients in Carrollton, Bremen, and Villa Rica, and I just fell in love with this land of lakes, streams, and rolling hills about an hour west of Atlanta.
The Carrollton Half Marathon has been on my radar, and this year we decided to write about it.
Mike Bell Chevrolet is the local Chevy Dealer, and I knew his son Jordan had run the first Carrollton Half Marathon back in 2019. So I asked him to give me a call. Jordan said he and a running buddy had been getting together on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and were putting in 12 to 18 miles a week. In his mind, he was ready!
The Marathoners have an expression that goes like this: Start Fast. Finish Slow.
Jordan saw the guys in the pace groups, but when the race started, he was off. And that’s the problem; you get sucked out way too fast by the speeders. Samuel from Birmingham ran it in 1:15 with Patrick from Decatur seconds behind. Katie and Leah also from Decatur finished in 1:29 and 1:34.
I checked his finishing time. He ran a great 5k, a good 10k, OK 15k, and ran out of gas…. Worst yet, all of those other runners you passed in the first half of the race were now passing you.
Jordan says the first part of the race is downhill, that’s one reason you feel so good as you fly past the 5k marker. Leaving Adamson Square (the old downtown) you’ll be making your way out to the Green Belt. It’s still a mostly flat run thru the 10k marker.
I’ve run races in Tallahasee and Lake Placid where that downhill start was the dreaded uphill finish. The elevation map for the Carrollton Half Marathon shows a gentle route, but you’ll still be working your way UP thru the University campus as you continue on the Green Belt in the second half of this race.
Jordan admitted he knew the first half of the route, but not the whole course. That’s why it’s so important to train on the course if you have the opportunity. Part of running is physical and part is mental. Running the route gives you the confidence to know You Can Do This.
The Green Belt is why you’re going to like this race. The folks at Sole Roots Racing have put together a half marathon event that’s 60-70% on the Green Belt. You’ll be running on a tree lined shaded course that will take you UP thru the University of West Georgia campus on your way to the Finish line.
Need to know: The Start Finish lines for the Carrollton Half Marathon are at Adamson Square, so set your GPS for 119 Bradley Street, Carrollton, GA US 30117. Sole Roots Running Company is at 150 Maple Crossing.
Where to Stay: Airbnb has a luxury 5 bedroom cabin with a private pool and lake. For the rest of us Explore Georgia says there are campgrounds, RV Parks, and 6-8 motels. Booking.com has a Courtyard by Marriott that is walking distance to the Start Finish line in Adamson Square!
What to do: We noted lots of eateries and taverns around Adamson Square (the old downtown) with dozens of other options nearby. There are the coffee shops, bookstores, and galleries you’d expect to see in a college town. You might even want to check out a new pair of running shoes or test drive a new Chevy, but I’d find a place to freshen up first!
D (Difficult) — Twisted Ankle Trail Race
Mark Rotruck once did a tour of duty at the Ford store up in Summerville, and he kept telling me about a local race called the Twisted Ankle Trail Race. Said there were places on the course so steep you had to grab tree roots to pull yourself up the hill. Whether Mark was pulling one on me or not I don’t know, but I wasn’t all that interested cause I was aiming for Boston and not the Sheppard Spinal Center.
This race takes place at Sloppy Floyd State Park. Sloppy was born the same year as my father, and like Papa Jack he was a skinny fellow. The Atlanta Magazine article we found said he was so thin that his football jersey made him look, well sloppy. Thus the name you see on those twin towers next to the State Capital where Sloppy would one day go on to Chair the powerful Appropriations Committee.
The Twisted Ankle Trail Race takes place at James H “Sloppy” Floyd State Park Photo Credit: FaceBook
You’ll probably agree with me that Mark was pulling my leg about grabbing hold of tree roots to pull yourself up the hill, or at least until you spot those little elevation maps on the event website. The 5k map looks like a church steeple while the 10 miler looks more like a bad day in the Pyrenees at Le Tour de France bike race.
This year the Half Marathon distance is back. Look over the course description, and you’ll see names like Marble Mine Trail, Primitive Campsite Trail, Blueberry Trail, Jenkins’ Gap and Becky’s Bluff. Check out the Twisted Ankle Trail Race Face Book page, and you’ll see photos of last year’s race including a little doggie greeting runners at that Caution sign.
Marble Mine Photo Credit: Phil Lu
Lots to like about these folks beginning with the reminder that this is Not a Road Race and to put Your trash in the can. I also like the little color coded signs they put out to keep you on the right trail plus the volunteers at the intersections to point you in the right direction. Something that would have been really useful when Beverly and I got lost up on Red Top Mountain years ago.
Where to Stay: Last year we told you that the Sloppy Floyd State Park has cottages and campsites, while Explore Georgia says there are Cabins and Cottages in Summerville plus the Coach Inn. This year we noted something new to us: GLAMPING?
Glamping is described on one website as ‘The prodigy of luxury and experiential travel.’ Another described Glamping as where stunning nature meets modern luxury. You can stay at places like the Sunrise Tee Pee in Texas, The Resort at Paws Up in Montana, or right here near home at the Dunya Camp in Summerville!
What to do: In addition to enjoying the park, Trip Advisor says you can take your choice of food options ranging from the Crushed Tomato to the Willow Creek Grill. And don’t forget about Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens just up the road, but you’ll have to wait a little bit longer on that bridge repair if you’re looking to catch that 100 year old steam locomotive!
Gear Tip: From the course description on the website I don’t think you’ll need to go looking into a new pair of trail running shoes. But here are a couple of Made in USA options. Carson Footwear makes trail running shoes. Hersey has added a trail shoe to their line of custom made 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) — Dances With Dirt Ultra Trail Marathon
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.
The Tupelo Marathon Tupelo is a 5 hour drive from Atlanta, but that’s doable if you want to see where Elvis was born and like to run around in a race shirt that reads “Trample the Weak Hurdle the Dead”. This Labor Day Weekend race in the Deep South starts at something like 4:30 in the morning so you have a chance at living til the end. I heard the folks at the first water stop, jest couldn’t see them in the dark.
Great Smoky Mountains Half Vacation Races puts on a bunch of events out west, but they have a half marathon just up the road in Townsend, Tennessee…. It’s drivable at 3 hours and 37 minutes from Atlanta, but you’re practically in Knoxville. The website says Escape to the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies with a gorgeous course through the woods. You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful destination!”
The Dirt Dash Marathon This event is 5 hours from Atlanta, but very drivable from Savannah, Augusta, and maybe even Macon at 2, 3 and 4 hours. The event is held at Johns Island just south of Charleston on a mixed course of roads and trails…
Best Georgia Running Events September 2023 include the Augusta Ironman 70.3
Photo Credit: CSRA Photography
Triathlon season maybe be coming to an end, but this little race down in Augusta is one of North America’s largest Ironman 70.3 races and one of the Fastest!
Welcome to THE BIGS!
Augusta 70.3 is known for its Fast swim times….just make sure you are signing up for the one in Augusta, Georgia and not Augusta, Maine!
In The News
The Atlanta Journal Constitution picked this article up from the Washington Post by Gretchen Reynolds, and reprinted in their big Sunday paper.
Section: News Date: June 4, 2023 Title: Never too late for exercise to boost brain
Living next to Atlanta’s Grant Park, I see people out walking, jogging, or pushing those baby strollers every time I leave the house. Most of them are in their 30’s and 40’s, but there are older folks too.
This article was focused on retirement age adults, but the message was the increasing proof of what most of us think of as common sense: stay active and you’ll not only be mentally sharper, you might just live longer.
This was something of a puff piece, but use this link if you’d like to read more.
Running Gear you might need for your upcoming Fall Marathon
Last month 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 around October 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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