Zooma Atlanta, Chateau Elan: (part of the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series)
Dates participated: November 6, 2010
Number of Participants: 806 Runners
Submitted by: Shannon Smith – Covington,GA

Zooma is a woman’s race series. The race I ran was November 6, 2010 in Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA. This is a beautiful venue and was my first experience in a race geared towards women!! We did packet pick up at Big Peach the day before the race. It was very organized and easy! We were in and out within minutes! I love my Zooma shirt! It is a woman’s cut (can I get an AMEN) and girly!! We also got an awesome Zooma bag filled with lots of goodies!

We drove to Chateau Elan! Which made an early morning for us!! It was a 7:30am start! We wanted to make sure we got there early, so that, we could find potties after the long drive! We ended up getting to the race about 1 1/2 hours prior to race time. BUT thank goodness we did!! We had no problem parking and getting where we needed to go. HOWEVER, within 30 minutes of us arriving, the cars started rolling in!! Within the hour traffic had turned into a NIGHTMARE!!! The area coming into the race was just entirely to small to accommodate the amount of cars!! They ended up delaying start time approximately 30 minutes to allow everyone to get into the venue!! Bad for us since we were soooo early to begin with!!! Inside the facility they had plenty of “INDOOR” restrooms!! And a yummy fireplace!! The also had a restaurant available for racers for before or after the race!!

The race start was great. With only 800 runners, it was a great crowd but not so huge to need corrals! It was chip timing so there was no need to be at the front!! They had a great announcer and PA system that made the start and finish great! Easy to hear and understand. Which was great hearing you name cross the finish! Although it was a chilly start, it was a beautiful sunny day in Georgia!

This was my running buddy, Lerea’s very fist half marathon! I promised to stay with her and coach her along the way!! I talked her into doing it. Because I knew she could and it was a woman’s race! I knew it would be a great “first” for her!! However, I quickly began apologizing to her within the first couple of miles!! This course was EXTREMELY hilly!! Although I was prepared, it was not what I had in mind for her first race!!! I know what was I thinking?? Its wine country! AND no I did not check the elevation! This was early in my running career and I didn’t do that then!!! Having said that, the course route had to be the biggest attribute of the race!! This was one of the prettiest and most scenic race routes I have ran! BEAUTIFUL!! Lots of pretty countryside to take in while running up all those darn hills!!! They had plenty of water stations and potties along the way!! However, little to no community support :( Braselton is a small rural town. However, the scenery was awesome and I had a running buddy to chat with the entire time, so I did not miss cheering crowds!

Except for the UPHILL finish, the finish line was managed great. Music and announcer were very motivational for the tough finish! Lots of snacks and drinks were provided! The after party and expo were fairly small. However, they did have several vendors and products available, Free Wine!!!!

You do not get medals for this finish, You get jewelry, For this race we got a necklace!! It was beautiful! I love mine and wear it all the time!! A friend of mine ran the 2011 race and her was equally as awesome as mine! This was unique and I loved getting the necklace!

This year they have changed the venue for Zooma. It is going to be at Lake Lanier. Although, I will miss the sights of Chateau Elan, I am excited to see the Lake Lanier venue too!! Based on my Zooma experience – I would definitely recommend it! AND I hope to run it again this year!!

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