The Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta – It’s the world’s largest 10K road race. 60.000 runners with more than 45 years and counting in the making. The largest Road Race of any kind in the States. The race attracts some of the world’s elite runners and has served as both the United States’ men’s and women’s 10K championship in the past years.
The Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta is one of the coolest things a runner can experience on Fourth of July. It’s a huge celebration and so much fun and that’s not only because the Peachtree Road Race happens to be on Fourth of July. The atmosphere and the capacity totally reminded me of the TCS NYC Marathon.
The Peachtree Road Race: My experience
Thanks to my partner Bauerfeindsports I was able to receive entry for the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. I traveled to an unknown city, which turned out to be incredibly beautiful and exciting and luckily I was able to spend almost a whole week in “Peachtree City”.
My hotel was in Buckhead which is pretty much where the race starts. The Peachtree begins at Lenox Mall and makes its way to Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta.
The corrals reach from A to Z (like I said it’s a huge race). Since I was able to sent in qualification times during my registration the Atlanta Track Club handed me a BIB in the B corral which started early at 7:05 AM. I’m an early bird and loving running right after waking up, so the time was absolutely perfect for me. We started off on the dot with decent weather in the 90’s and a humidity of 91%. Welcome to Atlanta!
The Peachtree Road Race course
The Peachtree Road Race course is described as a hilly course. Coming from New York with a lot of training sessions in Central Park which is a super hilly course as well I wasn’t too afraid about running the hills in Atlanta. But looking back I totally agree that the Peachtree Road Race is challenging due to it’s hills. Let me break it down:
The first half of the race is pretty much downhill on Peachtree Road. Obviously I tried to run a little faster than my regular race pace to make up some time for the hills in the second half of the course. There are actually 3 of them. The most challenging one is the Cardiac Hill (3.1% incline) which is 3/4 long. Yep, you read it right, 3/4 miles.
I love running hills, but this one even made me curse at the end. It felt awful, more like a staircase that won’t end, mostly because of the heat and the humidity. The weather conditions are extreme at the Peachtree Road Race. And the hill comes abrupt after flying downhill for almost 3 miles.
Ironically the hill finds it’s end in front of Piedmont Hospital.
A shorter hill follows pretty quickly after Cardiac Hill and the last one challenges the runners around Mile 5 (elevation to 973 feet ) which is also called “Olympic Mile”. The last turn left onto 10th Street for the final stretch to the finish was intense. The spectators in Atlanta were amazing and it really was a huge block party where the locals celebrated running and America’s Birthday at the same time. The way to the finish is downhill again so if there is some energy left, that’s the chance.
The Peachtree Road Race Training tips
One of the most important advice I can give to conquer the Peachtree Race in Atlanta is to train the hills. Many of them in a row, because that’s exactly what you’ll have to do here. A hill like the Cardiac Hill is no joke if your legs aren’t used to hills. This part of the race is also where most of the runners are dropping out. So you want to be ready for it.
Another tip is to get your body used to the heat and humidity. I used to run inside when it was uncomfortable hot and humid outside but ever since I knew I will run Atlanta, I never trained on the treadmill again. Our body is so smart and learns to adjust pretty quickly. Running in 90 Degrees weather with a humidity of 91% is tough. Prepare for the worst.
The days before the race I recommend hydrating properly. I also brought a little water bottle filled with Gatorade with me to race so that I won’t have to stop at the fluid stations. My routine when it comes to prefect hydration is one Gatorade the night before the race and another one on race day morning. It works pretty well for me.
Peachtree Road Race Registration
If you want to run the Peachtree Road Race you can either become a member with the Atlanta Track Club and sign up through them, or try the lottery. The lottery window is from March 15 – 22. Members of Atlanta Track Club receiving guaranteed entry into the AJC Peachtree Road Race (membership must be valid by February 1). The members have to register within the period of March 1-14.