Sunday, March 20, 2011

Publix Georgia Half-Marathon Recap: Holy *#? Hills!

This is my fourth time running the Georgia Half-Marathon. Overall, it’s a great event and one of my favorite races to run. But for some reason, the hills felt more unforgiving this year. Yes, I’ve resorted to using comic-strip profanity to express my dismay (this is a G-rated blog).

If you run in Atlanta, it’s hard to avoid hills. But the last three miles of the course seemed particularly ruthless. My struggle with the hills resulted in a slightly longer finish time this year – 2:10 vs. 2:04 during my 2010 race. Despite a lackluster training schedule, my husband had a finish time of 1:47 which is a 3-minute improvement from last year’s race.

On the plus side, the weather was fantastic for a long-distance run -- cool temperatures and overcast skies. The hydration stations were well staffed. I’m always impressed with the number of volunteers who support these events. It takes a lot for someone to show up for a volunteer gig at 5 or 6 a.m. on a Sunday. On behalf of the more than 18,000 runners who participated in this year’s race, we thank you.

While the volunteers were in full force, the spectators were fewer than in years past. Last year’s highlight was a gospel choir in the Old Fourth Ward – they were dearly missed this year. The post-race food line was well-organized and plentiful, which is not surprising with Publix as the sponsor. Centennial Park was festive and the live band near the bag-check tent was a lot of fun.

It was great to see that several of top finishers in the race came from Metro Atlanta. Jynocel Basweti from Marietta repeated as the top finisher for the marathon with a time of 2:29:44. For the half-marathon, Atlanta’s Leo Kormanik took top honors with a finish time of 1:06:53. Check out photos and race coverage at AJC and the Publix Georgia Marathon site.

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