Savannah – an authentic 13.1miles
When running 13 miles, homemade signs from race supporters keep me going. Some are inspirational, some funny and all are appreciated because in the mental game of running, food for thought is the best energy a runner can have. Best sign seen at the Rock and Roll Savannah Marathon and 1/2 Marathon? “I don’t do marathons, I do a marathon runner.” True, I don’t do marathons and neither does my husband but we do know how to train and run 13.1 like nobody’s business with 15 half marathons between us. We’ve also decided that for running 13 miles there’s no better place than Savannah. For the second year in a row, Savannah has been our destination race and it’s a winner.
The Winged Lion in front of the Old Savannah Cotton Exchange
Another sign seen… “Pain is temporary but internet results are forever.” For a runner, that’s motivation! It’s the same game when finding lodging in Savannah. With so many local gems, why pay for something painful? You could stay at the Hilton for over $300 a night but for just a little more you’re sure to find something authentic and if Savannah is anything it’s authentic. With over 22 park-like squares, Savannah boasts one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States. So don’t settle for something average in lodging, make sure to search for something unique.
Kehoe House is one of Savannah’s best Bed and Breakfasts, earning AAA four star diamond status. Finished in 1892 for local foundry owner William Kehoe, the home is adorned with cast iron railings and columns. It is also considered haunted. William Kehoe’s wife gave birth to twins there who later died playing in one of the many fireplaces. Do not fear, Tom Hanks was able to overcome the threat of paranormal activity to occupy the entire top floor during the filming of Forrest Gump. Kehoe House is great for racers too. It is just a short walk to the corral area near Emmet Park. On race morning Kehoe House provides race friendly food including coffee and an afternoon happy hour complete with wine and hors d’eouvres gives racers something to look forward to.
Savannah Dream Vacations York Street Property
If you’re traveling with a group, vacation rental by owner may be the best bang for your buck and the local company Savannah Dream Vacations has great choices. The recently renovated York Street property was perfect for our group of 6 runners and, like Kehoe House, was centrally located. The condo gave us the feel of living in Savannah, something I strive for when traveling. The most important thing? Book early! Two of the busiest weekends in the city are St. Patrick’s Day and the marathon weekend. Your reservation will give you incentive to commit to running and race registrations are typically cheaper the earlier you register.
Savannah Slow Ride Day and Night!
It’s been said that in Statesboro, GA the first thing people will ask you is what church you attend. In Atlanta, it’s “What does your daddy do?” In Savannah? “What are you drinking?” One of the best signs seen along the course? Run faster, you’ll be drunk sooner and there’s no denying it’s an easy task in Savannah. Local open container laws are slack and if your adult beverage is in a handy dandy Red Solo Cup, you’re good. The best way to take your beverage to go? Savannah Slow Ride or as I call it, bar on a bike. This man powered bar on wheels provides the sober driver and you provide the power to pedal your way from bar to bar. During the day your driver provides information on the many historic squares and at night your trolley becomes a rolling club, music and all. Favorite Stop? Abe’s on Lincoln. Check out their Drink and Draw night, a cool spin on sip and paint. The best piece drawn may even find it’s way on to the bar’s next t-shirt. After all, Savannah is home to a world famous college of art and design (SCAD). If music is your thing, Abe’s has an open mic night where you might find a local saxophonist playing next to the house DJ. That’s my kind of place!
Local Eleven 10 and The Old Pink House
Another great sign? “I’ve Carb loaded for you for four months.” In Savannah, this is way too easy for runners and non-runners alike. Our first stop was a romantic spot with a roof top bar called Local Eleven 10. After water and drinks were offered, the waiter informed us of the tasting menu available that evening. It was presented as chef’s choice and the menu would be a surprise. Embracing our wild side we agreed and the courses ensued. Diver scallops with octopus, trigger fish, pig parts three ways with a side of truffled grains, duck, rabbit, and dessert all paired with wine was an excellent if overindulgent way to start the weekend. Henry’s for breakfast the next morning helped soak up some of the previous evening’s excess with an excellent blueberry pancake and homemade biscuit and eggs, all served quickly and with a smile. Now at this juncture, I would have probably skipped lunch, but since 13.1 loomed on the horizon I decided to partake. I had always wanted to eat at The Old Pink House and since it is a Savannah tradition, we went for the power lunch. Appetizers of jalapeño macaroni poppers and fried green tomatoes did not disappoint. However, the entree of avocado and shrimp was not a great choice. My husband’s fried chicken was excellent but the potatoes and collards that accompanied it were over salted. Given the service and the historic nature of the surroundings, lunch was a minor success but without the dinner price tag. For Dinner? A straight up Savannah restaurant pillar, The Crystal Beer Parlor. In many cities finding a craft beer or two is a challenge but Crystal Beer Parlor did not disappoint. The knowledegable bartender offered us Clown Shoes Galactica IPA and it was fantastic. We liked it so much that on our walk home we stopped off for a growler of it at The Beer Growler Savannah. We even took a growler home as a birthday gift for a friend we make fun of for being a beer snob. I should talk…
The most sentimental sign I saw? “You’re setting a great example for your children.” That one made me cry. At the finish line a friend of mine said that Savannah has the best course of any race she has run. The reason? Authenticity. “The race takes you through every neighborhood in the city past every walk of life.” This makes the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon an example all other races should follow. It may be a tough bill though. The Savannah community is so authentic that race support and entertainment along the course just comes naturally. Afterwards, that same authenticity spills over into every other part of your stay, lodging, eating, and of course there wouldn’t be spills without the drinking. But hey, you just ran 13.1 miles, enjoy yourself! This may be one of the easiest cities to do it in.