Peachtree Road Race

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AJC Peachtree Road Race
File:New Peachtree Road Race.jpg
logo unveiled January 2015
Location Atlanta, Georgia United States
Distance 10 kilometers (6.2 mi)
Established July 4, 1970
Participants 60,000

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race is a 10-kilometer run held annually in Atlanta, Georgia on July 4, Independence Day. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is the world's largest 10 kilometer race (an estimated 60,000 participants in 2011),[1][2] a title it has held since the late 1970s.[3] The race has become a city-wide tradition in which over 70,000 amateur and professional runners try to register for one of the limited 60,000 spots. The event also includes a wheelchair race (known as the Shepherd Center wheelchair division), which precedes the footrace. In recent years the race also has a special divisions for soldiers stationed in the Middle East. The race attracts some of the world's elite 10K runners and has served as both the United States' men's and women's 10K championship.

Children can participate in the Peachtree Junior 3K, 1/2K or 50m Dash, held in May.


2007 Peachtree Road Race

The AJC Peachtree Road Race was started in 1970 by Atlanta Track Club. The first year, 110 runners ran from the old Sears building at the corner of Peachtree Road and Roswell Road to Central City Park (now Woodruff Park). The race was sponsored by Carling Brewery. The next year the race increased to 198 runners. Organizers used the sponsorship money to purchase T-shirts but underestimated the number of participants. T-shirts were given out to the first finishers until they ran out. In 1972 the organizers only ordered 250 T-shirts but 330 runners ran the race. In 1974 the event grew to 765 runners; in 1975 there were over 1,000 runners.[1]

In 1976 Carling Brewery dropped its sponsorship of the race and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution began sponsoring the race, bringing added coverage and popularity to the race. That year over 2,300 runners competed. In 1977 over 6,500 runners competed, overwhelming the capacity of Central City Park. As a result, in 1978 the course was moved to starting at Lenox Square and finishing at Piedmont Park. In 1979 the race attracted over 20,000 runners. In 1980 the number of participants was limited to 25,000 runners, which continued until 1990. In 1982 the Shepherd Center wheelchair division was formed for the race.[1]

The race became so popular that by 1989 the race reached capacity in only nine days and Atlanta Track Club increased the limit to 40,000 in 1990. In 1992 it expanded to 45,000 runners; in 1995 it expanded to 50,000 runners, followed by a 10% expansion in 1998 to 55,000 runners; it would not be until 2011 that the capacity was expanded to 60,000.[1]

2006 Peachtree Road Race participants wearing US-patriotic costumes

The AJC Peachtree Road Race has become an event important in Atlanta culture. In addition to the 60,000 participants there are approximately 150,000 observers who line both sides of the entire course to cheer and support the runners.[4] Some runners deliberately wear costumes, many of which are patriotic (due to the event occurring on Independence Day). The entire race is also televised on WXIA-TV.[1]

The race hosted the USA Men's 10 km Championship in 2007.

Course description

The AJC Peachtree Road Race is a 10,000 meter road race. The race starts on Peachtree Road at Lenox Square Mall (just south of Lenox Road). The race continues down Peachtree into midtown Atlanta, turning left onto 10th Street for the final kilometer before ending at 10th St. and Charles Allen Dr. Piedmont Park provides the setting for post race festivities including a band and awards ceremony. The course and elevation map can be found here: After a largely downhill first half, runners cross Peachtree Creek and tackle 3/4 mile long Cardiac Hill, which culminates at Peachtree and Collier Rd. in front of Piedmont Hospital. Mile 5 has been known as the Olympic Mile, where banners and theme music entertained IOC members in 1990 during Atlanta's bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics.

In 2008, because of severe drought conditions, the race was unable to end in Piedmont Park, and runners turned east onto 10th street before heading to Juniper Street, ending at the intersection of Ponce de Leon and Juniper St, where racers finished by going uphill instead of the older downhill stretch of 10th St. Runners then walked a short distance to the Atlanta Civic Center for finish line festivities. This unpopular course lasted one year, after which the course returned to the traditional pattern.

As typical of other road races, the roads used are completely closed to vehicular traffic and observers watch from the sidewalks. Water is provided at each mile; approximately 500,000 cups and 120,000 gallons of water are used.[3] Approximately 3,000 volunteers are needed to work the race.[3]

Many runners utilize MARTA to travel to the start site and back from the finish line due to the large crowds, limited parking and road closures.

Race registration and starting group placement

Runners on procession

Until 2008, applications for registration in the AJC Peachtree Road Race were published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the third Sunday in March. The first 45,000 applications received were automatically entered into the race; an additional 10,000 applications are randomly selected from remaining applications post-marked by March 31. The race is currently limited to 60,000 entries. The 2009 registration fee is $33.[5] Atlanta Track Club requires runners to be at least 10 years of age on the day of the race.

The race is divided into 21 starting groups, all based on times verified at USA Track and Field certified courses with the past two years at distances between 5 km and 21.1 km (half marathon) races that the runner must submit to the Atlanta Track Club at time of registration in March. The last groups (W, X, and Y) will be assigned to runners that did not send a verified time from a USATF-certified course. Seeded runners, invited athletes, and the first group (Group A) start at 7:30 AM, while groups are launched between four and six minutes each, with the last group (Group Y) starting at 9:05 AM.[6]

Due to the limited number of spaces available in the race, as well as the three and a half month advance registration requirement, some people have attempted to sell their number on eBay and craigslist, although this practice is prohibited by Atlanta Track Club. Runners who are assigned a number for the race, and subsequently cannot run, are able to return their number to Atlanta Track Club in exchange for a card guaranteeing placement in next year's race. (Registration fees, however, are not refunded.)

On July 4, 2007, three men were caught sneaking into the AJC Peachtree Road Race. In addition to a $1,000 fine, each was banned from the AJC Peachtree Road Race for life.[citation needed]

2009 changes

Starting in 2009, registration applications began to be implemented online on the site, in association with Atlanta Track Club starting on the third Sunday in March. Controversy ruled over the 2009 registration, as over 800 complaints were filed because of server failures by the outsourced registration. The 45,000 applications sold out within hours.[7]

The next Sunday, applications for the 10,000 slot lottery are published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution These slots are randomly selected from remaining applications post-marked by March 31.

Atlanta Track Club experimented in November 2008 at The Weather Channel Atlanta Marathon and Half Marathon with implementation of the ChronoTrack D-Tag transponder system, a disposable tag system. Following its success, the organization announced starting with the 2009 Peachtree, all runners—not just the elite and timegroup 1 runners—will be timed. This will help with positioning runners for future Peachtree events.[8]

2010 changes

Online registration for the 2010 PRR opened on Sunday, March 21 at 1:00 pm at The first 45,000 online applicants receive race entry. Additionally, a paper application appears in the March 28 AJC. 10,000 entries will be randomly selected from all paper applications received. The online spots were filled in less than five hours.[9]

In one of the biggest changes seen in race history, starting assignments for all participants will be performance based. Once the top seeded and sub seeded runners start, timegroups 1A, 1B, and 2-9 have been replaced with start waves A-W (19 in total, with letters I, O, Q and V omitted). Applicants are able to submit results from an official race (run on a USATF certified course), run on or after March 1, 2008, of distances of 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles, the 1/2 marathon, and for the first time, the shorter 5K distance.

2011 changes

Atlanta Track Club switched to an exclusive lottery format online for the 2011 Peachtree. Most of the 60,000 positions were determined by a lottery draw, with selected exceptions for elite invited athletes, the members of the organizing club, and those who have run ten or more consecutive Peachtree Road Races, all of which were allowed automatic entry. Also, those who pay $150 for the organizers' charity would be automatically entered.[10]


File:Peachtree tshirt 2009.jpg
2009 Peachtree Road Race T-shirt

The official race T-shirt is perhaps the most popular aspect of the AJC Peachtree Road Race, perhaps due to the limited numbers of T-shirts available in the early race years. Each year a different design is chosen through a contest sponsored by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper and a limited number of shirts are made. T-shirts are only available to runners who finish the race, and thus have become a status-symbol among Atlanta culture.

2008 course

With the entire north Georgia region facing historic drought conditions in 2008, water conservation measures were enacted prohibiting outdoor watering of plants and lawns. As a result of the watering ban, the City of Atlanta decided to prohibit large festivals (over 50,000 people) from using Piedmont Park in 2008 in order to protect the grass lawns which could not be watered. Displaced events included the Atlanta Pride, Jazz, and Dogwood Festivals as well as the Peachtree Road Race which traditionally used Piedmont Park for the finish line of the race and distribution of T-shirts.[2] The AJC Peachtree Road Race considered moving the finish area to Georgia Tech, but Georgia Tech refused, citing safety concerns.[11] On February 19 it was announced that the race finish line will be at the intersection of Juniper Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown. Runners then walked three more blocks to the Atlanta Civic Center parking area where the awards stage, family meeting area and sponsor village were located.[12] The race returned to its previous course in 2009.

Race financials

It is estimated that the AJC Peachtree Road Race costs over $1,000,000, if in-kind contributions are included.[13] The race must pay between $25,000 and $30,000 to government agencies for their costs of supporting the race. T-shirts for runners and volunteers are estimated to cost over $200,000. The race also pays $25,000 for its timing system and $100,000 for contract labor.[13] The AJC Peachtree Road Race was estimated in 2003 to have an economic impact over $10,000,000.[13] Profits from the race entry fees and sponsorships are used to fund the Atlanta Track Club.[13]

Race competitions

Kilometer Kids Charity Chase

First held during the 2014 race, the annual Kilometer Kids Charity Chase features six teams representing each branch of the military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard and the Navy. Each team will have six runners each, all competing for bragging rights in two areas: the fastest military branch, and the team that receives the most donations for Atlanta Track Club's Kilometer Kids youth running program.[14]

The military competition takes place after the Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division of the AJC Peachtree Road Race, and before the Peachtree Cup elite competition and general race waves begin.[14]

On the online portion of the fundraiser allows supporters to select a military team at the time of donation. All proceeds go towards the Atlanta Track Club's Kilometer Kids youth program. Starting in 2015 a portion of the donations donations will go towards starting a Kilometer Kids program at Fort Benning, the first one to be established on a military base.[14]

Peachtree Cup

The Peachtree Cup is an elite team competition, which had its inaugural at the 2015 Peachtree Road Race. The competition takes place after the Kilometer Kids Charity Chase and before the general race waves began their run. The Peachtree Cup, features four entries: Team USA, Team Africa, Team Asia, and Team Europe. The roster of each team consist of six athletes, three men and three women vying for international bragging rights. One member of each team is selected as the team captain. The determining of the winning team consists of combining each of the team members’ individual finish times together and the team with the fastest cumulative time is the winner. The team that comes in first place will receive the first-place prize of $42,000 US Dollars.[15]

Wheelchair division

Founded in 1982 by the Shepherd Center, the Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division of AJC Peachtree Road Race proceeds the foot race, starting at 6:45 AM. The wheelchair division utilizes the same 10 kilometer course run by the foot runners down Peachtree Road, starting at Lenox Road and ending on 10th Street at Piedmont Park in Midtown. Since its 1981 founding the wheelchair division has grown in popularity that the race now attracts more than 78 wheelchair racers ranging in age from 16 to 69 and representing more than nine countries. Today, the Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division of AJC Peachtree Road Race is considered one of the largest and fastest wheelchair 10K races in the country and is a favorite for many racers who return year after year.[16][17]

Wheelchair race divisions

The Shepherd Center and its Junior Committee fund and organize the wheelchair division race in cooperation with the Atlanta Track Club. Funding provides pre-and post-race brunches, defrayed travel and lodging expenses for racers and a $34,000 purse for winners. The Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division of AJC Peachtree Road Race racing division are as follows:

  • Open Men’s Division
  • Open Women’s Division
  • Open Quad Division (some upper-body paralysis)
  • T-1 Quad Division (more paralysis with limited hand function)
  • Masters Division (40 years of age and older)
  • Junior Division (ages 12 to 21 years old)[18]

Overseas races

2007 running of the Peachtree Road Race in Iraq
2013 running of the Peachtree Road Race in Afghanistan
2015 running of the Peachtree Road Race in Kuwait

Since 2004, satellite Peachtree Races have been held for US soldiers stationed overseas. The first race was held in Iraq. In 2007 five separate races were held on July 4 (one in Kuwait, three in Iraq, and one in Afghanistan) with a combined total of 3000 participants.[19] The Atlanta Track Club sends race supplies, including T-shirts, to the runners.

Peachtree Junior

Started in 1987, The Peachtree Junior consists of three races:

  • 3 kilometer (1.9 mi) race open to children ages 7 to 14
  • 12 kilometre (0.31 mi) for ages 5–9
  • Lil' Peach a 50 metres (160 ft) Dash race for ages 6 & younger

The race is designed to be a shorter and safer version of the longer Peachtree Road Race. All race participants get the opportunity to take part in the Peachtree Jr. Challenge, which awards scholarships to the top three organizations that sign up the most kids! The event is held in late May or early June. The entire course is within the confines of Piedmont Park. The race is limited to 2,500 participants. T-shirts are given to all race finishers. The event has been held over 20 years.[20][21]

Past winners

The 2013 finisher's medal, available for purchase as an additional option at registration. The coveted Peachtree T-shirt is provided to all participants who cross the finish line.

The men's course record is 27:04 minutes, which was set by Joseph Kimani in 1996. Lornah Kiplagat is the women's record holder with her run of 30:32 from 2002.[3] The record for the wheelchair division of the Peachtree Road Race is 18:38:06 (Saul Mendoza) 2004.[3] The women's division record is 22:09:97 (Edith Hunkler) 2009.[3] Gayle Barron and Lornah Kiplagat are the athletes with the most victories in the history of the Peachtree Road Race. Barron won in the women's division on five occasion (1970–71, 1973–75), while Kiplagat had her victories from 2000–2002 and 2005–2006.[3]

Key:       Course record       United States national championship race

Edition Year Men's winner Time (m:s) Women's winner Time (m:s)
1st 1970  Jeff Galloway (USA) 32:21.6  Gayle Barron (USA) 49:13
2nd 1971  Bill Herron (USA) 30:58  Gayle Barron (USA) 45:17
3rd 1972  Scott Eden (USA) 31:10  Gillian Valk (GB) 47:42
4th 1973  Bill Blewett (USA) 31:22  Gayle Barron (USA) 40:37
5th 1974  Wayne Roach (USA) 30:47  Gayle Barron (USA) 38:40
6th 1975  Ed Leddy (IRL) 29:52  Gayle Barron (USA) 38:04
7th 1976  Don Kardong (USA) 29:14  Janice Gage (USA) 39:13
8th 1977  Frank Shorter (USA) 29:20  Peg Neppel (USA) 36:00
9th 1978  Mike Roche (USA) 28:59  Mary Slaney (USA) 33:52
10th 1979  Craig Virgin (USA) 28:30  Heather Carmichael (NZL) 33:39
11th 1980  Craig Virgin (USA) 28:39  Patti Catalano (USA) 32:48
12th 1981  Craig Virgin (USA) 28:03  Allison Roe (NZL) 32:38
13th 1982  Jon Sinclair (USA) 28:17  Anne Audain (NZL) 32:36
14th 1983  Michael Musyoki (KEN) 28:22  Grete Waitz (NOR) 32:01
15th 1984  Filbert Bayi (TAN) 28:35  Betty Jo Geiger (USA) 32:55
16th 1985  Michael Musyoki (KEN) 27:58  Grete Waitz (NOR) 32:03
17th 1986  John Doherty (IRL) 27:56  Grete Waitz (NOR) 32:10
18th 1987  Joseph Nzau (KEN) 28:34  Lynn Jennings (USA) 32:22
19th 1988  Jean-Pierre Ndayisenga (BDI) 28:17  Grete Waitz (NOR) 32:09
20th 1989  Ibrahim Hussein (KEN) 28:13  Judi St. Hiliare (USA) 32:05
21st 1990  Dionicio Cerón (MEX) 28:23  Cathy O'Brien (USA) 32:04
22nd 1991  Ed Eyestone (USA) 28:34  Dorthe Rasmussen (DEN) 32:42
23rd 1992  Sammy Lelei (KEN) 27:56  Francie Larrieu Smith (USA) 31:49
24th 1993  Thomas Osano (KEN) 28:06  Uta Pippig (GER) 32:15
25th 1994  Benson Masya (KEN) 28:01  Anne-Marie Lauck (USA) 31:57
26th 1995  Simon Morolong (RSA) 28:00  Joan Nesbit (USA) 32:20
27th 1996  Joseph Kimani (KEN) 27:04  Hellen Kimaiyo (KEN) 30:52
28th 1997  Joseph Kimani (KEN) 27:43  Hellen Kimaiyo (KEN) 31:21
29th 1998  Khalid Khannouchi (MAR) 27:47  Hellen Kimaiyo (KEN) 31:52
30th 1999  Khalid Khannouchi (MAR) 27:45  Elana Meyer (RSA) 31:34
31st 2000  Alene Reta (ETH) 28:04  Lornah Kiplagat (KEN) 30:52
32nd 2001  John Korir Kipsang (KEN) 28:19  Lornah Kiplagat (KEN) 30:58
33rd 2002  Paul Malakwen Kosgei (KEN) 27:36  Lornah Kiplagat (KEN) 30:32
34th 2003  Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (KEN) 28:22.7  Susan Chepkemei (KEN) 31:12.1
35th 2004  Martin Lel (KEN) 28:04  Susan Chepkemei (KEN) 31:55
36th 2005  Gilbert Okari (KEN) 28:19  Lornah Kiplagat (NED) 31:17
37th 2006  Martin Lel (KEN) 27:25  Lornah Kiplagat (NED) 31:13
38th 2007  Martin Mathathi (KEN) 28:01  Wude Ayalew (ETH) 31:44
39th 2008  Terefe Maregu (ETH) 28:30  Nataliya Berkut (UKR) 32:23
40th 2009  Sammy Kitwara (KEN) 27:22  Lineth Chepkurui (KEN) 31:31
41st 2010  Gebre Gebremariam (ETH) 27:56  Lineth Chepkurui (KEN) 30:51
42nd 2011  Sammy Kitwara (KEN) 28:05  Werknesh Kidane (ETH) 31:22
43rd 2012  Peter Kirui (KEN) 27:36  Mamitu Daska (ETH) 32:21
44th 2013  Mosinet Geremew (ETH) 28:04  Lineth Chepkurui (KEN) 32:07
45th 2014  Christo Landry (USA) 28:25  Amy Hastings (USA) 32:16
46th 2015  Scott Overall (GB) 29:30  Alexi Pappas (USA) 33:28

Past wheelchair division winners

Key:       Course record       United States national championship race

Edition Year Men's winner Time (m:s) Women's winner Time (m:s)
1st 1982  George Murray (USA) 27:38 N/A 00:00
2nd 1983  George Murray (USA) 26:50  Candace Cable Brooks (USA) 31:34
3rd 1984  George Murray (USA) 26:45  Sharon Hendrick (USA) 29:17
4th 1985  George Murray (USA) 25:24  Candace Cable Brooks (USA) 30:22
5th 1986  Jim Martinson (USA) 24:22  Candace Cable Brooks (USA) 30:21
6th 1987  Craig Blanchette (USA) 25:08  Candace Cable Brooks (USA) 30:38
7th 1988  Mustapha Badid (FRA) 23:00  Candace Cable Brooks (USA) 27:54
8th 1989  Craig Blanchette (USA) 21:52  Sharon Hendrick (USA) 26:48
9th 1990  Doug Kennedy (USA) 21:09  Ann Cody-Morris (USA) 25:29
10th 1991  Craig Blanchette (USA) 20:17  Jean Driscoll (USA) 23:46
11th 1992  Craig Blanchette (USA) 20:07  Connie Hanson (USA) 24:01
12th 1993  Paul Wiggins (AUS) 19:58  Louise Sauvage (AUS) 24:12
13th 1994  Craig Blanchette (USA) 20:14  Jean Driscoll (USA) 23:13
14th 1995  Craig Blanchette (USA) 20:10  Jean Driscoll (USA) 24:15
15th 1996  Paul Wiggins (AUS) 19:29  Jean Driscoll (USA) 23:32
16th 1997  Franz Nietlispach (CH) 19:08  Louise Sauvage (AUS) 25:04
17th 1998  Franz Nietlispach (CH) 19:06  Chantal Petitclerc (CAN) 25:21
18th 1999  Saul Mendoza (MEX) 19:05  Chantal Petitclerc (CAN) 24:13
19th 2000  Franz Nietlispach (CH) 19:27  Jean Driscoll (USA) 24:17
20th 2001  Ernst van Dyk (RSA) 18:48  Christina Ripp (USA) 24:29
21st 2002  Krige Schabort (USA) 18:57  Christina Ripp (USA) 23:38
22nd 2003  Krige Schabort (USA) 18:49  Christina Ripp (USA) 24:03
23rd 2004  Saul Mendoza (MEX) 18:38:06  Diane Roy (CAN) 23:57:56
24th 2005  Kelly Smith (CAN) 19:19:22  Edith Hunkler (USA) 23:18:47
25th 2006  Krige Schabort (USA) 18:52:00  Edith Hunkler (USA) 23:22:80
26th 2007  Kurt Fearnley (AUS) 19:25:90  Amanda McGrory (USA) 23:11:05
27th 2008  Kurt Fearnley (AUS) 19:55:50  Edith Hunkler (USA) 24:30:20
28th 2009  Marcel Hug (CH) 19:36:91  Edith Hunkler (USA) 22:09:97
29th 2010  Josh Cassidy (CAN) 18:53:88  Tatyana McFadden (USA) 23:47:66
30th 2011  Krige Schabort (USA) 19:47:15  Tatyana McFadden (USA) 23:39:26
31st 2012  Aaron Gordian (MEX) 19:52:02  Tatyana McFadden (USA) 23:53:08
32nd 2013  Josh Cassidy (CAN) 21:12:86  Manuela Schar (CH) 24:42:39
33rd 2014  Krige Schabort (USA) 20:30:17  Tatyana McFadden (USA) 23:17:42
34th 2015  Kurt Fearnley (AUS) 20:55:16  Tatyana McFadden (USA) 23:57:23

Past peachtree cup winners

Key:       Team caption       Course record

Edition Year Team winner/time (m:s) Team Men Time (m:s) Team Women Time (m:s)
1st 2015 Team Africa 3:06:29
 Daniel Salel (KEN) 28:43  Buze Diriba (ETH) 32:13
 Gebre Gebremariam (ETH) 29:42  Caroline Kilel (KEN) 32:30
 Lusapho April (RSA) 29:57  Valentine Kibet (KEN) 33:27


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List of winners

External links