The Peachtree and Independence Day

Since 1970, the Peachtree Road Race, organized by the Atlanta Track Club (ATC) has become an enduring, endearing city tradition. In the first race, runners paid a $2 entry fee and lined up at the old start at the intersection of Peachtree and West Paces in Buckhead. Of the 150 who ran in July 4th heat and humidity, 110 participants, including three women, completed the 10 K (6.2 mile) course, finishing at Equitable Plaza downtown. Atlantan Jeff Galloway, an Olympian and running guru, came in first place.

 

The philosophy of the Peachtree, however, was that all who finished were winners. To honor participants Tim Singleton of the ATC suggested commemorative T shirts. And so in the 2nd race in 1971, ATC awarded the cov-eted shirts to all finishers, creating an all-inclusive atmosphere.

 

In the bicentennial year 1976, the event gained solid sponsorship as the AJC Peachtree Road Race. By 1978 it had 12,000 participants and within a few years it grew to 60,000, which is now capped as what the city can safely handle, and runs from Lenox Square to Piedmont Park. Every July 4th the Peachtree Road Race exhibits our na-tional ideals: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

 

Dr. Paul Hudson, a historian at GSU Perimeter College, has completed every Peachtree Road Race since 1978.