The results are in: For the fifth year in a row, runners are giving high praises to Albany’s signature event: the Snickers Marathon Energy Bar Marathon, also known as the Albany Marathon, which was held Saturday.
Tesfaye Alemayehu, 27, an Ethopian who lives in Antioch, Calif., won the $3,000 first prize in 2:17:09. Michael Green, 34, of Troy, Ala., finished second in 2:20:19. David Kellum, 28, of Kennesaw, Ga., was third in 2:25:13.
Ludmila Stepanova, 26, of Hebron Ky., was the first female finisher in 2:43:14. She also won $3,000.
Because of the course’s flat terrain, more than 20 percent of marathon (26.2 miles) runners’ posted fast-enough times to qualify them for the prestigious Boston marathon. The youngest marathon finisher Saturday was 10 years old. About 1,700 runners participated in the marathon and half marathon and about 300 athletes participated in the SB&T bike races during “Rock, Roll & Run” Mardi Gras festivities Saturday and Sunday.
All profits from the marathon and half marathon are donated to the Willson Hopsice House in northwest Albany.
Following are the five 2011 reviews so far on the sports website active.com, which garnered the Albany race 4.5 out of 5 stars. The critiques are consistent with reviews from the first four Albany marathons. The 2011 reviews on marathonguide.com, a website for long-distance runners have not been posted. The 81 reviews on marathonguide.com for the first four marathons netted the marathon rankings of a perfect 5 stars for organization, 4.5 stars for the course, and 4 stars for volunteer support.
“Tracy Gregg”: This was a great race! Thank you to all of the volunteers, we couldn’t do it without you!! Loved the route and if the rain would have held off it would have been a great place to hang out for the after party. I will be back.
“Butlel2”: This was my first half-marathon and what an awesome event! The race was organized very well from start to finish. Excellent support from Police, local Marine Corps and volunteers to direct traffic and keep us safe and allow us to focus on having fun running. All miles were clearly marked with course timers throughout the route to help manage your pace. Albany residents and volunteers cheered runners encouraging us and making us feel very welcomed! Water stations had lots of volunteers ensuring runners got water, fruit, or gels all along the way. Cool, wet towels were even being handed out around mile 9!! At the finish line each runner was announced by name and recognized for completing their race. Recovery stations were well stocked with food, water and volunteer to assist in any way. I will absolutely run in this event again! What a great race and a super supportive city!
“Ray Brown”: This marathon was absolutely FANTASTIC. The volunteers, despite bouts of rain were electric at every water station. The city of Albany just absolutely embraced the race. I think the race organizers and the town have a gem of a race and will be back next year to do it. Thanks to the volunteers, military and the fantastic police teams that made sure we were save from traffic during the run.
“Doctor Rob”: The Snicker’s marathon might be easy to overlook on your race schedule since it is held early in the running season in the relatively small southern Georgia town of Albany. If you discount this race, however, you are making a mistake.
It is a well run mid-sized race that has many of the amenities of larger races like pace teams and digital clocks at the mile markers but also retains some small town touches like actually being able to talk to the race director in person or the home town volunteers loaded with enthusiasm and pride about their city’s race.
Albany itself is a surprisingly entertaining destination and the marathon event is tied to a Mardi Gras festival. You receive a free ticket as a race participant. There is also a cool aquarium and some nice parks around to take a post-race recovery stroll.
The expo is a little small and limited and the post-race food needs some warm stuff like a nice soup or light local dish to add interest to the bananas and bottled water.
The course itself is nice and, as the race bills, mostly flat (a few small hills here and there but nothing too challenging.) Lots of nice neighborhoods and a few great scenic tree lined streets add interest but there are a few small industrial parts too. Overall a great race on a fast course and this race serves as a great way to springboard into the spring running season. Definitely worth the drive.”
Paula Wheetley: “This was my first half marathon and Albany, Ga. People made it the most enjoyable. Having people cheer for you along the course was AWESOME. There were plenty of stops along the way to refresh yourself. Even after you finished there were plenty of people to help you out in any way needed. I would have to say if I ever run another half I will make this one of them. Thanks for a job WELL DONE. You made it well worth the trip.”