Georgia Race Calendar of the Best

Running Events and Races in Georgia

Hey Georgia. Here’s our Top Picks for running in July listed under our A, B, C, D headings: Running in Atlanta (A), Best Race in Georgia (B), 2022 Georgia Race Calendar Options (C), Difficult Race in Georgia (D). 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. And be sure to click on our Gear Page for the Big List of Made in USA products.

Savannah Sultry Swamp Run, Savannah Rough Runners
Savannah Sultry Swamp Run Photo Credit: Savannah Rough Runners

Ever since the 1895 Cotton States Exposition Atlanta has been into BIG. And this month’s Best Race in Georgia is the World’s Largest 10K: the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race. We’ve picked two great July Trail Runs within an hour of the State Capitol, plus a Sultry Swamp Run down in Savannah hosted by the Rough Runners that’ll make you appreciate the treats on River Street after it’s done and over. Check out our 2022 Georgia Race Calendar for more great events.

  • A (Atlanta) — Great Bend in The Hooch Trail Run
    Rating: River Run 12m 5m
  • B (Best) — Atlanta Peachtree Road Race 
    Rating: HUGE 10k
  • C (Complete) — Savanah Sultry Swamp Run
    Rating: Hot & Humid 20k 10k 5k 
  • D (Difficult) — Red Top Mountain Trail Run
    Rating: Trail Run 15k  5k

A (Atlanta) — Great Bend in The Hooch

Our Top Pick for Atlanta is a trail race about an hour south of the city near Newnan. The Great Bend in the Hooch is part of the Southern Singletrack Trail Series races that run on some of Georgia and Alabama’s finest trails. Here’s your chance to show off that new pair of shoes you picked up on sale at REI at one of Georgia’s newest state parks. 

The new park is appropriately called Great Bend in the Chattahoochee State Park, and they’ve got it all: 12 miles of trails plus biking, boating, fishing, hiking, paddling, geocatching, (whatever that is?) and more. Trip Advisor liked it so much they actually included some great photos of the trail in their presentation. 

Not trying to brag on Trip Advisor, but if you’re into trail running, you’re gonna love the pics of this trail. I liked them so much that if I hadn’t gotten that shot of the pretty woman running thru the wilderness at the Savannah Sultry Swamp Run, I’d seriously consider using one of these photos for our July trail run post.

Where to Stay? The State says they’ve got campsites and cabins right there in the park plus some elevated campsites for those of you who don’t like sharing your sleeping bag with critters and snakes. Trip Advisor says you’ve got lots of options, but they’re 10 plus miles away in Carrollton or Newman! I checked AirBnB as well, but you’re still miles away.

Registration costs always go up as you get closer to the event. So be sure to check out our 2022 Georgia Race Calendar and plan ahead.

B (Best) — The Atlanta Peachtree Road Race 

I ran this race back in 2007. I was upfront in the back of Coral A. You’d think that I’d been run over by the Angry Speedsters in Coral B, except there was road construction at the intersection of Peachtree and Piedmont approximately 1 mile down the road. When I finally made it thru all of the congestion my watch read 10:30 as in 10 minutes and :30 seconds! 

Back in June I ran the Hotlanta Half and it lived up to its name. But Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race is a really BIG event and you need to do some planning.

Ask Yourself: How do I get to the Start Line on July 4th? My suggestion is to make a trial run. Research: Where to park? How to Buy a Marta Card? Then try it out by catching the train and heading up to Lenox Square. And that’s exactly what I did before my Peachtree Road Race. I exited the train at Lenox Station, walked up that giant hill to Peachtree Street, and headed south towards Piedmont Park. 

It was early that Saturday morning and not much traffic when I realized in a moment of vanity that I was faster than the other runners who were also testing out the course. Hopping up on the sidewalk to avoid a city bus, I twisted my ankle near the top of Heartbreak Hill. I limped over to a seat at Pershing Point and dialed 911 for the wife to come and get me all the while trying to ignore the Homeless guy sitting next to me on the bench who was trying to give me medical advice. $20 later we had dropped him off somewhere and bought ourselves a foot soaking bucket and a package of Epson salt. Damn if it didn’t work just like he said!

But I wasn’t able to wear a shoe again until the morning of the race!

How to Train: Run the course. Talking with other runners after last month’s Hotlanta Half, I was amazed that not a single Atlanta area runner I spoke with had exercised their Hometown Advantage: You slept in your own bed, You ate your own food, And you know the course!

Where to stay. Trip Advisor says you’ve got lots of options. So grab that hotel room near the Start Line at Lenox Square and catch a Marta bus back to your room after you’ve finished the race in Piedmont Park. That is assuming they are running. Check the Atlanta Track Club and Marta websites. You may need to catch the bus on Piedmont and not the one on Peachtree. Best to buy a one-way ticket at the closest station when you get in town or a multi-day Marta Card that will let you get on and off the buses or train when you’re ready to head out to eat or just to see the sights.  

C (Complete) —Savannah Sultry Swamp Run.

C  Completes our 2022 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the Savannah Sultry Swamp Run.

I ran this race back in 2019, even won the door prize: a big basket of candy from the River Street Sweet Shop! But I plopped down in the wife’s folding chair and nursed an ice cold water after this race before striking up a conversation with Abdo from Miami who had taken something like 2-days to get there on Amtrak!  If you’ve enjoyed the heat and humidity in Atlanta this June, you’re going to love it down South in Savannah in July near the water at 12 feet elevation. 

The course was a 4-lap repeat thru a mostly wilderness area when I ran it. You started out  on a wonderful forest trail and ended up looking for the little yellow flags in the foot tall grass as you made your way to the next rickey wooden bridge. I inched across, but the guy who won the 20k race fearlessly charged across and finished in half my time. 

This is another local event from the Savannah Rough Runners. The guy next to me at the Start Line was wearing a Georgia Death Race T-shirt. These people do ultra’s, so this little race thru the park is just a get together on a sultry Saturday morning.  But Sign up if you can. They’ve made it fun for mere morals like you and I with a 1-2-4 loop option. The 20k is the most race for your money. But that’s OK. There were lots of runners having fun on a really different 5K course. 

Book it early. This race is limited to something like 100 runners and you want to be there!

The race has moved to a new location from when I ran it at Priest’s Landing, but the course description looks pretty much the same. The event location at the Ogeechee Canal is on the website and you’ll need this information to find the Start Line.

Where to stay? It’s Savannah! Book a room on River Street if the check will clear, but other options over by the Mall are lower cost and closer to the venue.

Where to eat? Ditto. But there’s a little seafood restaurant called Bubba Gumbo’s on the way over to Tybee Island that Beverly and I think is special. 

D (Difficult) — Red Top Roaster Trail Run

Once again we’ve picked a great trail run this time just north of the Big City at Red Top Mountain.

You see Red Top Mountain every time you approach the Cartersville Exit on I-75. The State has a park there. A Big Park with a 12,000 acre lake, 15 miles of trails, sand beach, everything but parking, so car pool if you can.

The folks at Dirty Spokes have been putting on a trail run in the park for years.

Me, been there done that. Years ago Beverly and I were into hiking and along with the little ones managed to get ourselves lost on their damn trail. I promise you it’s well defined now, but it wasn’t back then. Somehow thru the Grace of God another family with 3 or 4 young’uns rescued us and drove us all back to safety.

You are going to like this race. Chris said it was fun. Just (turn off the sound and) watch the video on the event website called Thrill of the Hills. The folks at Dirty Spokes are showing you just how much you and the other 325 runners are going to enjoy this race. I also noted those helpful volunteers in the video pointing you which way to go!

Where to stay? You start at the Lodge, you finish at the Lodge, so my advise is to stay at the Lodge. Except the website says they closed in June 2010! The State says the Park has campsites and cabins and one yurt. Yurt? Cartersville’s just around the corner with an historic Bed and Breakfast, 100 year old downtown, places to eat, museums, Etowah Indian Mounds, and lots more.

How to Train: watch the video and train accordingly. I once met Kenyan runner Henry Rono who told me “hills make you stronger.” So look around, find some hills, and practice running up and down….

Gear Tip: It’s going to be hot, but the video on the website shows volunteers handing out water so you probably can leave the Camelbacks and Hydration belts in the car. Me, I carry mine just so I know what the Hell I’m drinking. You need to dress light to stay cool. And I suggest you look into a good pair of trail running shoes. The only ones Made in USA is by a company out West named Carson, but it’s a different shoe and I haven’t tried em out yet. Ditto a brand new trail shoe by Hersey. Read more about this on our July Gear Page.

Runners’ Gear: Click on our Gear Page for the Big List of Made in USA products

Tracksmith Strata Singlet Atlanta

Tracksmith designed this singlet for the Olympic Trials in Atlanta, “These racing singlets performed so well over 26.2 miles in Atlanta, we’re introducing them to our permanent collection in classic colorways.” Pictured above the Tracksmith Strata Singlet Atlanta

SOM stands for Sense of Motion, They describe their Made in USA shoes as HIGH-PERFORMANCE TRAINERS.

The website encourages you to “Attack your workouts in a barefoot-feel trainer that breathes as it flexes for precise performance during the hardest activities.’ 

The shoes have a giant toe box that give your toes room to breathe!

Me, I bought the ones in GRAY with BLACK laces.

I took ‘em out on a handful of 5-milers on both paved and unpaved portions of the Atlanta Beltline before looking for a chance to do something different. After finishing the Atlanta Outdoor Club’s Hooch Half Marathon Trail Run, I handed my iPhone to another runner named Pam and asked her to record me running to the finish in my new SOM Nutrail Air shoes. You can watch the video on our’s FaceBook or Instagram 

SOM doesn’t describe their shoes as running shoes, but you can!

My Choice for Running Visor
Halo … Made in the USA!

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.

I’ve run in Wright Socks for years, but I buy a mixture of socks that range from thicker to thin. I like the thicker socks for days when I want a little more cushion, and the Ultra Thins for running fast on race day. REI’s got a zillion choices for you trail runners, but I like to run in the lighter tab pull socks when I’m putting in miles on the asphalt.

There’s still a bunch of Made in USA sock options, so take a look at the Big List on our July Gear Page.

Runners’ Links July 2022

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