Peachtree Road Race Recap

11:45 PM, Jul 4, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Lightning was about the only thing that could cancel the AJC Peachtree Road Race, and that's why organizers kept a close eye on weather conditions throughout the night.

But officials also made it clear that the rain by itself would not be enough to postpone one of the biggest events in the southeast.

"My perception as a runner is that it actually keeps you cooler on July 4th in Atlanta than you might be if it were not raining," said course director Jack Abbott, explaining why the rain would not be a major problem for most of the participants.

60-thousand people were expected to take part, and the rain only kept a fraction of those away.

The average runner would have to slog around 10-thousand steps to get to the finish line and achieve personal glory, most of it in the form of water-cooler braggin rights and the coveted t-shirt.

The colorful new design drawn against a black shirt was a hit for many.

"I think it's pretty awesome," said one veteran runner. "We've never had a black one before, so it's kind of unique and different this year."

For the professionals, the 6.2-mile race went by in a blur, with time hovering slightly more than 30-minutes. The Peachtree is considered one of the premier events, attracting top-tier participants from all over the world, both in the footrace and the wheel chair event, where times were considerably faster.

"As soon as it's raining, you don't think you're going to have that time you want or that you would predict," said men's wheelchair winner Josh Cassidy. "So you just have to put your head down, play to win, and give it everything you're got."

Security for race was both obvious and discreet, with everything from surveillance cameras to high-tech bomb detection scanners. Many of the runners were grateful for the extra precautions.

For April Holbrook, the distinction of finishing last in the Peachtree paled in comparison to what it took to get here.

"Wonderful!" she exclaimed. "I've been planning for five years. I had a stroke ten years ago, and five years ago my mother-in-law and I were talking, and she said 'Why don't you do it?' And I said 'Okay, I will.'"

And she did. In a time of 4-hours, 31-minutes, and fifty-seconds.
Given that her doctor's prognosis was that she didn't have long to live after her stroke, her time in the race was nothing short of magnificent.

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