Guest Blogger: Heather Thompson
The Publix Georgia Marathon is upon us, and more than 18,000 participants are gearing up for the race that begins and ends at Centennial Olympic Park and takes place Sunday, March 18, 2012, at 7 a.m.
The weekend, however, will be packed with exciting events for the whole family. Festivities begin with the Publix Georgia Marathon Health & Fitness Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center on Friday, March 16, and Saturday March 17, which provides opportunities to buy gear, attend seminars and meet other runners. Saturday the Cuties Luckie 5K, which beings at 8 a.m., and Kids Fun Run, which begins at 9 a.m., will run through the downtown Luckie Marietta District.
As a part of the Cuties Luckie 5K, Karhu, the official shoe sponsor of the Publix Georgia Marathon, will challenge runners of all ages to beat its bear mascot. The challenge tests speed rather than endurance; and the first 10 runners who “Beat the Bear” and cross the 5K finish line before him, will win a coupon for a FREE pair of Karhu running shoes. All runners who finish ahead of the bear, after the first 10, receive a free Karhu T-shirt.
The marathon and half marathon on Sunday will have 19 hydration stations providing water, Gatorade and encouragement from volunteers. Runners will also have the pleasure of traveling through fascinating and historic areas of Atlanta such as Sweet Auburn District, Midtown, and Inman Park. Along the route are popular landmarks like the King Historic Site, Carter Center and Piedmont Park.
There will also be cheering stations along the way to keep morale high among the runners as they push toward the 26.2 mile finish line. For many it is not being first but just finishing the race that is the greatest accomplishment. Afterward, the entertainment will be on the main stage at the finish line festival with local 70s cover band Yacht Rock Revue.
Online registration for the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon closes March 14, but participants can register at the Publix Georgia Marathon Health & Fitness Expo Friday and Saturday before the race. Participants can sign-up online at www.georgiamarathon.com.