If you’re a runner and decide to visit Atlanta, Georgia you may want to check out the Movers And Pacers run club. I follow Atlantapologist Maurice Garland on Instagram and first read about the run club earlier this year via his ‘Gram feed.
Movers And Pacers is an influencer based run club created to encourage the running habit. It was created by Senor Kaos in November 2013. Now if you’re a fan of Atlanta hip hop, y’all may remember Senor Kaos’ body of work as an emcee. Movers And Pacers meets three times a week: there’s a Sunday run, a Tuesday sprint workout, and a Wednesday mid-week run.
This week I’ve been in Atlanta, Georgia to attend #ATLast, Outkast’s 20th anniversary concert and spend time with friends who live in the city. Since my marathon training is still in full swing, I decided to check out Movers And Pacers for a Sunday evening run while in town.
To be honest with y’all I was a bit nervous about attending.
Not because of the fear of meeting new people, it was because I don’t know anything about downtown Atlanta and was afraid of getting lost on the route.
I once got terribly lost and turned around with no water in the deep woods of Virginia during a poorly marked 8K trail race in the middle of July. It was an unforgettable experience. Ever since then, I’m always apprehensive about unfamiliar routes. My average pace is anywhere between a 12 to 13 minute mile, depending on hills and stoplights. At that pace, I’m usually one of the last runners bringing up the rear anytime I run with a group or in a race event.
The Sunday night Movers And Pacers met near Strip in Atlantic Station. There were about 25 people or so who showed up to run. I was told that on a regular night there’s usually anywhere from 50-70 people. It was the final night of the Outkast concert so I reckon a good part of the group were either attending or working the event.
When I arrived several folks introduced themselves so that helped break the ice. The folks I met were all regular Movers And Pacers attendees who lived in ATL. There were a few other out of town attendees who were from Detroit and D.C. At a little past 7 pm, Senor Kaos welcomed all in attendance, gave the premise of the evening run and then we participated in a group stretch to help us warm up. Once that was complete we took a group picture and then did a light jog to the 17th Street Bridge.
Tonight’s route was a 3.2 mile loop that began on the 17th Street Bridge. Once we arrived at that starting point, the route was explained. It was reverse route day, where the normal route is ran backwards. This meant we were to run up 17th Street, make a right onto Peachtree Street, a left onto 5th Street and then another left onto Peachtree Street.
I was still a bit nervous before starting the run because I wasn’t familiar with that route and was hoping there would be someone with a similar pace to mine that knew the route. It was announced that everyone waits at the starting point for the last runner to finish, so that helped relieve some of my anxiety. Right before beginning the run, we did a group huddle and shouted “We Run…ATL!” three times followed by yelling “Boom!”
Miles one through two were pretty much all up hill. Thankfully I’ve spent a good majority of the Summer doing hill training in preparation for the Greensboro Marathon, so the hills in downtown Atlanta didn’t wear me out. Miles two through three were basically flat, there was one or two rolling hills but nothing major. The exception was the last half mile or so, where we had to run up the 17th Street Bridge in order to get back to the starting point.
It ended up being a great run and most important, I didn’t get lost on the route. The route itself was interesting. On Peachtree Street we ran by several landmarks that I’d only driven past. As an out of towner, running through downtown gave me a chance to see and experience the city from a different perspective. I loved that.
The icing on the cake is that I ran my fastest 5K ever, with an average pace of 11:48 minute per mile! At the finish point, everyone who had already completed the run were gathered and cheered on everyone else who finished after them. There were also high fives and words of encouragement shared. Tonight they were a fun and encouraging group. It was a great experience.
If y’all are ever in Atlanta on a day the Movers And Pacers meet, I recommend you check them out. I follow the Movers And Pacers Instagram but there is also a Movers And Pacers Facebook. You’ll be able to find the meetup location, time and more information on either site.