For the community of AJC Peachtree Road Race participants, spring is the season to train for one of the pre-eminent annual summer events in the ATL. This spring I’m preparing for my 40th consecutive Peachtree, for which I am so grateful and can hardly believe. I did my first in 1978 with about 12,000 par-ticipants. By 1979 registrations reached about 60,000 and became capped. It’s not unusual for many to have long unbroken streaks of Peachtree participation.
In the minds of true Peachtree Road Race enthusiasts, they’ve made their Fourth of July plans even on New Years’ Day. Some do formal Resolution running or walking events and others just know they’ll regis-ter for the race again while mainly staying inside in cold winter.
As winter wanes, March is the month for the 60,000 racers, runners, joggers, walkers and wheelchair athletes to mail in their Atlanta Track Club (ATC) Peachtree registrations, which is formally announced in the AJC. One’s cancelled check serves as receipt for entry. Race applicants can vote for the coveted T-shirt from a short list of 5.
Much later, in the mail, come individual race packets in large envelopes with the necessary number or “bib”. It’s appropriately allocated by ATC depending on official race qualifying documentation (for seeded runners up front) or voluntary information submitted by others.
Meanwhile, world class elites who have coaches, or even neighborhood level competitive Peachtree participants who are self-directed, have elaborate training schedules and techniques to acclimate them-selves to spring heat. Others with different levels of expectations have more modest training but all no-tice the rise of heat and humidity and the need for hydration, of which ATC frequently warns during steady rises in training in April, May and June before the short taper in the first 3 sweltering days of July prior to the race.
If you drive down Peachtree from Lenox Square in spring or early summer you often can see runners on sidewalks, practicing along the race course. One ATC seal logo, in our headline photo, motivates by listing milestone landmarks on the Peachtree Road Race course: start line at Lenox Square, the peak of Cardiac Hill at Piedmont Hospital, and the finish at Piedmont Park, place to party! And celebrate the race end.
–Dr. Paul Hudson