Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon 5K (22:28)

In 2012, I ran my second half marathon, the Historic Georgetown Bridge to Bridge Run. Since the race was close to home, my parents came to the finish festival. When I finished the race, my mom said something that stuck with me ever since.

When I was your age, I could never imagine seeing so many women finish a road race, let alone my daughter running 13.1 miles.

I was 27 at the time, and my mom was 27 in 1973. In the 1970s, women didn’t run like they do now, especially in the South where women’s rights (and all civil rights) seem to lag behind the rest of the nation. It’s easy to forget that women didn’t always have the opportunities to run and race like we do now. I’ve vowed not to take these opportunities for granted.

A few years ago, the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon popped up on my radar. Savannah is a short drive from Charleston, and a lot of my local running friends ran in 2015 and 2016. Those years, I had already signed up for the Cooper River Bridge Run. When I noticed that the 2017 date was the Saturday *after* the Bridge Run, I put it on my calendar.

In the Fall, I was selected as a race ambassador and set big goals for the half marathon. In early 2017, I was running 40-48 miles per week with workouts and cross training. I hoped to set a new PR and run a 1:35, taking three minutes off my Charleston Half Marathon time.


We all know what happens to the best laid plans, and on Saturday, I ran the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon 5K.

About the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon Races

In seven years of running and racing, the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon and 5K was my first women’s race. The event embraced ALL women and put our running and racing desires first. The race expo sold clothing in women’s sizes. Ladies could purchase flattering tank tops and fitted shirts instead of boxy men’s t-shirts that we “can sleep in”.

Women outnumber men in most road races, but events still expect us to fit into the mold of a male runner. I have a few race medals which feature both a male and female runner, and the male runner is always ahead of the female runner. Some races even advertise that women outnumber men, but only a man’s shirt is offered. (Side Note: Does anyone else hate when race t-shirts are advertised as “unisex”? Would a race ever offer a man a ladies’ shirt?).


While this race focused on celebrating women, the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon also respected men. Men were welcome to register for and run the race. The overall and age group awards were for women only, but men received the same swag (medals) as the ladies. No one booed or shunned the men who ran, and those who ran were very supportive of the ladies and the cause.

Race Day

I met up with a few of the other ambassadors in our hotel lobby, and we took a picture before walking to Forsythe Park for the start of the race. Once we got there, I ran a short warm up, dropped my bag off, and savored the positive energy of the race. Everyone was happy and cheerful, and one of the ambassadors, Cecelia, did a great job of singing the national anthem.


My goal for this race was to give my first “hard effort” post-injury. I’ve been running again for three weeks, and it was time to push the pace a little. At the same time, I wanted to be especially careful due to turns on the course and stone streets. My #1 goal for every run right now is to not re-aggravate my tendontis, even if that means a slower run or even a walk break.

Once we were off, I settled into a pace and enjoyed the spectators. The course was closed to traffic and I spotted a familiar face, Peggy, who is a mentor for Fleet Feet Mount Pleasant and local runner. I waved and thanked her for ringing her cowbell for us. As someone who’s spent a lot of time “pit crewing” in races lately, I appreciate anyone who comes out to support and cheer for runners. Many husbands and boyfriends were on the course doing the same thing for their wives.

The course had timing mats, and I hit the first mile in 7:14. I ran near one of the men and made a goal to pass him, and I did. People on the streets were cheering for us, and I tried to absorb their energy. The route itself was very beautiful, running around lots of fountains and monuments. Even though I normally slow down in a 5K, I hit Mile 2 in 7:10. I ran through a group of photographers and heard a man yell “Go Amy!” (I believe it was Jonathan, the race director).

In the third mile (7:13), I ran near another lady and we pushed each other pretty hard. When I passed, I just kept going and knew the run would be over soon. I wasn’t sure who was ahead of me or behind me, and really didn’t care, but I hoped I could keep up the pace. I did.

I crossed the finish in 22:28, good for 7th Overall.


Post Race

After the race, I took some pictures with my medal, got a bag of refreshments from the Publix stand, went to the potty, then saw that the beer tent was opening. Instead of picking up my bag drop, I walked straight to the mimosa stand. This will probably be the only race I can ever say I was the first finisher in the beer tent!


I drank a delicious mimosa, then headed out to the half marathon course for a cooldown jog and to cheer on and encourage the other ladies.

The half marathon course is great and winds through downtown Savannah. You get to see the best parts of the city on this course, and the later miles of the half are an out and back. The ladies in the race are all running by each other and encourage each other with cheers and high fives.

Distance running can be competitive, unforgiving, and sometimes even petty. Like a breath of fresh air, the atmosphere at the Publix Savannah Women’s Half is super positive and makes every lady feel like a winner.

After the race, bands played in the park and everyone hung around celebrating our accomplishments. I congratulated the finishers and everyone wearing medals congratulated each other all day on the streets of Savannah. I hope I can return next year for the half marathon because I want to race that course. I’d also recommend this race to any ladies looking for a girls weekend, destination race, or your first or fastest race.


Race Name: Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon/5K

Location: Savannah, GA

Date and Time: April 8, 2017, 7:30 AM

Swag: Reusable bag, finisher’s gift bracelet, bath fizzies, ice pack, finisher’s medal for all runners (5K and half marathon)

Post-race food: Water, bananas, mini muffins, oranges, two free mimosas or beers per runner

Weather: Sunny, 41 degrees, 87% humidity, 4 mph W wind. Gorgeous morning!

As an ambassador for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon and 5K, I received a complimentary race entry as well as other perks. I did not receive monetary compesation, and all opinions are my own.

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22 Responses to Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon 5K (22:28)

  1. Angela says:

    WELL DONE! Sounds like a great race! My first ever 5k was a women only race for Breast Cancer , I didn’t run back then so I opted for the walk category but I loved that it was all women, supporting each other!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      That was my favorite thing about the race, that the women supported each other. The stereotype is that ladies can be catty and competitive, and that was NOT the case at this race. In fact, it’s nice to have races like this that break those stereotypes :).

      • Angela says:

        It somethings I love about about the running community in general, there should be more high 5’s and having each other’s backs in all aspects of life!!!

  2. trexrunner says:

    That sounds like a lot of fun! It’s kind of funny, the one women’s race I have done was the Divas Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach a few years ago. It was great in a lot of ways, but the shirts were COMICALLY small. Like, the size medium I ordered ended up fitting my friend’s 7 year old daughter. I thought it was hysterical that a women’s race couldn’t get women’s shirt sizing right!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      A lady I know did that one and got that same shirt at Divas. She had to give it to her 9-year-old daughter. This race didn’t give out shirts, but you could purchase them, and the sizing was right on. All the apparel was New Balance and the sizing was about right for how the brand normally runs (I have an NB singlet). Plus, the apparel at the Savannah Women’s Half came in multiple colors (black, blue, yellow, green, purple) and styles (tank/tee/sweatshirt)

      Everything with Divas is so pink. I was glad this race’s colors were purple and green.

  3. Very nice, even splits! I’m amazed at what you can do after so much time off. Your cross training really paid off, great race!

    Unisex shirts are the worst, especially the tech ones. I have gotten some pretty cool shirts that I would love to wear, but the fit is so, so awful.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      One local race here offers a men’s tech shirt (sorry, I refuse to say “unisex”) and the logo on it is HUGE. Well, the logo is printed in a way that it’s almost pasted on the shirt, making the whole front of the shirt extremely hot. Even the men hate the shirt for that reason.

      I guess I’ll make all my shirts into a quilt someday. I have years’ worth and this has yet to happen. I almost wish I could sew and craft and maybe make my shirts more of a ladies’ fit somehow, or make a pillow out of one, etc.

  4. Zebra Girl says:

    I think in general it is hard to order the race shirts because you never know how the sizing for a particular tshirt company is going to fit. It is usually the race shirt that I love that I can’t exchange for the right size.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I think the harder part is knowing which sizes to order for the race. I do know the smaller sizes tend to run out the quickest, but then Clay has done a race or two when they didn’t even offer XXL shirts. The Race the Landing 5K summer series organizer special ordered him a shirt and it arrived by the end of the series. It meant SOOO much for her to do that so he could get a race shirt that fits.

  5. Nice job on that race! Back when I started running and marathoning (1998) there wasn’t any running clothes specifically made for women–they were all unisex. Now I think that over 50% of half marathon finishers are women! I love it.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The women’s clothing options have increased just in the seven years I’ve been running. When I started running, I ran in cotton shirts and soccer shorts. Even in high school, everyone ran in soffe shorts (which were made differently then- they’re not the same now). Just in the past few years, brands like Oiselle, Lululemon, and Athleta have popped up. Even Old Navy, Gap, and Target have good offerings!

  6. Amazing job putting in a killer race post injury.
    This was my first women’s race too – and I loved the course so much I would happily do it again.

  7. liz says:

    Look at those even splits! Great job and great to see you back out there. ❤

  8. Sonja Bowers says:

    Where can I purchase a t-shirt

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The shirts were on sale at the expo and in the tent after the race. You may want to contact Fleet Feet Savannah about purchasing one now- I saw a post on Facebook that they had a few extras they were selling for $40.

  9. Elizabeth C. says:

    Ahhh, sounds like such a beautiful morning to run! I’m so excited to see you back out on the race course pushing hard and testing your limits. It’s awesome to get a medal for a 5K too!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Agreed… I love it when races do medals for everyone regardless of distance. You never know what someone is going through and how challenging a 5K can be for someone. This wasn’t my fastest race time or my longest distance, but facing the fears after injury means I earned the medal- at least in my mind :).

  10. Nice job, Amy 🙂 That half marathon is on my list, but scheduling is tricky with the Cherry Blossom weekend (like the Bridge Run). Glad you had a nice experience. I love the picture of you and your mom at the top.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      A lot of years, these races all seem to conflict. Next year’s Bridge Run conflicts with this race. Many years the Richmond VA Monumental Avenue race conflicts too. It’s a tough time of year to schedule races because the events want to keep the same weekend, but there’s also an Easter holiday in there- that’s why the Bridge Run changes weekends and is sometimes in March, sometimes in April.

      The good thing is, none of these races are going anywhere! If we keep running long enough, we can chalk all of them off our bucket lists eventually.

  11. I am so impressed! 7th overall?! That’s amazing! I love what you shared about your mom talking about women, running, and racing in the 70s. That’s just amazing. I watched a special yesterday on the first woman who ran the Boston Marathon and how she was almost kicked out of the race because she was a woman. That is crazy to think about today, but it was only 50 years ago!

    I love that this was a women’s race, too! How sweet that they really catered to women. I’m sure it was a special experience 🙂

  12. I know it wasn’t the distance you wanted to run but you really rocked that 5k! I visited Savannah once and only for a few hours I knew then it would be a teaser but I still wanted to go.
    In fact last year or maybe it was two years ago, when Jennifer who you met, Runs with Pugs ran in a race here and posted her recap I knew I wanted to run here!
    How special it was your mom was able to be there with you. I can’t get my mom to come to race down the road. So I can appreciate this very much!

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