By Dan Popovic

In only its second year, the Atlanta BeltLine Running Series grew to 2,800 participants that logged over 9,100 community miles on the Atlanta BeltLine.  The Running Series consists of two 5Ks and one 10K along various parts of the Atlanta BeltLine with the proceeds going toward programs that are vital to the success of the Atlanta BeltLine.

What sets this running series apart is how it creates, connects and rewards active lifestyles with specific challenges. For example, the Northside 5K showcases a challenge between the Atlanta Police and Atlanta Fire Departments, and it also includes a media challenge. The Southwest 5K showcases a team challenge and the Eastside 10K features a tailgate and neighborhood challenge.  At each of these events, cash prizes and happy hour offers are awarded to winning teams. The Atlanta BeltLine Running Series also features a unique online community experience that rewards participants for their accomplishments.

At this past December’s10K, the Old Fourth Ward was announced as the winning neighborhood association. They were awarded with a check for $1,000 for being the largest, most spirited and fastest team.

Princess Wilson with the Fourth Ward Alliance Board and Cyerra Crumrine recruited the Eastside team and had 73 registered walkers and runners. The duo found inventive ways to find participants. “We spoke at meetings, created a flyer on neighborhood Yahoo pages, held a happy hour at a neighborhood bar and brought in laptops to register everyone when they came into the door. We encouraged all to register by posting on Facebook and Yahoo groups. We kept a tally of all that registered and then challenged a neighbor or friend to join the team. It was fun!”

Princess said the prize money would be used toward street toppers that are missing on some of the streets in the O4W. Both Princess and Cyerra agreed that the neighborhood team will be back and bigger in 2013 for the 10K.

For more, visit running.beltline.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.