Marathon morning dawned cold (temps not far above freezing). Large half marathon field and much smaller marathon field. Course was through Chickamauga Battlefield. Marathon did two loops while half did one loop. Footing was a bit rough getting from start area to roads in park. There were three places where the loops for the marathon and the half were different. They were well marked but you need to be alert. Marathon sometimes aligns with prime foliage, but not this year. Spectators were few. Volunteers were many. Tech shirt was a bit bland. Medals and post race food were well done. Plenty of parking near start and finish. Needed to go to Chattanooga for hotels - about 10 to 20 miles away. Overall Chattanooga Track Club did nice job organizing this marathon.
I selected Chickamauga as my Georgia marathon based on stellar reviews. 2015 also had Ohio (my state) as the featured memorial on the medal, so it was too perfect to pass up. We flew to Atlanta and drove up to Ft Oglethorpe, but Chattanooga is also a travel option.We parked in a large field and were clearly directed by volunteers. (There was a moment of confusion on the main road, as other cars were traveling to a color guard event next door, but that parent knew where to send us for the race!) Day-of packet pick-up was easy and we sat in the car until close to the race start.The race began with re-enactors firing a cannon, which was a nice touch for the race theme, and also loud enough to wake us up! I began the race with the 4:45 pacer since I had had a rough training cycle, and they did a great job. (I ended up dropping off from them around mile 17, but that was no fault of the pacer.) Almost all of the course runs through Chickamauga Battlefield National Park, and it was incredibly scenic! Most of the leaves in Ohio had already fallen, but they were at peak color in Georgia. It was also a nice distraction to see the various historic signs and monuments along the course. This would be a great place for Civil War buffs to visit! There were a few sections of rolling hills, but I had trained specifically for them and wasn't bothered (until the end when I was hurting!).The marathon course consisted of two loops, which I actually enjoyed. It was nice to know what to expect the second time around. The course was very well-marked, and I never felt lost, even when I was alone at the end.The finish line was set-up in the field, right by parking, and there was a large tent with chairs to sit under, which was nice, as the sun was pretty hot. There was a nice selection of food and drink at the end, and it was so easy to go right back to the car.As long as you train for the hills, I couldn't recommend this race more!
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