Monday, May 25, 2009

Hit the Hills during Virginia-Highland’s Summerfest 5K

It’s been quite a few years since I last ran Summerfest. My lingering memory of this event is the hills -- lots of them. Virginia-Highland is one of Atlanta’s great intown neighborhoods and it hosts one of the best festivals in the area. The course rambles through the area’s quiet side streets and avoids most of the retail district along Virginia and North Highland Avenues. Proceeds from Summerfest events benefit neighborhood projects, including park improvements and public libraries. After the race, you can grab a cup of coffee and wander through the artists market that runs along Virginia Avenue.

The race is scheduled for Saturday, June 6 at 8:00 a.m. It starts at the intersection of Virginia and North Highland Avenues. Early registration closed rather early (on May 19). The race fee is $25, which includes a Summerfest t-shirt. Race packets can be picked up on the day of the event. You can sign-up at, by mail, or at Phidippides’ Ansley Mall location. A map of the race course is available at the USATF site.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Race Event That Could Save Your Life

A unique 5K event offers multiple health benefits for runners. The SCAN Foundation (Skin Cancer Awareness Network) hosts its third annual race next Saturday, May 23 at Perimeter Place. Starting at 7:00 a.m., dermatologists will offer complimentary skin spot checks. At last year’s event, doctors found one melanoma, and several basal cell carcinomas and other pre-cancerous lesions.

Why is it important for runners to pay attention to skin cancer? Here are a few facts to consider:

· Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.
· More cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year than breast, lung and prostate cancer combined
· Approximately 90% of all skin cancers result from over exposure to ultraviolet light or sunlight

Warm weather often means runners spend more time outside, which makes their skin vulnerable to over exposure. Runners can reduce their risk by using sweat-resistance sunscreens. While cancer is scary, the good news for skin cancer diagnosis is a 96% cure rate when it’s discovered early.

Registration for the race is available at SCAN’s site, at or at Big Peach Running Co. locations. You can also sign-up at the event. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. The running route is available at SCAN’s site

Sunday, May 10, 2009

REI: Membership Has its Rewards

I had the most amazing and unexpected customer service experience today at REI. Two years ago, I purchased the Garmin Forerunner 305 during REI’s May anniversary sale. I loved the device but after only a few months of use the screen started deteriorating. It worked fine but the data was hard to read, which is a problem when you’re tracking your pace during a run.

So today I headed back to REI to check out the latest edition to the Forerunner series – the 405. I brought my 305 with me because I wanted some assurance that I wouldn’t encounter another problem with a malfunctioning screen. Talking to the REI associate about my concerns, I learned that REI offers a lifetime guarantee on any product if it’s purchased under your membership number. No receipt needed. No questions asked. Needless to say, I was shocked and delighted. All I had to do was provide my member number and hand over my Forerunner 305 to get the new 405. I’ve always been a fan of REI because it offers great products and has a knowledgeable sales staff. Now, REI will always be my first choice when I’m looking for athletic gear and apparel.

Special thanks to Meredith and the friendly staff at the REI Atlanta store.

This week’s route is a 5.35 mile run through East Lake, Kirkwood and Oakhurst courtesy of the Oakhurst Running Club. The club meets on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in front of One Step at a Time. You’ll find a map for the route at the club’s web site.

· Start at One Step at a Time
· Head west down East Lake Dr
· Veer left on Wisteria Way NE
· Turn right onto Rockyford Rd
· Turn left on College Ave
· Turn left on Howard St
· Turn left on Hosea L Williams Dr
· The street turns into Oakview Rd
· Veer right onto Cottage Grove Ave
· Turn right on 3rd Ave and cross Memorial Dr
· Turn left on Alston Dr
· Turn left on Spence Ave
· Turn right on E. Pharr Rd
· Turn left on Garland Ave
· Turn right on S. McDonough
· Turn left on W. Hill StCross Oakview Rd and end at One Step at a Time

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mother Nature Provides Ideal Weather for Big Peach 5K

Spring rain storms are traveling through Atlanta, but skies were dry for this morning’s Big Peach 5K. Runners of all ages showed up to run the 3.1 mile course through Brookhaven. The course was a lot nicer than I had expected and the hills on E. Roxboro were a good challenge. I was hoping to run the race at an 8 minute-mile pace, but I ended up averaging an 8:20 pace. What really impressed me were the finish times for some of the oldest runners in the race, especially 72-year-old Danielle Emory whose time of 24:07 puts her at a 7:45 pace.

Post-race, food and drink offerings were quite generous. Lots of fruit, bagels, muffins, energy bars – even pizza. My favorite was the Jersey Mike’s turkey subs, which offered a perfect combo of protein and carbs.

Proceeds from the race benefited the Georgia Chapter of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society/Team In Training. Kudos to the team at Big Peach Running Co. for hosting a terrific event – I plan to participate again next year.

If you’re looking for a new running route this week, check out The site features more than 30 routes to run in Atlanta that are posted by local runners.