Trees are blooming and daffodils are sprouting … sure signs that spring is just around the corner. Ready to hit the pavement with fellow runners? Here’s a roundup of races to check out.
ShamRock ‘N Roll Road Race – March 13
Get into the spirit of St. Patty’s day with the Junior League’s annual race. Got a kilt? Wear it during the race for a chance to win a $250 Belk gift certificate. The event features both a 5K run and 10K that’s a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race. Strollers and dogs are welcomed. As an added bonus, runners are eligible for a variety of discounts at Atlantic Station shops and cafes by showing their race bib.
Publix Georgia Marathon & Half-Marathon – March 20
It’s the big race of the spring running season. And there’s still time to sign-up – online registration closes March 16. This is one of my favorite races – terrific routes through Atlanta neighborhoods and convenient access to MARTA. With Publix as this year’s sponsor, there’s sure to be a great selection of post-race food. Not up for running the 13.1 or 26.2-mile distance? Grab a cup of coffee and join one of the neighborhood cheering stations.
Tour deCatur 5K & 1-Mile Run– March 26
This is truly an event designed for families. Last year’s race hosted more than 1,200 runners, with several hundred school-age kids among the participants. In fact, Decatur elementary schools host track clubs to help kids train for the 1-mile fun run. Proceeds benefit the Decatur Education Foundation, which supports educational programs and offers assistance to students in need.
Emory PA 5K Charitable Fun Run – April 2
For intown runners, this Druid Hills race is a convenient option. Physician Assistants’ students at Emory University host the annual race to help fund healthcare programs that serve the needy in Georgia. Proceeds from the event benefit Camp Sunshine, the South Georgia Farmworker Health Project, and the American Academy of Physician Assistants. As an added bonus, the first 250 race registrants get free breakfast and coffee from the Waffle House.
Run Before You Crawl 5K – April 9
Yes, you guessed it – this event mixes a road race with a pub crawl in East Atlanta Village. Fortunately, the race takes place before the drinking kicks off. With a 9 a.m. race and 10:30 a.m. start for the pub crawl, it does seem a bit early for the alcohol-infused festivities. But, as the event organizers claim on the site “…it will be 11:30 in Nova Scotia, and that’s nearly noon.” Register by March 13 and the combo race/pub crawl fee is $27; it increases to $32 afterwards. If you plan on drinking, consider a designated drive since the MARTA rail line is not conveniently located near East Atlanta Village.
Sweetwater 420 Fest 5K – April 16
What’s not to love about this race … an 11 a.m. start time, beautiful intown neighborhood, convenient MARTA station and free beer. The Sweetwater 420 Fest is a great local gathering with festival food and bands. You can spend the day (or the weekend) hanging out. The race bib tear-offs are redeemable for a free beer plus festival wristband. Proceeds benefit the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization.
Big Peach 5K Walk/Run – April 30
The folks at Big Peach offer a fun racing experience through the streets of Buckhead and Brookhaven. The race kicks off at the Brookhaven MARTA station and ends at Big Peach’s store location. Post-race, runners are treated to food, prizes and music in the parking lot of the Cherokee Plaza Shopping Center.
Girls on the Run 5K – April 30
I’m a big fan of this organization, which operates running programs for girls aged 8 to 13 to foster a healthy lifestyle and self-confidence. During the spring 5K race, GOTR participants “graduate” by running the race with their team mates, coaches and family. West Stride in Buckhead plays host to this year’s event. Proceeds from the race benefit the scholarship fund for Girls on the Run of Atlanta.
Lauren’s Run 5K & 2K Fun Run - May 1
Lauren Zagoria and Lauren Kochman were two little girls who shared a legacy – both succumbed to childhood cancer. In honor of their memory, runners will gather at the Concourse Office Park in Sandy Springs in support of pediatric cancer research. For an additional donation of $25, runners can pay tribute to a friend or loved one affected by cancer. Tribute signs will be placed along the 2K race course. Registration is available at the event site.