To rain or not rain … that was the question frustrating me all week. The forecast was not looking good for runners racing in the ING Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon. Fortunately, weather reports are not a guarantee. While the skies looked gloomy, the mild temperature and light drizzle made for ideal running weather.
Over 18,000 runners hit the streets of downtown Atlanta early this morning. This is my 3rd year running the ING Georgia and I’m glad to see continued improvements in how the event is managed. The corrals were well organized and we moved quickly to the starting line. The crowds of spectators seemed lighter than in previous years but they were a welcomed sight. My favorite was the choir of gospel singers in the Old 4th Ward. I sure could have used those ladies singing a few hallelujahs for me around the 11-mile mark. This year my training was pretty lackluster but I surprised myself my keeping a steady, strong pace. Though my legs were aching by the 11th mile, I had enough energy and willpower to pick-up my pace during the final stretches of the race. My finish time for the half-marathon was 2:04:05 – nearly the same as last year (when my training was much stronger).
Make no mistake, this is a big event to organize and it requires lots of volunteers, police officers, equipment and food. I’m grateful for all the folks who chose to give up their Sunday morning so I could run this race. Everyone was pleasant and did their best to be helpful. The course is fantastic, taking you on a tour of some of Atlanta’s most picturesque and historic neighborhoods.
March is a tricky time of year to host a race in Atlanta. Temperatures can be sunny and 70°F or snowy and 30°F. The ING Georgia organizers lucked out this year. Hopefully their good luck will continue.
Want to repeat the fun? Sign-up for the 2011 race opens Tuesday, March 23rd with a 50% discount on the entry fee for the first 200 registrants and a 40% discount for the next 200. Any one who registers by March 30 will automatically receive a 30% discount on the entry fee.