Back in 2013, I ran the inaugural Rome 30K as a part of my training for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. It was a great small, local race with a pretty unique distance that I truly enjoyed running. While I took a break from running it in 2014 (I was out of town that weekend), I returned back in 2015 for the new half marathon version of this race.
This year, they kept it as the half marathon distance just as they did last year. Last year when I ran this race, no one knew it but I was actually running 18 miles after running an extra 5 miles after the finish line for marathon training. This year I was excited to get to run "just" the half marathon today.
The first 8.5 miles or so takes you through various parts of Rome, GA on a few streets and residential areas. What, you have never heard of Rome, GA?!? Well, it is a rural area about half way between Atlanta and Chattanooga. While the course didn't have all the pizzazz and fanfare of some of the large downtown Atlanta races, this course didn't lack with some lovely country scenery and great cheer squads by cows in pastures near by and the Berry College Cross Country team.
There was a portion of the course that was an out and back, so you saw the lead runners coming through. I kid you not, the lead runners had cars in front of them and behind them at mile 5! My friend Jennifer texted me and I could tell I wasn't the only one angry. A fellow runner near me actually had a driver yell at us to get out of the way. Thanks to Jennifer for her quick thinking, she captured how close the cars were to us.
There were a few major intersections that had police officers directing traffic flow which I understand - people need to use these roads. However, along the side streets, police officers along the way but they were all just sitting in their cars watching cars drive through the course. I don't know if they were just trying to keep warm instead of being out redirecting cars or if the course was really intended to be open. Regardless, I don't think there was a single runner that was happy. The course was not open to traffic last year, so I have no clue what happened.
I really enjoyed the portion of the course that took us through Ridge Ferry Park as I could just enjoy nature's beauty and the river that ran along the side of the path. It was a beautiful Fall morning, so it was great to just enjoy the scenery for a few miles.