Local family laced together by Peachtree Road Race

10:20 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- With the AJC Peachtree Race closing in, we received a Facebook message asking if we would help a wonderful family and their beloved father and grandfather secure a race number. 

This is a story of tradition, family and Atlanta. It's the story of an Emory trained dentist who thought his running days were over and his annual run with loved ones through the streets of the city were over. But for Dr. Jennings Bristol it is just the beginning. 

Dr. Bristol was on track to missing his first Peachtree Road Race since the 1970's when he had a light stroke on January 7. 

Because of the stroke and weakness on one side of his body,  Dr. Bristol figured the race on July 4th was out of the question; he didn't even send in his application. However, he managed to get a race number. 

His family has been running the famed 10K race since Lenox Mall was as open air as Piedmont Park. And he has pictures and pictures and pictures chronicle over the last 40 years. 

The stacks of Peachtree Road Race t-shirts bear testimony to fitness and July 4th. And he has other memories too.

According to his daughter Anita, "it's just a family tradition and he's the reason."

Dr. Bristol's daughter Anita Bristol Merryman says her father and the great race are always synonymous. 

"Health has been such and important part to him -- he's made it important to all of us, " said Bristol Merryman. 

"All of us" is a term you hear inside the Bristol home. This is a big wonderful Cobb County family tied together by their patriarch and the event that defines summertime in Atlanta in so many ways.

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