Friday, July 5, 2013
Peachtree Road Race Recap
We race a lot. In fact I was going through our schedule for the rest of the year and we are back to two races a month until December. The Peachtree is different. Hubby and I don't really race this event. It is the world's largest 10K, and the best 4th of July Party ever!!! There is a vibe about the Peachtree that is hard to explain if you have never experienced it. It is iconic here in Atlanta. This year fear, hysteria, and panic proceeded the race. The post-Boston Marathon pall hung over the event ever since April, with some deciding right away they would give away their coveted number. They were convinced terrorist lurked behind the finish line at the world's largest 10K, on Independence Day no less. Neon arrow for statement making. This was not an issue for hubby and I. Not going to let thoughts like that alter our life. Credit to ATC and Atlanta PD they spent the months leading up to the race coming up with comprehensive safety plans and then calming runners and spectators, by communicating constantly about the safety initiatives. Atlanta PD even suspended all officers leave and required 12 on shifts through the holiday.
The fear of terrorism in ATL pales in comparison to the fear of Mother Nature. A tropical depression centered itself over Georgia Wednesday and apparently is really soaking up the Southern hospitality we are famous for, because it is still here! Facebook, Twitter, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and local news filled up with fears about weather and flooding. Could the Peachtree Soldier on and go off without all the runners in floaties and water wings? Would the covet shirt be replaced by life jackets? First if this seems like "um...it's just rain, what's the biggie?" Let me give you a stat, it hasn't rained at the Peachtree since 1991. Maybe we are a little out of practice.
Arriving at the race in the garbage bag rain jacket hubby crafted for me the night before. Hubby had one, but he is too tough for that so he just wore his Tee, shorts and hat. We had a little light rain pre-race. As we made it to our corral and I ripped off the bag the rain just stopped. We started out and the cool, temperate weather was a welcome change. Rain held off for the race, at least for those who ran in the earlier corrals. The Peachtree is an experience not a race. The course is lined with spectators and 3,200 volunteers. There are bands and music, water sprays, and people throwing out beer and T-shirts, shooting confetti guns. I loved the girls in the matching rain ponchos that wrote across them "Move your heiny! I am Bored." There were two firefighters in full gear doing a memorial run for the 19 brave heroes who lost their lives in Arizona. Many people stopped to offer their thanks and gratitude to these brave men. Highlighting my point about not so much of a race. For me the best part is running up Heartbreak Hill. It is lined with patients from the Shepherd Spinal Center. They have their hands out to high five and tell you to work hard and finish strong. This race was marked by folks in all shades of yellow and blue wearing verbal or color memorials for Boston. Kids line the sides wanting runners to slap their hands. I am not going to win the Peachtree, and this is one of dozens of races we do, so I am going to give those kids what they want. We run through the water sprays and move over by the Catholic church to get our holy water and blessing...you never know. This year hubby got his wish and finally found the beer and finished the race holding up the beer like the beacon the Statue of Liberty holds. He also ran the last two miles barefoot. Something he always wanted to do. I think all of that is the spirit of the Peachtree.
It ends at Piedmont Park where there are more bands and all your friends and family. Also the coveted T-shirt that has been under wraps. This year after endless rain the park was sort of like the seen of Woodstock. My NB Minimus Road will definitely need some recovery time. It was muddy. After having a free breakfast at ATC's tent and meeting a few friends at Piedmont, one who was in town from Phoenix, we felt we had tempted the rain Gods long enough. We had about two miles back to the car so we headed back. A lot the later participants were walking and struggling. These folks tend to not be your regular runners. We spent the two miles back along the race course holding up the shirt giving them a preview and yelling this is what you are running for! Some smiled and perked up. Some started jogging. Some gave us a thumbs up. As we got to the car the rain started. It stayed with us all day! It stayed away for what we wanted most.
Our time was 1:01 about 9:40/mile. We had stopped to use the portapotty on the course. We pulled off for him to go barefoot and we took the time to appreciate the experience. We can both run a 10K faster, but every year as we cross the finish line we say we should have gone slower and enjoyed it more. It is over so fast. Already excited about next year!!