A fun 10km race, currently the largest 10km running event in the world!

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Terrain:   road
  • Length: 10km
  • Flow: Great
  • Scenery: midtown Atlanta
  • Safety Issues:  none
  • Bathrooms: ample port-o-pottos
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Transit Access: yes
  • Parking: not sure
  • Night Access: n/a
  • Special Features: Biggest 10km running event in the world!
  • Nearby Attractions: Coca Cola Factory tour!

Peachtree Road Race Course Map and Elevation Profile

11059383_10152885597375025_2687366676650399966_nThe Peachtree Road Race is organized by the Atlanta Track Club. It is currently in its 47th year and is clearly a fourth fo July weekend tradition in Atlanta.

I happened to be in Atlanta for another event, and when I heard about the Peachtree Road Race, especially the fact that it is the largest 10km running event in the world, I was determined to run it. Lucky for me, the race is very well organized and includes a sanctioned bid selling system: you make a deal with the seller and then you pay a fee to the race to transfer the bib (and all your information) at the race expo. I found a bib in the Peachtree Road Race Facebook group, and was please to pay cost for it (plus the transfer fee). The lovely local girl I bought it off even sent me a message to wish me good luck on race day, must be that southern hospitality!

I hadn’t spent much time in Atlanta before and we did visit the Coca Cola museum during our stay ,which was worth the time spent. The Peachtree Road Race expo was held in a large room at the convention centre in downtown. It had pay parking and was also easily accessible by transit. The expo was very impressive with a wide variety of the typical exhibitors: people selling running clothing and shoes, those advertising races, and people selling race memorabilia. There was a remarkable amount of free stuff: sunglasses, socks, and of course, samples of energy bars, sports jellybeans and sports drinks. I happened to have some non-runner friends with me at the expo, and they were very impressed! They said they had no idea a running expo could be so much fun! They each walked away with a goodie bag of freebies J

The morning of the race it was drizzling, but I didn’t mind and this was a welcome relief from the summer humidity that can be suffocating in Atlanta. I made my way to a local transit stop and took the MARTA to Lennox Station with hundreds of other runners. The ride on the MARTA was an experience in itself; as we neared the race, the train car became jam packed with runners; nobody else could get on board! I was forced to be quite friendly with my fellow passengers, but luckily everyone was excited and we all survived the squished experience with good humor. On arrival, I followed everyone else to the start of the race and found my corral. The corrals are assigned but didn’t seem to be strictly enforced (and because I had purchased a transfer bib I had the corral assigned based on the original participant’s expected finish time!) There were plenty of port-o-pottys near the start corrals.

While the rain fell, I waited for the race to begin, signing along to the Star Spangled Banner with everyone else. The race started pretty efficiently as we shuffled forward to the start gate. With 80 000 people to get through the start gate they have to be efficient!

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The race runs through midtown Atlanta. There were plenty of onlookers, a great cheer squad and lots of on course entertainment, including some very good bands. Of course, there were lots of people dressed up in red white and blue to celebrate July 4th, as well as lots of other fun costumes: people definitely got in the spirit!

11693874_10205783992891277_7358136313059746609_nIt’s a road race, so there weren’t too many obstacles and the road is wide enough to let people pass easily.

The big hill is called cardiac hill. It starts just past the halfway point in the race, is about 1km long and ends just past Piedmont Hospital. I was told by a local that it is called cardiac hill because of the hospital and not because all the runners are huffing and puffing by the top! I have to admit that seeing the hospital patients cheering us on made me feel lucky to be healthy and running: it added to my gratitude for the race!

The race ends in Piedmont Park. As you cross the finish line you are sent through stations to pick up your official race tree shirt. They say it’s a finisher shirt, so you get it when you finish the race! Also, the design is secret, picked from five entries and voted on by the public but kept secret until it is revealed at the finish line. Not a technical t-shirt, but I nice design done by a local artist, I was happy with my race t-shirt. I found out then, that the race was actually closed behind us for a half hour due to lightening! I was so glad I had finished and even hit a 10km personal best. I realized that with such a big race there were still thousands of people still to finish!

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I didn’t stay long at the post race party. I did grab a little post race food (bananas and an energy bar) and then I made my way out of the park. This wasn’t that easy because the park had been fenced off for security reasons and I had to walk the perimeter for quite a while to find an exit!

My sweet husband had decided to pick me up, as it was still pouring rain and he didn’t want me walking home in it. It took us quite a while to figure out a meeting spot! Maybe locals know a better way.

Overall I thought the Peachtree Road Race was a well-organized and fun event with lots of good entertainment on course. For a 10km run event it was particularly good: I loved the expo, the t-shirt was great, and the after race party also looked fun. It did rain, but it wasn’t really a big deal because it was still warm out. The organizers took the participants safety seriously, closing the event when necessary due to lightening, but clearly getting it going again as soon as they could. It’s a lot to organize a great even for 80 000 people, but I have to hand it the Atlanta Track Club: they do it with style!