THE Savannah Rock 'n’ Roll Marathon is back for another edition, just one year short of becoming one of the "legacy events" in the series.
This is our ninth year in Savannah,” says Brandt Bernat, race director with the Ironman Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. “That’s a big deal because next year’s event will be the tenth anniversary, and that qualifies the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon to be one of our legacy events. Savannah will join some of our longest-running markets, like Nashville and Virginia Beach.”
The reason for the event’s continued popularity with participants, Bernat says, is that Savannah has a “small town feel with a big city vibe.
“We see this in the runner surveys after the event, year after year. It ranks as one of the athletes’ favorite cities. People experience that Southern hospitality and community support. Whether it’s people pulling out a lawn chair to cheer on runners, to all the bands playing, you can’t beat it.”
While Savannah is one of the smallest metro areas the Marathon runs in, participation remains solid.
“We get about 12,000 participants across the weekend,” says Bernat. “We’ll probably get about 2200 running in the full marathon, and around 7,000 running in the half marathon.”
Bernat says there will be 19 stages with multiple bands all along the route, which begins on Bay Street, makes it all the way to Savannah State University, then turns back around to finish in Forsyth Park for the big, open-to-the-public concert by The Strumbellas.
For serious runners, Savannah occupies an important place in the running calendar.
“Some run in Savannah specifically looking for good qualifying times for the Boston Marathon. There’s an opportunity for Olympics qualifying times as well. We definitely have some elite athletes running in Savannah,” says Bernat.
This year, “we’re bringing back the kid’s races for Sunday,” he says. “After the 5K and 1K there will be a kid’s race at 2:30 p.m. Another minor change is timewise on Sunday, we’ll start things at 12:30 p.m instead of 1 p.m.”
Savannah City Council recently renewed the contract for the Marathon. This year’s edition is the first of three more approved, through 2021.
Thursday, October 31
Saturday, November 2
Sunday, November 3