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Behind the Race: Brae explains why ZOOMA isn't returning to Atlanta in 2013

July 31, 2012

by Brae Blackley

 In business, and in life, sometimes you have to make the tough calls. 

ZOOMA Atlanta was our second ZOOMA race.  Ever.  In 2008, with the first event, I worked my tail off promoting the race.  I didn’t sleep the night before the race – that’s how I did it back then. That first year in November at Atlantic Station close to downtown Atlanta, we had over 1,600 on race day.  But the post-race party was in a parking lot, and the course was pretty hard and took in some of the less attractive parts of downtown Atlanta. 

Over the years, we tweaked the race, never feeling like we had quite the right vibe or the right course.  We changed venues (twice).  We changed seasons (from November to April). 

As a company, we are continuously defining and redefining who we are (much as we do as individuals). This summer, we really dug deep.  Asking — What is ZOOMA? Why is ZOOMA special? How does ZOOMA offer something that runners can’t find elsewhere? How can we make ZOOMA even cooler, more fun, and more exciting? 

Ultimately, we made the tough call to leave Atlanta.

Among other ideas, we decided that we needed to up the ante on our resort partners, and we needed to be super selective about which resorts we decide to partner with.  We wanted to host events at only the top resorts in the country —  unforgettable places where we would psyched to vacation with our girlfriends and families.  Because at the end of the day, if what we really want to do is bring runners an unforgettable race experience, the venue where those memories are made is key. 

 When the opportunity arose to work with The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida. . . well, the decision was made easier.  The Ritz-Carlton is such a ridiculously amazing resort (check out photos here), and the half marathon course is so super cool and fun, we couldn’t pass on the chance to share it with you all. 

We’ve had a great run in Atlanta, and have made so many great running friends there (including Lorraine, Renee, Christie, Tina, Karen and more). Amelia Island is a short 5-6 hour drive from Atlanta.  We hope our friends there will take the opportunity for a change of scenery and a flat course, and will join us in Florida in January

8 Responses to Behind the Race: Brae explains why ZOOMA isn't returning to Atlanta in 2013

  1. Kat says:

    Sorry to hear about the decision to leave Atlanta but, I am a native and completely agree it isnt a great Zooma city. However, I highly encourgae you to reconsider Georgia. I throw out the suggestion of Savannah and the Golden Isles (Brunswick, Jekll Island, St. Simon’s Island) – a great coastal area with lots to offer and the Ritz-Carolton Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee in NorthEast Georgia. Both are picturesque offerings.

    I hoping to complete my first half marathon at the Amelia Island event! Thanks for putting together these great events.

  2. Christina Haakmeester says:

    I agree. I think you should reconsider the metro Atlanta area. Maybe you are not meaning to but sayng Atlanta is not an attractive city to run is not true! I have done a couple of dozen races all over the metro Atlanta area, and there are some great locales actually that offer scenic views as well. I understand you feel moving is upping the ante, but don’t sell our town short either by saying we have don’t have enough to offer for a memorable scenic event. After all, we were attractive enough to host the Olympics and one of the largeest 10ks in the country, the Peachtree Roadrace. We also have some great towns just outside the metro Atlanta area, including the GA mountains, Callaway Gardens, etc. I think you should ask for some input of the locals here, and I bet you would get some wonderful suggestions of places that would make for a memorable event. I personally wouldn’t take away my memories of running the races I have had in Altanta. They’ve been awesome!

  3. CINDY says:

    Atlanta is a great place for races, and I LOVE doing races from 17th Street. The move to Chate

  4. CINDY says:

    Ooops, accidentally hit enter. Anyway, the move to Chateau Elan was a good one, but then the date changed, if I am not mistaken, to the weekend following Thanksgiving. Speaking for myself, I have done the Thanksgiving Half and cannot do another Half two days later. Atlanta IS a great running town. That all said, I am doing the Amelia Isl, but staying in a condo (less expensive)…..

  5. C Mith says:

    Asheville would be a great venue.

  6. Tricia says:

    I am so disappointed to hear this! Georgia has some great areas to run. I understand not hosting the race in Downtown Atlanta, as there are already several held there, but the Lake Lanier Island location was fantastic! Last I heard ZOOMA was going to tweak the course and use this scenic location again? The views were beautiful and the resort has a lot to offer as well. I live in Alabama, have family in Georgia, and traveling there for races has been great. Sorry, but with two small children I cannot make the longer trek to FL. Please reconsider a GA locale, as the State provides a short travel distance for many of us in surrounding States.

  7. Phyllis says:

    Sorry to hear this. I really enjoy your races, but can’t come to Florida. loved Lake Lanier, Callaway Gardens is great . I hope you come back to GA….

  8. Ellen Ector says:

    i did the first Zooma run in ATLANTA and I felt the corse was pretty tough not for you guys to give out more age group awards! The scenery was not all bad because you really had to get upi those hills! i came back again to assist a client in running he first 5k at Zooma Atlanta at Chateau Elam, all I heard from the top women runners in Atlanta was how hard the half was! I fiqured this is what made Zooma special! NOt your easy every day coyrses! the resort was very nice! Well to tell the truth maybe all the complaints made you guys want to leave Atlanta and go else where! i did a run earlier this year at AMELIA ISLANDS that is a beautiful place! I plan on bringing a few women with me!! Keep up your dreams and do not let no one stop them!! SEE U SOON!!

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