Some runners compare canceling the annual race to doing away with Christmas.
Last May, the Atlanta Track Club quietly announced that they would move the Atlanta Marathon, traditionally held on Thanksgiving day, to October 30, 2011. The race’s time limit will also increase from 5:00 to 6:30.
“We are excited to open up the field to runners of all abilities,” track club executive director Tracey Russell announced. According to Russell, the changes are in keeping with the club’s mission, which is to “inspire and engage the community to achieve health and fitness through health and running.”
Some runners did not take note of this announcement and expected that the marathon, a city fixture since 1963, would be held on Thanksgiving–a tradition going back to 1981.
Runner Pat Binienda has been taking part in every Atlanta Marathon since 1980. In order to not break with tradition, he plans to run two laps of the Atlanta Half Marathon, which takes place on Thanksgiving.
“I don’t wish to bite the hand that feeds. I do grieve for the indelicate way the South’s oldest marathon was unceremoniously dropped and, of course, the loss of same,” another disappointed marathoner, Sam Benedict, said.
For More: Atlanta Journal Constitution