Even before it ended Saturday morning, it was obvious the inaugural Tour de Ford 10-Miler at The Ford Plantation went beyond expectations and that another one was on the horizon.
“We’ve gotten tremendous feedback,” said Sandra Elliott, race organizer and co-owner of Georgia Game Changers Running Co. “It’s such a beautiful course.”
Elliott said she had already talked with Ford Plantation representatives Saturday morning about the next race, possibly in January or February of 2018.
“We knew it was going to be hot having the race in August and the runners expected it, but we were aiming for a time that would disrupt the least amount of residents,” Elliott said. “We were told that’s also true of the January/February time frame so that’s what we’ll look at.”
Local runner Sara Maltby, the first female finisher, said the course was beautiful but particularly hot by the Ogeechee River.
“There’s not much shade there and the sun reflecting off the water made it warmer, but it was a great course,” she said. “More runners will definitely want to participate next time.”
Maltby added that many of the runners were local and had never seen the inside of The Ford Plantation. In total 126 runners signed up.
“We were dying to get in here,” she laughed.
The race began and ended in front of the main house, which was built as Henry and Clara Ford’s winter home in the 1930s. Runners were cheered on by residents along the course with water and sponge stations, and were greeted at the finish line by a cheering crowd. Finishers received a commemorative medal and cooling towel and were treated to a meal prepared by Ford Plantation chefs.
“What I’m most happy about is how the local business community got on board as sponsors and I’m very impressed by The Ford Plantation staff,” Elliott said. “Everyone was working to make this a success.”
United Community Bank was the title sponsor for the race. Other sponsors included Ameris Bank, ReMax Realty, Newton Running, Coastal Endodontics, Radiant Skin Care, Coastal Cathedral, The Thunderbird Inn of Savannah, and the Leahy Art Gallery.
Proceeds will benefit the Richmond Hill Historical Society.