Atlanta has quite the running community and no shortage of races. It’s no surprise that it has rightfully and proudly claimed the nickname of Running City USA thanks to the Atlanta Track Club. One of the most popular (if not THE most) races every year in Atlanta and the southeast in general is the Peachtree Road Race. Put on by the AJC, The Atlanta Track Club and PNC Bank, it’s the largest 10k in the world with 60,000 participants! People come from different states to be part of this event. It’s held every year on July 4th and this year was the 50th anniversary of this much anticipated race.
Due to its popularity, race entry is won via a lottery or if you’re an Atlanta Track club member or work for a sponsor, you can get guaranteed entry. I signed up with my cousin who had run it before, but this was my first time.
As with most large races, there’s a race expo prior to the event where you can go pick up your runner’s bib and partake in the pre-race celebration. The Peachtree Road Race expo included games, photo ops, freebies, the local news, registrations for various other races and shopping for all kinds of running apparel and goods. Personally, I picked up a new headband (not for this run, specifically) and some energizing snacks for the run (shout out to Honey Stinger for the cinnnamon waffle snack!)
The morning of the race we drove to the closest Marta station to take the train into the city. Due to the number of participants and spectators, it’s HIGHLY recommended that everyone uses public transportation because parking will be nearly impossible otherwise. The anticipation and excitement started there as the train station was packed with people attending the race.
Once off the train we walked maybe about a half mile to the starting point in Buckhead (the race started in front of Lenox mall).
Music was playing and the announcer was helping to build up the energy as we waited for our wave to be released. During this time we also had the opportunity to take some pre-race photos in our costumes before getting all hot and sweaty. We went with a Wonder Woman theme for our matching costumes and thoroughly enjoyed it!
(At the train station before reaching the starting line)
One thing I loved about the the event was that they provided music for us all throughout the route. Since it was the big 50th anniversary, they set up DJ booths playing music from each of the 5 decades since the race began in 1969. It was a nice touch and I had never seen that done before at a running event.
Now I’ve participated in enough runs and walks to be familiar with and appreciate the spectators. However, the spectators at the Peachtree Road Race are hands down the BEST I’d ever seen! They offered everything from snacks, beverages (including beer if you wanted), more music, hilarious signs and encouraging words to keep us all going! It was great to see people throughout the city come out to support, encourage and entertain the runners and walkers. They really added to the experience and positive energy of the race.
A part of this particular race route that is well known is “Cardiac Hill.” It’s the part of the route has a definite incline and has built a reputation for itself, apparently. Fortunately, I was walking around this point so it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be, especially with the humidity that day!
One of my favorite aspects of this event was that it wasn’t about who was the fastest or beating your personal record (although those kind of races can be fun too). The Peachtree Road Race felt like a gathering of people that were there for the love of the sport and to have a great time in a city we love while doing it.
With the music, costumes, spectators, and overall energy, I’m looking forward to the next one! If you’ve participated in it before or are thinking about it, share with me below or on social. Hope to see you there next year!