April ’22 Calendar of Runner’s Events and Races in Georgia
Here are our recommended Georgia running events for April listed under our A, B, C, D headings: Running in Atlanta (A), Best Race in Georgia (B), 2022 Georgia Race Calendar (C), Most Difficult Race in Georgia (D). As always, included is our commentary about these races, links to the events and a few items of suggested running apparel and gear, especially those that are made in the USA.
No Fooling is our theme for this month and we’re not kidding! It all started out late February when we sent out requests for event photos for our selected April marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K races. Our Top Choice for an Atlanta race just vanished! Yet last year they posted a YouTube Video celebrating their 20th year? So what happened to Run the River up in Roswell? We don’t know. Even the Squirrel Hunter Trail Run is gone missing for 2022! But at least the good folks down in Newman let us know it’s just not happening this year. So after a brief moment of panic, we dug down deep to come up with a really BIG ATLANTA RACE
- A (Atlanta) — Atlanta Dogwood Festival Mimosa 5k
Rating: Big 5k
- B (Best) — Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon
Rating: Little 26.2 and 13.1
- C (Complete) — Vidalia Onion Run
Rating: Fun 13.1 and 5k
- D (Difficult) — Bald Buster 5k
Rating: What were you thinking?
A (Atlanta) — Mimosa 5k
I’ve never heard of the Mimosa 5K, but everyone’s heard of the Atlanta’s Dogwood Festival.
Anytime you see listings for Corporate Sponsors and Media Partners you know it’s something special. The website says “The popular Atlanta Dogwood Festival Mimosa 5K returns to the 86th-annual festival. Atlanta runners can celebrate summer with a morning run through the streets of historic Midtown followed by an iced-cold mimosa toast in the park! Be sure to pack your ID so you can sample Cupcake Vineyards bubbly (for runners 21+). Runners can stay and enjoy the festival, which opens at 10 a.m.” I’ve run this race a couple of times but never officially. Just happened to be lapping around Piedmont Park on my Saturday long run and jumped in the parade in order to get a couple of traffic free miles before heading back to the Beltline. Register early. This is a really big event and this race will sell out.
B (Best) — Chasing Jefferson Davis
Abbeville ain’t Atlanta and that’s why you are going to love this race: Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon
You pick up your packet at the same place you’ll start the full marathon: the historic Abbeville Gym. Google can’t find it so here’s a tip. Drive down Highway 129 from Hawkinsville to the Abbeville Motel, turn right and go west on College Street till the street ends in 3 or 4 blocks at the Gym. Its damn near dark at 7:30AM in April, but you’ll know when to get moving after the Confederate Reenactors fire that field cannon to announce the race start. Me, I ran next to the lady with the headlamp. You head out of town and run along ancient roads alongside farms and fields. There’s even a 3-mile stretch on red clay. Why they bother to put out those porta-potties in the middle of nowhere is beside me. I just peed on the fire ants and kept going. The age group awards were nice too. The fellow over at the Museum next door to the finish line makes them in his wood shop.
Where to stay? I persevered until somebody at the Abbeville Motel picked up the phone. But most folks stay in Fitzgerald. Be warned the Half Marathon starts at a different location, so you’ll want to click around on the website until you find the map links to the Full, Half, and Finish Lines. I recommend you check out how to get there the night before. I’ve run the Half too. Just make sure you got a full tank of gas and a charged-up cell phone when you head out to find this place. But the Half was fun. You meet up with the other runners in the Salem Baptist Church parking lot, climb in the back of a pick-up truck, and zip over to the Start line around the corner at the 13.1mile marker. This is one race that solves the confusion of multiple mile marker signs by counting you down. When you see 9.3, that’s how far you got to go. Oh, and they’ll even drive you back to your car after the race whenever you’re ready to tear yourself away from the cold drink cooler.
C (Complete) — Vidalia Onion Run
Nobody drives 3-hours down from Atlanta to run a 5K, but if you dream of having your next Half Marathon time embedded in the record books: This is your race. They’ve done the Vidalia Onion Run for a number of years, but this year they’ve added a little 13.1 Half Marathon just for you. The website proudly announces This is Your chance to make History:
The 13.1 Course Record will be whomever finishes first in 2022!
Shopping tip: Stash a little cash in case the Vidalia’s are in. The State of Georgia set April 19th as last year’s ship date, so you might be right on the money to bring back something special besides that age group medal.
Where to stay? After realizing Vidalia wasn’t Valdosta, I called the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce for a little help. You’re about an hour and a half south of Macon. Just merge onto I-16 and look for Exit 67 a bit down the road. Growing up we stayed at the Days Inn, but the Chamber says you’ve got lots of options as to where to stay and eat within a mile or so of the Start Line.
The race starts and ends on Church Street between the First Baptist and Methodist Churches so parking should be no problem, but you’ll probably get there on either Main Street or First.
D (Difficult) — Brasstown Bald Buster
It was called the Bald Buster 5K when I ran this race. Not the Brasstown Bald Buster. They said to take your fastest 5K time, double it, and see if you can beat it. Beat it. Hell if you’re still alive at the end of this race you need to drop to your knees and thank Jesus for giving you another chance to turn your life around. I ran it once in near white-out when it was a December race the week before Christmas. Officially it was cancelled by the State, but we ran it anyway. Took 45 minutes going up and about 15 seconds coming down. The girl from Russia was showing us how to start running and then slide. No thank you. I just wanted to live to see my wife and family again. The local joke is it’s “a little 5K with just 1 hill.” Look it up; Brasstown Bald is Georgia’s highest mountain. 1,700 feet of elevation in a damn 5K race is insane. Took almost 7-miles to do this at Hogpen back in January. Brasstown Bald ain’t Colorado. But it’s Bad. Probably the only 5K in the World where you go to Ultra Sign Up to register!
Where to stay? Google says Hiawassee in one place, Blairsville in another. Helen’s just around the corner so you’ve got lots of options including Urgent Care up the road if you have a really bad day and go screaming off the side of the mountain.
Gear Tip: You’ve heard the words: April Showers all your life, but what are you going to do about it. The 5k crowd probably just turns off the alarm and lives to fight another day. But you spent real money for that longer race so you need to be prepared. Plan A is to put some nice rain gear on your Christmas List. Plan B is to buy it yourself. Plan C is to get a couple of those disposable ponchos at Target and throw one in your Gear Bag. But Plan D is the one you see most often at Big City Races, where those out-of-town runners borrow the trash liner from the motel room and make their own rain gear. Be sure to pack a ball cap too (or visor) to keep your head warm and the rain out of your eyes.
I’m a visor guy, and these Made in USA Halo products are the real thing. It was the initial ING-sponsored Marathon in Atlanta when it turned warmer than expected. The water truck driver couldn’t make it thru all of the closed streets, so we ran flat out for seven miles wondering how we could have missed it. By the end of the race, I had sweat pouring down into my eyes all but blinding me. I thank God for the nice lady handing out ice cubes in Piedmont Park. Thanks to her I made it to the finish line. The next week I bought my first Halo Race Visor. I’ve run in 90-degree heat. They work.
Oh, and I wear blister free Wright Socks Made in USA. There’s still a couple of Made in USA sock options, so I’ll comment on those later.
Check our our Gear Page for most Made in USA products