New to 2015, the Atlanta Track Club added a basketball themed race to its schedule - Atlanta Hawks Fast Break 5K. The race started and finished in from of Phillips Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks. Hosting races downtown can be a bit of a logistics nightmare especially from the standpoint of parking, but the Atlanta Track Club did a fabulous job. All runners received an emailed parking pass to park in the parking decks around Phillips Arena rather than paying for parking as some races do downtown. The decks are used for large events (concerts, basketball games, football games, etc) so there was ample parking.
Weather in Atlanta is unpredictable most days of the year as is, but in February it can literally be in the 60s one day and 30s the next. I was excited to know that pre-race and post-race activities would be held inside of Phillips Arena. I was even more excited on race day when it was in the 30s with nasty wind.
The start line was very close to the pre-race area which was nice because you could stay inside as long as you need pretty much. Due to the size of the event (about 1200 runners), they utilized a self-seeding wave start. Atlanta Track Club uses self-seeding for a lot of their small to mid-sized events (larger events they seed you with an estimated finish time or proof of time submission). Information regarding the self-seeding was sent out to participants via email prior to the event.
The course was fairly challenging with rolling hills most of the way which is expected for Atlanta. There were some points of congestion along the way as we ran in a single lane, but nothing too crazy. The finish line was positioned in front of Phillips Arena and had great fanfare awaiting runners (music, DJ, cheerleaders, etc).
Once I finished, I ran back to the mile 3 marker to wait for Momma K to finish. While waiting, I ran into a friend from college who was waiting for his wife to finish. You never know who you will run into at a local race. Momma K had a much slower race than normal due to very tired legs from the past week, but she enjoyed the race for sure.