This is an easy report to write, as this is the third year for us running in this one. In many ways, this is the event that ultimately led to the creation of We Are O.G.R.E. Simply put, that first year was the first marathon distance race for me (Dru) and the 5th for Scott. It was the realized goal that put our feet upon the path we find ourselves. Needless to say, we really like this event.
This year, the event was scheduled for November 8, 2014 for the marathon and half marathon, but this year they added a second day on November 9 for a 5k, 1 mile and a kids run. Yes, there was extra bling involved, so we just had to stay the extra day and run some more. Keep in mind that running is in fact a disease, once you start and get through the ‘I hate running’ phase, it is quite difficult to not sign up for these things.
Before I get to the nitty gritty details, this year, we ran the half marathon event. Scott ran it for himself, while I ran it in a support/coach role for my wife who was running her first half. She did awesome in case you were wondering. I also ran the 5k (for time) and the 1 miler (for grins) on Sunday.
Course Half 5k 1 miler
The Half course did not appear to deviate much from the last couple of years. It remains a fast, flat course through some truly gorgeous areas of downtown Savannah. The only complaints that I hear about the course are the occasionally rough patches of road where there are some old cobblestone around the squares. Personally, I think they add flavor and character to the course.
What I always come back to at this event is three core things that make it great. First, the Rock n Roll organization puts together a well oiled machine. These races are consistently well run, despite crowds well over 10,000 runners. Second, the city is just fantastic in it’s support of the races, with many local businesses reaching out to the runners to embrace the race as a great event for the city. Third, the people.
Seriously, I cannot say enough about how awesome the local residents are coming out to support this race. With ‘unofficial’ water stops and families out on the lawns cheering, supporting and spectating. In so many ways, they are what make this race so special.
As always, this course starts on Bay St right by the river, winds it’s way out the northwest side of town, circles back and runs through downtown, under the live oak tree lined streets. The canopy of trees and spanish moss are spectacular. By about mile 8, many of the runners are starting to suffer, and the scenery becomes less spectacular, so the course routes out into a couple of great residential areas, where it ceases to be about the scenery and becomes about the people. In this late section of the course, up until about mile 12, it is like having a constant cheering section. IF this cannot motivate you, nothing can.
That leaves just the last little bit. Mile 13. Oh mile 13. This is, for all intents and purposes the hardest part of the route as it rises ever so slightly from the highway up to Forsyth Park. It is straight, and a bit of a late slog. The people are still out there, but the brain and body start to tell you bad things. It is only about a 40 foot climb in total, but it is a misleading and slow climb. Once you hit the top of the hill, you turn right and dash into the park for the big finish. The finish is great, and no matter how many races you have finished, it never gets old.
5k & 1 miler
This was a completely new event this year, and really needed to be better promoted. What a great little event and course. First, this is a screaming fast course. I ran a 23:29, off the half, with a pretty nasty case of plantar fasciitis putting the hurt on the last mile and a half. Yeah, there were some sub 18 minute finishers, it was that fast. But even more than the fast course, it was a tight little loop around Daffin Park with the finish line inside the Sand Gnats minor league baseball stadium. It was a fun little course. An hour later they did the 1 miler, also in Daffin Park. We went ahead and did that event too. We put in a hard effort to challenge for last place, and I am pretty sure we managed it. Yes, my foot was hurting pretty bad about that time.
On a would we do it again scale, the answer is, already signed up for 2015. Should be a big group too, with at least 8 of us already signed up and another 6-8 talking about it. We are looking forward to it.