One again up at a crazy early hour for the 55 mile drive to Athens. Found parking easily in the County Courthouse Parking Garage - free on Sunday mornings - that was good. Temperature was in the upper 40s as folks started gathering for the 7:30 AM start, about 15 minutes before sun up.
|Downtown Athens, GA just before AthHalf start|
We got started on time and that was good for me as the battery in my Garmin died and a 7:30 start vs. a 7:37 start was a lot easier. This of course meant I would have to estimate pace and such the old fashion way, doing the math in my head. All I can say about that is, the earlier miles, no problem. The later miles, it's like the brain was stealing energy from the body to do these calculations - and they body was not willing to give it up! (note to self - replace battery this week)
The cap was 3000 for the race and I think they reached it or at least came really close. As usual after the first mile or so, things were pretty much sorted out as people were in their pace by then. From downtown we headed into various off campus locations. A few miles in we were in an area with the sorority and fraternity houses. Check out the photos below, notice anything?
|sign says - Parents Weekend|
|furniture & beer bottles on the front lawn :)|
My daughter is a UGA alum and the course today brought back memories of her time here. Of course 100% of the time in those memories, I was driving these roads. But once again, from doing the races, you never really know a place until you walk (or run) it. You see so much that you never see from a car. It's fun.
Although there were some nice downhill stretches, I seem to recall going up hill more than down, especially towards the end. The last 4 miles were on the UGA campus and it was my favorite part of the course because there is so much to see. I think the university has 30,000+ students so the campus is huge.
The end of the course was the best. As advertised, we would finish by taking a lap around the hedges in Sanford Stadium where the Bulldogs play. As I entered the stadium, I noticed the letters "G.A.T.A." overhead:
I believe this is where the Georgia Bulldogs are prior to going out on to the football field for a game, the G.A.T.A is an acronym for "Get After Them Aggressively" or the more PG-13 version "Get After Their Asses".
It was fun going around the field. They even put us up on the Jumbotron:
|Me on the Jumbotron...|