I chose to participate in the Publix Georgia Half Marathon for one main reason.
It is close to my house.
My friend Amy and I were trying to decide between either this one or the Nashville half. We chose this one primarily because we could drive there and would not have to stay overnight or make a whole weekend out of it.
Registration for this race was super easy using Active.com. It walked you through the whole process and I even found a coupon code online to save a few dollars. Registration was a breeze.
In order to pick up your race number, you had to attend the Georgia Marathon Health & Fitness Expo which was held in Downtown Atlanta at the World Congress Center. This was a negative against the race. Not the actual expo, which was awesome, but that they MADE you go and pick it up. I do think there should be an option to pay a few extra dollars and have the number mailed to you.
We headed downtown to pick up the race number and attended the Runner’s Expo. This was great due to the amount of people there to show you their goods. There were lots of free samples and new products to check out. My favorite booths were the GU Energy Gels because they were selling them at a discount, the Larabar company because they gave out mini samples to try, and the Chobani company because I got to try the new Apple Cinnamon flavor.
Now that the numbers are picked up, it is time for the race itself.
We arrived downtown bright and early around 6:15 for a 7:00 am race start. Parking was a breeze and since we had been there the day before, we knew just where to go. We once again parked in the Red Deck of the World Congress Center. The good thing about parking here is the World Congress Center is open so runners can go inside and use the nice clean bathrooms vs the porta potties!
After using the restroom, we headed over to our Corral. The atmosphere was awesome. They had music playing loudly, lots of porta potties close to the start of the race, photographers there to take photos and it was all very organized.
We got in our corral and waited for the official start of the race. They let the wheel chair racers go first and then the corrals went. It only took us about 9 minutes of waiting until we were ready to go!
The course itself was VERY hilly! The first few miles you don’t really notice the hills because of all the people but after it thins out, the hills really start to show themselves! The views of downtown Atlanta were stunning. It was nice to run through the city and see the sites. Overall, the race course was very tough. Looking back on it, I should have done more hills in my training.
The water stations were awesome. They started at mile 2 and then there was a water station right before EVERY mile marker after that. The water stations were good anchors letting us know we had almost made it another mile. They had both Gatorade and water so there was a choice which was nice.
The cheering crowds were not phenomenal. I know that the race offered incentives for cheering sections and those were good but we could have used more supporters throughout the race. Even at the end, people weren’t really cheering that much. However, I am used to the cheering for the Peachtree Road Race which is amazing.
The ending of the race was very well thought out and planned. They knew what they were doing and moved you right along after finishing. You got the medal, and a chocolate milk and headed toward the picture station. They had professional pictures taken in front of the half-marathon sign and then you head over to Centennial Olympic Park where they gave out pre-rationed snacks from Publix and where runners and families can relax and chill.
The t-shirts were great, technical shirts. Another great thing about the shirts are if you got it home on Saturday and tried it on and found you needed an alternate size, you could bring it to the park on race day and they had a whole tent where you could exchange it for a new size.
Overall, the Publix Georgia Half Marathon was a huge success. The race was very well organized, thought out, and planned. The race itself is on the hilly side but it is a good challenge with beautiful views of downtown Atlanta. If you live in the Atlanta area or close by, I would recommend this race!