Georgia > Silver Comet Half Marathon & Full Marathon
Mableton, GA • Saturday, October 26, 2013 • Course Map
Long stretches of paved trails that snake through the lush, green, wooded forest areas of the northwest Atlanta suburbs are the hallmark of the Silver Comet Trail Half Marathon & 10K, which celebrates its 13th annual running in the fall of 2013, a race that usually sees more than 1,500 runners each year.
The course for the race follows the now-paved multi-use trail for bikers, joggers and walkers that winds nearly 40 miles from Smyrna to the Georgia-Alabama state line, part of one of Atlanta's most successful rails-to-trails initiatives. Named for the Silver Comet train that ferried passengers back and forth from Atlanta to Anniston, Ala., in the 1940s and 50s, the trail had been abandoned until the late 1980s, when a group of local residents formed a nonprofit to raise funds toward converting it for recreational use. Ever since, the trail has become one of the metro Atlanta area's most popular weekend hikes and biking trails.
The 13.1-mile course for the race starts at the Mable House Cultural Arts Center and runs for about 1.5 miles before entering the trail at the Silver Comet Bike Depot. From there, it runs out 5.75 miles and back to the depot for the finish. The trail is long and straight and largely flat, but it also has some long, gradual uphill stretches that many runners will find challenging, especially as they occur in the race's last few miles.
Here's how one runner (this writer, actually) found running the race back in 2009:
"While the month of October is normally one of the Atlanta area's driest months of the year, 2009 was a different story. This year, the city received somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 inches of rain or more for the month, including a historic flood that inundated the city this fall, which gives you an idea of what conditions were like at this fall's Silver Comet Half Marathon.
"Rain pretty much fell throughout the race, and was particularly heavy at the start, for the first mile and a half or so that takes place on open road from the start near the Mable House Amphitheatre up to the point where the race turns onto the Silver Comet Trail. Once we were on the trail, thankfully the generous tree cover provided some shelter from the raindrops, which lessened up here and there during the race.
"What this meant was that a race that normally takes place under gorgeous fall sunlight, along a paved trail through the woods, was quite a wet and soggy mess. However, once we were out on the trail and warmed up, that didn't really matter. It was a nice, fun change of pace-type race, especially if you're used to running in larger races through big cities like Atlanta's springtime ING Georgia Half Marathon, which I've run twice in the past.
"The crowd is generally very friendly at the race, as everyone's typically in a good mood -- this year's race was run on the morning of Halloween, which added a bit to people feeling festive. However, the narrowness of the course -- the trail is probably about half the width of lane of traffic on your typical street -- means that when you come across groups running together, it can be hard to pass them by if you're running a faster pace.
"The only part that's somewhat problematic is the turnaround point, which occurs a bit past the 7-mile point in the race. The already narrow lane for one-way runner traffic turns into 2 even narrower lanes, as the leaders run past you, so you really have to get into almost single-file to stay on the course. Still, overall the race is a really nice, fun race to run, and I'd recommend it to anyone thinking of running a smaller race.
Race Weather & Climate
Located about 14 miles west of Atlanta in central northern Georgia, Mableton typically sees October temperatures that average between 53°F and 73°F, while rainfall totals average just over 3.1 inches, making October the city's driest month of the year.
On the day of the race (Oct. 26), the average low is 49°F and the average high is 70°F.
View the race route map for the Silver Comet Half Marathon
See race website
To reserve your spot in the fall 2013 running of Mableton's Silver Comet Half Marathon or Fun Run, register online at Active.com.
Official Race Website
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