It’s been two weeks since I ran the Hotlanta Half Marathon, and I guess I’m sufficiently recovered to write about it. What possessed me to sign up for a half marathon in Atlanta in JUNE… I’ll never know. But it was sort of worth it. Sort of.
The fact is, the race was June 10th. So, “HOTlanta” is an accurately descriptive title. It was 70/71° at the 7:00 am start, and by the time I dragged myself across the finish line 3 hours later, it was 80°. And it’s Atlanta, so of course it was humid as all get out.
Also, did you know Atlanta is real hilly? I didn’t. But it is. So between the heat, humidity, and hills, it’s beyond me why this race even exists…
That being said, since I knew it was going to be terrible, it wasn’t that bad. It was bad, mind you. But I’d say I was only “please let this be over soon” miserable rather than “dear God, kill me now” miserable. The excellent course support helped with that — they did have water stops every mile. And there was a cheer squad at mile 11 that absolutely gave me life.
Overall Assessment: Wouldn’t Really Recommend
- Eternal rights to complain/brag: running this race is insane, so you will forever get to proudly complain about having finished it.
- Great course support: water stops every mile, two cold towel stops, Huma gels at miles 5 & 9.
- Decent swag: giant medal, super-soft T shirt.
- Fast start: since it’s a pretty small race (around 1,000 runners), you don’t have to wait for a million corrals to get going
- Good energy: everyone fully embraces the craziness that is this race, so you have lots of fun people to be miserable with.
- Theoretically supportive of slower runners: they had a 3 hour pace group, that I hung out with for much of the race.
- Atlanta’s a cool city: lots of good food, lots of fun stuff to do, well worth making a race-cation destination.
- Hot as all get out: Hotlanta. ‘Nuff said.
- Hilly as all get out: there was a pretty significant discrepancy between what Garmin and Strava had to say about the elevation gain. Garmin says 551 feet of gain. Strava says 852. I 100% agree with Strava on this one.
- Not great post-race support: I finished around 3:05 and all that was left was dry bagels and a little bit of peanut butter. Nothing else. The icys were gone. The bananas were gone. It was a sad sight. It was also a little confusing to find the food.
I don’t regret running this race. On the spectrum of terrible races I’ve run, it’s toward the top of the heap — not at all the worst because I knew what to expect. But it was still pretty rough.
The upshot was a really fun weekend in Atlanta and the opportunity to complain about how hard the race was. We got to see adorable animals at the Atlanta Zoo, and the Botanical Garden had a pretty spectacular exhibit of magical creatures. So there were perks. Just not enough of them to have me really wanting to run another race in Atlanta any time soon.
At least the bling is highly satisfactory.