Iron Horse 15k Kennesaw, Macon Labor Day Road Race, Twisted Ankle Trail Race Summerville, Augusta 70.3 Ironman
Check out AmericanRunnerBlog.com’s 2022 Race Calendar for the Best Running Events and Races in Georgia!
Hey Georgia. Here’s our Top Picks for Georgia running events in September 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 USA.
Georgia running events September 2022 include some of my favorite races: the Augusta 70.3 Ironman with a Half Marathon distance run, the Macon Labor Day Road Race, Twisted Ankle Trail Race up in Summerville, and the Iron Horse 15K in Kennesaw. All in all that’s a Half Marathon, 10 miler, 15k, 10k and three 5k options!
- A (Atlanta) — Iron Horse 15k in Kennesaw
Rating: Mall Run 15k 5k
- B (Best) — Macon Labor Day Road Race
Rating: Fast 10k 5k
- C (Complete) — Twisted Ankle Trail Race Summerville
Rating: Trail Run 10m 5k
- D (Difficult) — Augusta 70.3 Ironman Triathlon
Rating: Very Cool 1.2 swim 56 bike 13.1 run
A (Atlanta) — Iron Horse 15k
Our Top Pick for running in Atlanta is part of the Iron Horse race series up in Kennesaw
Once again, we pulled out our 2022 Georgia Race Calendar, and once again a race had just gone missing. Except this time it was my fault and not somebody else’s Coronavirus disappearing act. Our Saturday morning run group meets behind the Little Tart just off Memorial Drive Saturday mornings at 7, and I’ve run thru the Virginia Highlands Summerfest on a number of occasions. But how this June 11 event got on our September events calendar is a mystery to me.
We quickly dove into the various online listings of events looking for a replacement. We’d heard good things about the Half Marathon down in Carrollton, but that seemed a bit far to drive to call it an Atlanta race. So we kept looking until found this race on the Big Peach website. It’s called the Iron Horse 15k, and true to form they have a shorter 5k thrown in to help pay the bills.
Be sure to read the part about where to leave your car, cause if you’re not parked in front of the Belk or Macy’s stores on the lower level, you may be stuck there at Town Center Mall until some 70 year old crosses the finish line 2:15 minutes later!
But don’t worry about your old ride. I spent 20 years working with some great car dealers up in Kennesaw. Just Uber down the street to Carl Black on Barrett Parkway and ask for Randy Irwin or Alex Garcia when you get there!
I’ve looked everywhere online for details about this race, and here’s what I can tell you.
1-The packet pick up is at Big Peach
2-The 5k and 15k both start at 7:30
3- You’ve got 2 hours and 15 minutes to finish.
4- The finishing metal looks cool
If you’re running the Iron Horse 15k you’ve got 6 chances to take on water but only 1 place to un-water. But you’d better not make a long pit stop if you’re planning on beating Hisato cause his 52:70 finishing time last year looks pretty damn strong.
No course map or description on the website. But the one review I found online leads me to believe that this is a loop course in and around Town Center Mall, and the event photos seemed to confirm this. Last year there were virtual options as well, so there may be more participants this year than the 250 who ran the last one!
Where to Stay? This is a suburban Atlanta race, so I assume you live nearby… Nevertheless we did a Google Search and we found (3) motels within walking distance: Tru by Hilton, Home2 Suites, and the Best Western Kennesaw.
B (Best) — The Macon Labor Day Road Race
Like the Peachtree Road Race in July, the Macon Labor Day Road Race is a big event. As in Big not Huge! The first time I ran this race was before some of you were born. It was back in the days when you got your race information by looking at the flyers in the window of your local running shoe store. Mine was the Phidippides Store over in Ansley Mall, and the little poster in the window advertised this Macon race as the “Fastest 5k in Georgia.”
Like the big annual event in your town, there are hundreds, even thousand of people at this race and most of them are there just to be part of the happening. But don’t underestimate the runners crowding around the Start Line. In 2019 a fellow from Walhalla, SC finished the Macon Labor Day 5k with a 4:56 mile pace with Matt on his heels at 4:59. All in all the Top 10 in the 2019 5k were under a 5:30 mile pace!
I’ve always thought of this race as a big local event, and it is. Except up front where the runners crowding around the Start Line are “in it to win it.” Out of the first 100 runners to cross the finish line in 2019, there were folks from Macon and 14 other middle Georgia communities, Atlanta and 14 other metro cities, 4 other parts of the State, plus Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Connecticut!
The Macon Labor Day 5k is Fast. You line up out front of the Vineville Baptist Church and you fly down Vinevile Avenue to the big downhill on Hardeman Avenue. After you cross over I-75 the fun stops for a few blocks as you climb your way up to the top of Hardeman. Then the fun resumes as you fly past Rock n Roll history and Mama Louise’s H&H Soul Food Restaurant on Forsyth Avenue and down again thru Downtown Macon and around to the big Central City Park.
The 10k is a point-to-point race also beginning out near Wesleyan College. By now Vineville Avenue has changed names to Forsyth Road, and you’ll be lining up across from Run Fit Sports. You’ll start 30 minutes after the shorter race giving the 5k runners and walkers time to clear. This is a Fast race also, but you’d better pace yourself up that first hill if you expect to enjoy the next 5 miles.
After you cross the finish line the good folks from the Nazarene Church are handing out cold water. And around the corner there’s a table with yellow bananas and white bagels? Look around, you’re standing in a historic park that goes back to the days of steam locomotives and hometown baseball. Pete Rose played here, 42 was filmed here, and my grandfather and I once climbed aboard that locomotive you see. But while you’re looking around, take note of that row of buses next to the levee by the river cause that’s your ride back to the Start Line!
Where to stay. According to Explore Georgia, you’ve got a choice of 2 exquisite Bread & Breakfast Inns and 36 crappy motels. The Burke Mansion is on Georgia Avenue and the 1842 Inn is on College Avenue both a short walk from where I grew up near Coleman Hill. Trip Advisor says there’s lots to do in this area from the Hay House, to the Cannonball House, to the Allman Brother’s Big House!
C (Complete) —Twisted Ankle Trail Race
C Completes our 2022 Georgia Run Calendar for folks who want to do something more, well interesting… like the Twisted Ankle Trail Race in Summerville
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. 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.
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.
We’ve already written about a number of really pretty trail runs, and the twisted Ankle Trail Race appears to be no exception. The 5k course runs along the Marble Mine trail, the lake trail, and the primitive campsite trail, while the 10 miler adds the Blueberry Trail, the upper lake, Jenkins’ Gap and Becky’s Bluff.
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.
And be sure to check out the useful sponsors for this race including a personal attorney who’ll represent you in court should some local NASCAR wannabe crash into your car, a body shop, auto parts store and a tire store to get you back on the road, and a certified CPA who’ll help you count all that money you got in that settlement!
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.
Where to stay? The Sloppy Floyd State Park has cottages and campsites, while Explore Georgia says there are Cabins and Cottages in Summerville plus the Coach Inn. I checked their website, and the Coach Inn looks a lot nicer that the place we stayed in Tybee Island with a bullet hole thru the bathroom window.
D (Difficult) — Augusta 70.3 Ironman
The organizers invite you to be part of one of North America’s largest Ironman 70.3 races and one of the Fastest!
Augusta has it all: River Start, Rolling Bike Course, Flat Run, and an expected 73 degree temperature. It wasn’t 73 degrees when I did it, but it was nice. You start out in the water at 6th street, and the river is cold enough most years to be wet suit legal. I‘ve done it both with and without a wet suit, and that little extra buoyancy from the rented wet suit is sweet.
The Augusta 70.3 Ironman is Fast because you jump in the river and fly downstream. No searching for a big orange float to swim around somewhere out there in the great beyond. Just hit the water and swim. One year it rained real hard a couple of days earlier, and Malisa rode the surging current downstream to a record swim time. Me, I cramped up and the lifeguard offered me a pink swim noddle.
Once you’re out of the water and free of the wet suit, you find your bike, dress out, rotate your race number to the rear, and go charging out into the countryside for a 56 mile bike ride. I’ve seen the guys training on those steep climbs up at Lake Placid. Augusta, GA is flat with some nice rolling hills thrown in to mix it up a little.
This is the most spectator friendly run this side of the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon.
At most races your friends and loved ones wait by the roadside to see you fly past. At this event they can look for a place under the big shade trees on the Augusta Commons and watch you run up, run down, lap around again and maybe even cross the street to see you hit the finish line.
Where to stay? Getting to the start line is a real challenge at this race, so if the check will clear the Augusta Marriott and Convention Center is right there next to the swim start. The family can follow the race as they walk down the upper side of the river walk watching as you go beating on the water all the way downstream to the Transition area. There were a couple of little seedy motels nearby, plus three others with names you’d recognize, and the Old Town Inn isn’t really that far away if you’re looking for something a little…different.
This is a major event and you need to register for this race almost a year in advance if you want to insure that you’ll get in.
How to Train: Swim bike run…Duh! Swimming in a pool ain’t the same thing as swimming in open water, but at least in the Augusta 70.3 Ironman it’s a straight line shot. Malisa would wear her swimsuit start to finish, but I prefer my AreoTech tri-shorts which have a little padding to make that bike ride more…enjoyable. You say you can swim bike and run, but you’d better find a place in the backyard to practice running barefoot across the grass over to the transition area and getting into your bike stuff, then riding around the cul-de-sac back to the backyard and changing into you running gear.
Gear Tip: Get the wife on board before you go out and buy that tri-bike. Like they say in the auto parts business, speed costs money, so how fast do you want to go!
Regarding shoes: You really need to have a pair that just make you feel good when you jump off the bike after a 56-mile ride. Me, I keep the older shoes for shorter runs and bad weather days, and I hold my newest, lightest shoes for long runs and race day. And practice: you need to leave those shoes in transition ready for you to jump in and go!
Runners’ Gear: Click on our Gear Page for the Big List of Made in USA products
“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
I’m a visor guy. I run with my sunglasses on top and grab ‘em when I need ‘em. These Halo Headbands are the real thing. The folks at Halo say they are “technology advanced sweatbands that redirect sweat away from your eyes.” Me, I’ve just ordered a new Halo Sport Visor, and I’m looking forward to testing out the new Grip Technology which I believe is the one improvement I’ve been wanting over my current 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.
I suggested to Beverly that she get a pair of their flip flops before our trip to the beach, and she’s still wearing them weeks later.
“They’re so comfortable” she says. Running Shoes no. Comfort shoes Yah. I’m wondering if these Okabaski flip flops might just be your next best friend after that long run…
We like to talk about a couple of items each month. Some are affiliate relationships. Most are Made in USA.
ULTRASPIRE WAIST LIGHT
Over the years I’ve entertained the thought of doing a nighttime race. The organizers of the Boggie Run up in Boone, North Carolina recommend you carry a flashlight and a stick. The flashlight so you can see the snakes on the road and the stick to knock ‘em off. And then there was the old Make it by Midnight Marathon down in Macon. If your goal was a 4-hour marathon, you started this loop course at 8PM and tried to beat it!
Signing up last minute to run the Alien Half up in Roswell. I persuaded Beverly that the $120 investment in an UltrAspire 400 Lumen Waist Light was a good investment compared to the cost of that last ride to Atlanta Medical Center. But there’s a reason we say “screw Amazon, go buy it in a store”… Except that’s exactly what we did cause we could get it by Thursday!
The light is good, but it doesn’t sync up with my UltrAspire Hydration Belt. For $120 I can now choose between running in the dark with a great little light or carrying something to drink! The folks at UltrAspire live out in Utah, and their idea of a good time is to go running up and down mountain trails in the dessert with a waist light and a hydration pack.
The photos of the Alien Half show runners at the start line wearing their head lamps. I’ll bet my little waist lamp will put ‘em to shame. The waist lamp will throw a beam up the road, just a bit, or down at your feet in full, mid, and low levels of intensity. And you’ve got choices between the $60 try me, the one I bought with the big wallet size pack in back, or the big bad 600 and 800 lumen lights for your next 100 miler thru the wilderness. Plus there’s a blinking light feature you can use to help the folks in the rescue Helicopter find you.
In July we put together a Big List of Made in USA running products on our Gear Page, and we’re keeping it up so you can see what we’ve found thus far.
The Plan is to expand this list in October to include cold weather gear and other products for you to put on your Christmas List. Got a favorite Made in USA products that you don’t see on this list, shoot us an email or a link and we’ll look into it. Our address is firstname.lastname@example.org