Experiencing the 13.1 Atlanta



I once again was able to enjoy the 13.1 Atlanta, however this year was a little different than the previous two years.  I was really looking forward to running this year and trying out the new course, but alas it was not meant to be.  It is crazy how fast you can lose fitness while injured and eating too much, I just wish I didn’t know so much about it.

Even though I was not able to run I still decided to make my way down to Town Brookhaven to cheer everyone on and to give you a little insight into race day, at least from my point of view.  I cannot even begin to image how early the race director and key volunteers had to get up to get everything ready for race day.  I woke at 4:00 and was on my way at 4:30.  By the time I was driving down Peachtree the cones were already completely set in place just waiting for the race to start.  I arrived at Town Brookhaven to find nearly everything ready, and yet it was only 5:15.

While walking around and checking out the start and finish it was quickly apparent that the start would go much smoother than it had in the previous two years.  The corrals were set up with the official start opening up wide.  In previous years the space narrowed after the start which caused slow downs and even walking after crossing the start.  This year as I watched, everyone that wanted to was running easily as they started their race.

With a field of 3,300 - or actually 3,299 since I wasn’t running :) Town Brookhaven didn’t seem too crowded and there were plenty of places for everyone to warm up.  I stood near the front and watched the cars pour in and was lucky enough to meet and talk to Barefoot Runner Michael Sandler from www.runbare.com who was making his way through Atlanta to promote his recent book release of Barefoot Running.

There were some very exciting results with two new course records, and only one runner beating the Karhu Bear in the “Beat the Karhu Bear Challenge”  All I have to say is that was one fast bear!
Emmanuel Ngatunyi, of Marietta, Ga., won first place in the male division with a time of 1:03:59. The 18-year-old established a new race record by blowing away the previous mark of 1:08:03.  Reuben Mwei, of Acworth, Ga., took second place with a time of 1:04:33, while Jynocel Basweti from Marietta earned third place with a time of 1:07:30. 
On the women’s side, Lilian Mariita, 23, of Marietta, shattered the women’s race standard with a time of 1:17:28 (previous record 1:21:39).  Placing second was Justyna Mudy from Rome, Ga., with a time of 1:17:46, and Meggan Franks of Starkville, Miss., took third with a time of 1:20:37. 
The Karhu 5K provided an extra incentive to all competitors as the Finnish shoe company encouraged all runners to try to "Beat the Karhu Bear."  The first 10 runners who "Beat the Karhu Bear” were to receive a coupon for a FREE pair of Karhu running shoes.  Only one runner was able to accomplish the challenge as 14-year-old Danny Shaughnessy of Douglasville, Ga., was just six second better than the bear – coming in with a time of 0:19:41.  The Bear costume was worn by Andrew Mearns of Atlanta as he placed second with a time of 0:19:47. 
The complete results can be found at www.131atlanta.com and the 13.1 Atlanta Marathon and Karhu 5K Results Press Release is also available in it’s entirety.

It once again was a successful race, and one I am sorry that I was not able to run.  I will now be turning my sights on other races, one of which will be the Publix Georgia Marathon in March, which is also a US Road Sports race, just taken to the next level.  Make sure you keep an eye on www.262quest.com, the RSS Feed, the 26.2 Quest Fanpage, and the @262quest Twitter account.  I don’t have a commitment yet, but I will see if I can work out a couple race entry giveaways for my loyal readers.

Did you run the 13.1 Atlanta?  If so, tell us about it and feel free to post a link to your race report in the comments.