It was a humid morning in Canton, Ga. I was still struggling with foot pain from an injury the week before, and made the last minute decision to drop to the 10k. This turned out to be a great decision. I had discussed this with the race director at packet pick-up the previous evening, and was told I could wait and see how I felt.
The trail was steep and knotted with stumps. I was glad I was not in a hurry. As tough as it was, it was truly beautiful – and for once I did not mind that fact I knew I would be walking a lot of this one!
There were some nice flat sections, but they were few and far between. Soon signs ahead pointed to what makes the Tortoise and the Hare half so unique: runners start from slowest to fastest, with the plan that everyone will arrive at the after party around the same time.
Inside this tree house, they playfully reminded us of the concept!
At mile three the rough terrain gave way for a mile or so of nice pine covered path. This was a nice break, and jogging was easier in this stretch.
This was followed by an even nicer stretch of soft clay path.
At a well marked turnaround, 10-K runners headed back. Half marathon runners kept going, and I was told that the additional 3+ miles out and back that they ran was the least scenic of the entire run.
The shirt and the medal were a cute design, with a spinning tortoise and hare. The medal was the same for the half marathon and 10k.
There were also special awards for the person that came in first and last for both distances.
There was A LOT of food at the finish, and the finish line was kept open for every runner. It had ended up being an exceptionally hot day, and the support for the last runner coming in was just as strong as for the first.
It was a good time. There are two groups of people I would strongly recommend this race to.
The first would be runners/walkers who care more about the scenery than their time. This course is not likely to be a PR for anyone.
The second would be anyone training for a competitive trail race such as the north face endurance challenge. This race would be a great place to test your trail skills.
Overall it was a wonderful experience. The volunteers and directors of this event are kind, wonderful people who care about the experience every runner has, and it shows in all aspects of their event!