November 23, 2001
Sponsored by the Atlanta Track Club, this running event is always well coordinated. For the last three years, a wonderful expo has been held in the Sheraton/Colony Square across from the 14th Street Playhouse in Midtown the day before the race (14th & Peachtree). Packets are picked up at the expo, and it is always fun to wander around the vendors' booths, sometimes bumping into local running celebrity Jeff Galloway.
The morning of the race comes early. The half marathon and marathon both start promptly. MARTA trains that are supposed to get you where you are going are not always as accommodating. Plan to park at a MARTA station (Brookhaven is the easiest for the half marathon) and take the train to the race start. Allow a little extra time for MARTA in case it is behind schedule! We didn't do this the morning of the 2001 race, and we got to the start line 20 minutes after everyone else had started running! Fortunately, we had champion chips tied to our shoestrings to keep track of our true times, but the whole experience sprinting to catch up with the walkers was quite amusing! The course itself covers the same route as the famous Peachtree 10K but goes as far as Turner Field. There are hills--the worst being at the end of the race right before the finish line--but plenty of aid stations. There is a good crowd for the 1/2 marathon, but I have to tell you, if you're going the distance of 26.2 you're gonna be running a lot of the course alone. The full marathon starts at the 1/2 marathon's end at 7:30 a.m. and is a loop course. Most of the crowd disperses due to the holiday before this race is over, thus there is almost NO crowd support for the marathon runners. (A VERY hard thing for a first timer.) The marathon does not attract nearly as many participants because of this runner isolation. I personally have no desire to ever do the full race because of this, though I have run other marathons. However, I would highly suggest the half marathon to any distance runner in the Atlanta area for Thanksgiving!
From journal Atlanta with the Family