Category Archives: Half Marathon

Race Report – Area 13.1 Half Marathon

Area 13.1 Half Marathon – Race Report

Area 13.1

Usually, this would be an easy report to write, as this is the third year for us running in this one. Well, 3rd for Scott. Dru skipped a year, and last year the even conflicted with our race in Savannah. Anyways, I digress. For us, this is an event that we look forward to on the calendar because it is very much a home town event, and the format is different and fun.

What makes this so different?

To start with, the race is an evening race that finishes in the dark, by design. In addition, the route itself lends itself to a kind of eerie, alien and rock n roll vibe. Finishing in the dark, on a course that can only be lit by tower lights and generators means alot of handheld or head lamps, which only adds to the fun vibe.

OGRES ready to run

The big downside to this event is that late August in Atlanta is almost a promise of heat and humidity. This year was no exception, with temps in the mid 80’s, but crazy humidity. To the point that I have done runs in the rain where I finished the run feeling cleaner and dryer than this one. Sticky? no, soaked. To the point that a pair of merino wool socks were completely soaked and the feet were full prune status by the end of the race.

This year Scott and I went out at the same time, instead of prior events where we would split into self selected pace groups. Both of us had time goals in mind and they were not too far apart. It made for a good time.


This year, the half course saw some changes from the course used in prior years. While in the past the course has been nearly pancake flat, this year a couple slight variations. First was a change to moved an early section of the first out and back loop from an old gravel residential road to a crushed gravel nature running trail by the river. It certainly made a scenic change, but at the same time it created a narrower course at a early point in the race. There were still alot of runners in close proximity this early, so some of the spots got tight and slowed the pace down. The second change added a good hill to the route. Essentially, 110 feet of climbing in about a mile, starting at mile 6.75. To put it mildly, it kinda hurt, but in a good way.

Elevation Profile

All in all, the changes slow the race down, but still make it a better overall event. In addition, the changes work hand in hand with the other new feature this year. In addition, they added a 5k that runs on the same first out and back loop that goes off about 15 minutes after the half starts. After running the race, I am pretty sure that the course changes in the first loop were to accomodate the 5k and I think the net result is great for the event on the whole. Though the participation numbers appeared to be higher for the half, the 5k should allow the even to grow into a premier Atlanta event over the coming years (assuming Roswell doesn’t do something silly with permits as they did in 2014).

In the end, this is an event that has had some trials getting to this point, but today, I think they have built a great foundation, and are set for it to become one of Atlanta must do events each year.

There is one other big thing to note. In past years, water stops and frequency have been a concern for this event. Judging by the setup this year, I think organizers heard the concerns and tackled them quite directly. With water more often than every 1.5 miles, there was more than adequate supply of hydration, and nutrition along the course..


On a would we do it again scale, the answer is, yes. As long as we don’t have an event that conflicts in the coming years, I expect to keep running this event. I really hope the stick with this new course layout as well, as it just flows really well.

Race Report – Rock & Roll Marathon Running Festival Savannah

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.