- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon
- Road Race
On September 10, I had the opportunity to run the inaugural Atlanta Craft Classic Half Marathon. I was super pumped to meet up with Jessica and Chadd (two awesome BibRave Pros) and run this new race in Atlanta.
The Thursday before, I headed over to Road Runner Sports in Buckhead to pick up my race number, shirt and other goodies. I was pleasantly surprised at the extra stuff you get for the race. All runners received a commemorative tee (or tank), finisher’s medal, race pint glass, sunglasses, free race photos and post-run beer! Now I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I’ll take free sunglasses and race photos anytime! The race number/shirt pickup was very easy with plenty of free parking, which is always nice in Atlanta.
The race start/finish was down in Grant Park, which is just a few miles south of downtown Atlanta. The race start was at 7:30am, but the race instructions mentioned parking might be a little tight in the park. I had asked one of the guys at Road Runner Sports and he said to expect about 1500 total people between the half marathon and 5K. So I decided to get down there between 6:15-6:30 to be sure I had plenty of time to park. Parking was no issue since I got there as early as I did. I ended up sitting in my car for a good 30 minutes before making my way over to the race start to meet up with Jessica and Chadd.
After meeting up with Chad and Jessica and grabbing a group pic, we made our way to the starting line. We ended up splitting away from each other as we all had different race paces and goals for the race.
The race got started a few minutes late, but what can you do. Once we got going, I knew it was going to be a tough race. Between the temperature rising and the hills that continued to come throughout the race I knew this wasn't going to be a PR for me. Fortunately, the course took you through some pretty cool parts of Atlanta, from Turner Field and Inman Park to Virginia Highlands and Ponce City Market. This helped a little bit, as there was a lot to see as we were trekking along. We ended up on the Atlanta Beltline for about 2 miles towards the end, which I wasn’t a huge fan of. The Beltline was open to the community (as it should be), so there were quite a few other runners, bikers and walkers out. This made it quite a bit more congested than it should have been towards the end of the race.
As I made my way out of the Beltline and back toward Grant Park, my energy level was very low. I was taking fuel and hydrating correctly, but the humidity and hills had taken their toll. I crossed the finish line almost completely drained. I grabbed my medal, water, banana and got a few pictures before making my way back to the car and back home. I ended up not using my ticket for the free beer as I'm not much of a beer drinker and the lines were just way too long by that point.
All in all (taking out the second half of my actual race), I was pleased with the overall race itself. The course, while very hilly, had a lot to see. There were plenty of police to help guide the runners and stop traffic. The crowd support wasn’t very strong until we got back to Grant Park and the finish line, but honestly the race itself wasn’t very large and it’s the first year, so I wasn’t surprised.
I would definitely recommend this race to someone who wants to run a half marathon in Atlanta, with the understanding that it’s a pretty hilly race and in early September so it’s going to be hot.