Peachtree Road Race Recap

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

ajc peachtree road race 2014

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.

peachtree road race 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.

ajc prr before and after

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.

2014-07-04 10.16.45

2014-07-04 10.17.33

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.

Franklin Half Marathon Race Recap

What? Franklin Half Marathon
Where? rural Franklin, Tennessee
When? June 7, 2014
Who? 664 runners
How much? $60 to $80 depending on registration date

Franklin Half Marathon tech tee and medal

race swag

My finish? 2:33:23
Swag? technical T-shirt, medal, peaches
The Good: scenery, water stations, parking
The Bad: the mile-six hill

Pre-race dinner: balamati rice, tofu, steamed vegetables, soy sauce
Pre-race bfast: water, banana, almond butter and toast
Post-race snack: peaches, chocolate milk, water, blueberry bagel
Post-race bRUNch: garden salad, waffle fries, tropical punch Nuun

Franklin Half Marathon scenery

my view for the entire half marathon

Because I live and work in the heart of Nashville, that is also where most of my runs take place. So all of my major races that take place in the city have me pounding on the same roads I drive and run everyday. The courses are familiar, and they can be mundane. The Franklin Half Marathon was a welcomed change of scenery that kept me captivated all 13.1 miles. The race took place in Tennessee’s countryside, about 30 miles south of Nashville. Runners started in Leiper’s Fork, just feet from the iconic Pucket’s Grocery, one of Middle Tennessee’s best bRUNch spots. It race course took runners down a two-lane state road past farms full of horses, cows, haystacks and corn crops. We passed several state historical markers, including the former home of U.S. Sen. Thomas Hart Benton.

Franklin Half Marathon history lesson

And, of course, there were rolling hills, which were manageable until mile six – an eternal uphill that slowed me to a walk until I reached its peak. I hadn’t run hill repeats in at least two months and was under prepared. Otherwise, it was a good run during a great race on an unseasonably cool and foggy morning. Such a great race, that I finally snapped a decent race photo.

the bRUNcher

The crowd was small, and the volunteers at water stations did plenty of cheering since there weren’t many spectators. Although this wasn’t a closed race course, police did a good job of keeping the few vehicles in the right line, and runners stayed left.

Franklin Half Marathon start line

start line

Franklin Half Marathon finish line

finish line

My favorite part of the Franklin Half was water bags that made the water stations painless. I didn’t get frustrated with paper cups too full with water or volunteers standing in my running path. Instead, there were boxes of chilled 5-ounce water bags for runners to grab at their convenience, bite and gulp down.

Overall, the Franklin Half was a pretty seamless race. Free parking was available on a farm just across the street from the start line. Runners didn’t step on each other’s heals for the first mile, like in large races in Middle Tennessee. Post race amenities included a variety of bagels, candies, fruit and sports drinks with seating. I will definitely run the Franklin Half Marathon again.

the peach truck

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a peak at the bRUNcher's plate

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