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Local runners debate adding food to marathon course | News

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Local runners debate adding food to marathon course
Local runners debate adding food to marathon course

ATLANTA -- Fourteen thousand runners will shut down the streets of Atlanta for the 2013 Publix Georgia Marathon.

With a week to go until the race, the talk isn't about the hilly course or the unpredictable weather; it's about the food.

In an unusual move for a half and full marathon, US Road Sports & Entertainment is setting up food stops all along the course.

"It's all about trying to be unique, something fun, want a little distraction. I mean, you're running 26.2 miles. Anything we can do to get the runner through the race is what we're looking to do," race director Jeff Graves said.

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I reached out on social media and gathered a random group of runners to meet me at Piedmont Park.

Ryan Nesset broke his tibia and tibia in a wake boarding accident five years ago. When he saw his foot dangling, barely attached to his leg, he wasn't sure he'd walk again. He's running his first half marathon. "I don't see it being a problem eating during the race," he said. "I might stop at least once."

Beth Burt just started running a year ago. It's also her first half marathon. She was lured in when she saw an online deal for a training group. "I feel everything in my stomach," she said. "So, I am not a fan of eating before or during."

Karen Garland is the experienced runner in the group. It will be her second full marathon, but she's also run the Georgia half marathon in the past. "No one's going to make you stop, so it's there if you want to stop and have a good time with it," she said.

They went for a run. Then, I presented them with the same food choices that will be on the course: bananas, oranges, peanut butter pretzels, M&Ms, Jelly beans, and Oreos. "What do you feel like eating?" I asked.

Bananas, a runner's staple, got thumbs up. The Oreos, not so much.

"They would probably dry your mouth out a little bit, I would think," Nesset said. "I like the fruit because they're natural sugars." They all agreed they might not stop for the food, but they liked the idea it was there as a possibility.

I took their questions back to the race director: Yes, food will be near water stops. It will come in easy-to grab and carry modes. And they do have extra volunteers to prevent race course clogs.