If you're planning a spring marathon, Atlanta's got you covered. The Publix Georgia Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K gives runners the chance to experience the city's major landmarks and popular neighborhoods--on foot. The Atlanta Track Club hosts the event and ensures all 10,000 participants have a race weekend that will bring them back to many of the city's other popular races.
Of course, when you think of Atlanta running, you might think of the AJC Peachtree Road Race. It is, after all, the largest road race in the United States and has been going every July 4 since 1970. There's also the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K, and the PNC Atlanta 10 Miler & 5K--all of which attract thousands of runners from across the southeast. With more than 30 events and programs, there is something for runners of all ages and abilities on the calendar.
Outside of races, Atlanta is a city full of runners and walkers. There are beautiful parks filled with personality and ongoing greenspace projects that keep adding miles of uninterrupted trails." And if admiring beautiful houses is your thing, you can find a hilly route through one of Atlanta's many iconic, tree-lined neighborhoods.
Whether you're new to town, just visiting or have lived in Atlanta your whole life, discovering the city through its running scene is a must-do for anyone who loves the open road. Here are some tips to help you find the right way to run through the city.
Where to Run: Piedmont Park1 of 10
Piedmont Park lies in the heart of Midtown, and is a treat for every local and visitor. The park, often called the "Central Park of the South," is made up of 200 acres of green spaces, hills, lakes, ponds, gardens and recreational courts. As you run, you'll soak up a clear view of the Atlanta skyline and Lake Clara Meer while you do laps on the 1.1-mile road of the inner park. The Active Oval also provides a half-mile loop that's ideal for any interval and speed work. If you need a cooldown, try Yoga on the Promenade, hosted on the fourth Monday of every month. The Green Market also provides fresh produce and coffee if you need a post-run reward.
Where to Run: BeltLine Eastside Trail2 of 10
The Eastside Trail gives runners a sneak peek into Atlanta's quirky and fun side. The route is part of the Atlanta BeltLine, an ongoing project of transforming old railroad corridors into parks, trails and tracks that will connect 45 in-town neighborhoods into a 22-mile loop. On this specific trail, you'll pass by neighborhoods, go under tunnels and run by Ponce City Market -- Atlanta's chic, new food hall and shopping center that opened in 2014. A round-trip takes you about four miles, and the flat terrain is great for speed work. If you want a little more distance, you can sneak into the BeltLine's interim hiking trails.
Who to Run With3 of 10
Atlanta's running community is held together by The Club, the city's non-profit running organization. With more than 27,000 members, The Club is second only to the New York Road Runners in member size in the U.S. Members include runners of all levels, including many who are looking to guarantee their entry into the AJC Peachtree Road Race. But with races going on year-round, you can come to Atlanta at any time to jump in and toe the starting line.
On any day of the week, you'll find runners and walkers exploring the city through various free group runs. Local specialty running stores like Big Peach Running Co., West Stride, and Phidippides each have a scheduled run throughout the week.
If you're a local looking to up your training, The Club offers half and full marathon training starting in November to help prepare you for the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon.
Where to Eat: Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q4 of 10
Don't worry, you will be well rewarded for your runs in the ATL. New restaurants and breweries are constantly popping up in the city, but here are just a few that will get your taste buds tingling while sweating through your last few miles.
On the east side of town near Little Five Points lies some of Atlanta's best BBQ. An oldie but a goodie, Fox Bros. is sure to satisfy your post-run hunger with its sandwiches, salads, burgers and famous brisket. And you don't want to miss out on the hotspot's signature "Foxaroni"--macaroni and cheese covered in Brunswick stew. Don't mind us while we salivate just thinking about it.
Where to Eat: Upbeet5 of 10
This new, fresh eatery near Atlantic Station might be your perfect pre-race fuel. Upbeet's specialties are smoothie and grain bowls where you can pack some serious protein, greens and flavor into just a small concoction.
Where to Eat: Holeman and Finch6 of 10
If you and your running group want a fancier night out on the town to celebrate a run well done, check out Holeman and Finch Public House, just north of Midtown. Enjoy a luscious meal or just kick back and have a drink with friends. If you're not into fancy but still looking for good food, Holeman and Finch's more casual H&F Burger has a number of locations across the city, including at Ponce City Market and the Braves' own SunTrust Park.
Where to Drink: Sweetwater Brewing Company7 of 10
Where to Drink: Scofflaw Brewery Co.8 of 10
Where to Stay9 of 10
The Georgian Terrace, built in 1911, sits in the heart of Midtown and classic Southern charm. Piedmont Park is just a few blocks away, so runners can pop out of bed and go train in the mornings. Rooms start at $189 a night. Additionally, chain hotels abound if you're looking to use those points. Check out the Atlanta Marriott Marquis downtown.
If you're in need of a place close to the start line of the Publix Georgia Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K, try the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Downtown or the OMNI Hotel at the CNN Center. No matter if you're visiting for a run-cation, a goal race or just in town and need to log a few miles, Atlanta makes it easy and memorable.