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For local runners, Rock and Roll Marathon a blast
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My husband and I rocked, rolled and had an awesome time! The Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon is now over, but the memories of the sights and sounds of this inaugural event will linger on. Those memories will include the many new friends we met throughout the weekend.

The runners came from all 50 states and at least 14 countries. Included among them was the first grade teacher from Jacksonville wanting to set a good health example for her students and the group touring the United States and running 12 Rock and Roll runs in 12 months.

There was also the family using this event to come together from their various locations to run, laugh and enjoy their own little reunion. One thing common wherever we were was the smile on the faces of the many participants just happy to be able to share the common thread of their passion for their sport.

We also found people glad to be able to explore the beautiful city of Savannah. Many asked for advice as to what to see, where to eat, and what not to miss.

Of the 23,000 participants, there were equally as many reasons for their participation. Like us, everyone had worked hard for many months to be there. But none were disappointed.

Trying to get to the expo on Hutchinson Island to pick up our numbers and time chips proved a little challenging as apparently everyone decided to go at 5 p.m. on Friday. Traffic across the bridge was almost at a standstill and the wait for the water taxi was long, so we thought our best option would be to walk across the Talmadge Bridge, but the police did not think so.

Yes, we got stopped half way across the bridge, but thankfully a Savannah Tour bus gave us a ride where we found a happy load of excited runners not bothered at all by the traffic delay. Even the negatives became positives. Who could complain?

Very early Saturday morning we decided the best option for arriving at the race was to take the shuttle service being offered at the Savannah Mall. By 5:30 a.m. we were at the mall not sure what we would find. We were so impressed by the great organization we found as buses from all over the area including Jacksonville were lined up willingly taking all the runners downtown for the race.

Our shuttle was buzzing with the noise of excited runners and conversations with people we had not met. We made our way through the roads that had not been affected by the race and our drivers safely got us to where we needed to be.

The race itself was also very well organized. The 23,000 started in different waves so that there was no congestion or overcrowding. We were in corral 14 and all went very smoothly. Many runners showed their spirit donning tutus, wigs, colorful hats and even bird suits.

Bands, cheerleaders, and spirited crowds lined the streets as we ran along supporting each and everyone of us. Fellow runners would encourage their fellowman as fatigue set in, but before you knew it, we had all completed our first Savannah Rock and Roll ½ marathon.

Where better to end this fun race than at Savannah's beautiful Forsythe Park. All finishers were graced with their very own medal - and it was very cool, tastefully decorated with Forsythe's famous fountain! First, last or somewhere in the middle, it didn't matter. All were glad to have been a part. So, now that the race is over what's a runner to do? There's always next year.

Christi Shineflew is a Richmond Hill resident.




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