What? AJC Peachtree Road Race 10K
Who? 60,000 runners and 200,000 spectators
When? July 4, 2014
Where? Peachtree Road in Atlanta from Lenox Square Mall to Piedmont Park
Who? 60,000 runners and walkers
How much? $38 registration plus $12 for bling
My Finish? 1:08:27
Swag? cotton T-shirt, sweat towel and optional race medal
The Good: patriotic atmosphere and crowd control
The Bad: bands and fake finish photos
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race is an awesome 10K that I watched growing up in the city’s suburbs and even when I worked for the newspaper. It was nice to head home for Independence Day weekend and get in a run before watching the fireworks display.
The 10K is the largest race I’ve ever run, and it’s so difficult to get in that there is a lottery system for registration. I was fortunate enough to gain early registration and a guaranteed race number through one of the race’s corporate sponsors.
Despite having nearly 60,000 runners, the Peachtree Road Race didn’t feel overwhelming or crowded. I parked in midtown Atlanta and took MARTA, the city’s public train, to Lenox Square Mall, where the course began. Volunteers herded runners through gates to their corrals, which started with elite runners at A and continued through the alphabet to Y. The corals were spaced about four and a half minutes apart. I snuck into corral F and crossed the start line about 26 minutes after gun time. By the time I finished the race, the last runners were just crossing the start line.
Despite breaking a cardinal race day rule to not try anything new, it was a great race. I wore a blue strappy tank that I purchased the afternoon before from Running Skirts at the race expo. The top was comfortable with its built in support bra and kept me cool.
The Peachtree Road Race is a family-friendly event with strong and consistent support from the city of Atlanta and its residents for 6.2 miles of southern hospitality. Spectators lined the streets without any gaps of encouragement, and restaurants offered snacks, pizza, beer and even jello shots to runners passing by. Many spectators and races donned patriotic costumes.
The downer about the race was that each of the four bands along the course played terribly slow music with not enough beats per minute to motivate runners. It was disappointing considering the overall lively atmosphere. Fortunately, several radio stations broadcasted live from the sidewalks and there was a decent DJ at mile five.
Once on 10th Street, photographers hosted in the air above the road snapped photos of runners at what many thought was the finish line. So like everyone in front of me, I looked up, waved my arms at the cameras, smiled and slowed down. But the cameras were deceptive; we had to run another half mile to the finish line, where runners received their finishers T-shirts, water and sweat towel drenched in ice-cold water. Many vendors handed out free snacks, like Georgia peaches and ice cream.
Both of my parents ran the race too, with Dad crossing the finish line not long after me. We headed over to the Great American Roadhouse for bRUNch.
If you are looking for a 10K, join me for happy hour at the Espirit De She 10K in Atlanta on Nov. 6. There are upcoming races in Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and Illinois. Be sure to register using promo code EDS2.