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