Posted by: Joe English | March 28, 2008

Races: ING Georgia Marathon goes on after storm damage; tries to put 2007 behind it

ATLANTA– One year ago, the inaugural ING Georgia Marathon kicked off as one of the largest debut marathons in the United States. However, the great promise for this race was spoiled by aid stations left dry and cupless and a heat wave the left runners wilting.

Running forums on the Internet buzzed with the anger of runners that wondered how a race could be staged without adequate supplies of cups, energy drink and water. As one runner wrote, “Missing aid that is listed on the website, printed in the race literature, and posted on signs lining the course is not optional or aspirational. Being a resourceful runner in one thing, but something close to proper aid at an event of this magnitude isn’t too much to ask.”

Race organizers promised to make things better this year.

After last year’s race, Race Director Victoria Seahorn wrote, in an open letter to runners, “We have taken this past week to review all of the difficulties that we encountered in the various areas and I can assure you that each challenge that occurred will be resolved. We will not have the logistical and fluid problems next year. We have learned from our mistakes the hard way.” In an article this week, she seemed to have a far rosier recollection of the event in 2007 telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “The sky’s the limit. That’s what I teach my daughter. Last year proved that dreams do come true.”

In year two, the race is getting off to a rough start once again, but hopefully this year’s trials will be over before the race gets underway. After tornadoes swept through downtown Atlanta earlier this week, race officials have announced that the race will go on, with a few minor modifications due to storm damage. The race expo and starting line will be moved, and the course will be re-certified for Boston Qualification this week.

The start has been moved 300 feet from Marietta Street in front of the CNN Center to Centennial Olympic Park Drive at the intersection with Walton Street. The move was prompted by the road closing of Marietta Street in front of CNN Center while repairs are made to the building. Race officials will have the race course re-certified by USA Track & Field (USATF) within the next 72 hours.

The race expo will move to the Georgia Dome from the Georgia World Congress Center as well.

“Despite last weekend’s extreme weather events, and the terrible damage caused in the downtown area, we’re pleased that the show will go on,” said Race Director Seahorn.

Last year, the new Georgia Marathon became the second-largest inaugural marathon/half-marathon ever held with 13,479 finishers. This year’s 15,000 spots are close to a sell-out. The largest, by a large margin, was 2004’s PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona marathon/half-marathon, which drew 23,456 runners in its first year.

And while organizers hope the race will someday rival major international marathons, the race will need to be executed well first. It also needs to draw runners from a wider circle, with 80% of this year’s runners coming from Georgia.

We hope that these new challenges are the only ones that come up this year and that marathon goes smoothly on race day. Check back here Monday for race coverage and results.

The marathon’s web-site is located at

Joe English for Running Advice and News



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