ING Georgia Marathon

April 6th, 2008 by Greg Goodson Leave a reply »
  • SumoMe

ING Georgia Marathon… where do I begin?

Well, I’ll take it from the start I suppose – the way I figured it was that I have not run a road marathon in a very long time, I have never actually run (or driven for that matter) through Atlanta all that much since I moved here in 2002, and it was time for a long run, and paying the $100 entry fee forced me to get up early on Sunday morning 🙂 I signed up for the race 10 days before the actual event just before registration closed. I signed up for the race not to race it, but like Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in November, run it “for fun” as a long run. Unlike Chickamauga where I had a 3:20:00 goal, I set a 3:30:00 goal for the Georgia Marathon.

The ING Georgia Marathon started in downtown Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park at 7:00am. I was awakened to a 4:15am alarm. Though not racing the event, I was still very excited and jumped out of bed. I showered, threw on my clothes which consisted of a pair of injinji socks with my patented cut off oxysox combination, new raceready shorts (woohoo!), a hanes t-shirt, and of course my orange bandana, and stepped out the door with my roommate, Jon, who was also running the marathon. He was number 283 and I had 284 (we were both seeded from previous sub 3:10s at other various marathons, but the numbers side by side was just a coincidence).

We parked at my fraternity house, which was around mile 24 on Georgia Tech campus, and ran to the start. It was a cool drizzly morning with temperatures ranging in the 45-50 degrees range. Perhaps I would have been happy with gloves or maybe arm warmers (I am the biggest cold wimp!), but after an hour of trying to keep warm, the race started. I ran with Jon for the first 1000 yards or so, but with my 3:30 goal pace, I quickly backed off, as he went through the first mile around 6:10. I hit the first mile around 6:40 and eased into a much slower 8:00 pace.

It was difficult to keep that slow pace with folks passing me left and right, but I steered clear of the folks out there who were racing. Miles 2-10 were nice, running through parts of Atlanta I have never been through. It was a nice tour of the city. The looped course went through areas such as Little Five Points, Candler Park, headed east towards Agnes Scott in the first half of the race before turning back northwest towards North Decatur and Emory University. I hit the first half in 1:43 or so, on track for a 3:26 assuming even splits.

I felt great at this point, but admittedly a little tired. The course was quite hilly to be completely honest for a road marathon, and I suppose I underestimated the hills for the course. Running into miles 17 and 18 through Druid Hills, I felt like I was losing a good amount of energy. Granted I was out there not to race, I was definitely feeling it! I had not run on roads in a very long time prior to this race (I am for the most part a trail-runner) and my legs were begging me to find some dirt to run on. Not to mention, my stomach was growling, begging for food. I simply ate 3-4 gels in the last 10 miles of the race due to hunger. I probably should have eaten a little more before the race 🙁

The course turned through Virginia Highland, down past Inman Middle School, where I used to train quite a bit when I lived in midtown in 2007. Being familiar with the area, I enjoyed running on the roads for once instead of always on the sidewalk. We were led into Piedmont Park, down towards Juniper Street, and finally onto Georgia Tech campus. I stopped for a bit here to talk with several folks from my fraternity, saying that Jon had run through this part of the race about 35 minutes before me. He ended up finishing 18th overall and PRing on a very tough marathon course in a 2:52 and change… way to go!

I rolled past Tech campus and hit the tape around 3:33:30. I was a little off my time, but to be completely honest, happy it was over. I had felt like I underestimated the course and the Atlanta hills, as well as the 26.2 distance. I was cold, hungry, and in need of a warm shower. I walked back to my fraternity house, grabbed a hot shower, and immediately drove to Wendy’s where I downed a #5 biggie size value meal, a few 5 piece chicken nuggets, and another burger. Man did that taste good.

The race was fun and challenging but I am not sure if I would recommend running it to be completely honest. Maybe I am just a small town marathon kind of guy. I prefer the marathons with a more low key feel, smaller crowd event. Also, the half marathoners did get in the way quite a bit as the course was designed to have both races finish in the same spot. In other words, I was crossing the finish line with half marathoners running a 3:30 half marathon, which is great for them, but quite often they got in the way of some of the other marathoners running.

Back to the trails that I love so much. Maybe I’ll revisit the road marathon once again when I am better prepared 🙂




  1. Nice job…3:33 is still a pretty strong time.

    I hear you on the “low key” events. Oak Mountain was soooo nice!

  2. Nannie says:

    Nice Try Greg……I’m proud of you…..


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