Peachtree Road Race Pt. 1: History

 

By: Brian Elder

The Peachtree Road Race is one of the greatest races and race environments in the world for runners to participate in each year. What has now become the largest 10k road race in the world has not always been the grand spectacle on the fourth of July as runners make their way down Peachtree Road in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Established: July 4, 1970

On this day in 1970, the Peachtree Road Race began and out of the 150 runners who took their place at the starting line, 110 finished the 6.2 mile course and are now recognized each year as a part of the "Original 110." One of the coolest things about the Peachtree Road Race is that even though there are 60,000 people walking around from the start line to the finish at Piedmont Park you can pick out members of the "Original 110." Most of the people are older runners and wear tank tops with a vintage look that say they are a part of the original runners at the inaugural Peachtree Road Race. A few of these runners have even participated in every single Peachtree Road Race. One thing that the Atlanta Track Club has been able to do around this race is build a history that is worth sharing and celebrating each year. 


1971: First Peachtree shirts handed out at finish

Another tradition that has grown unlike any other race is the t-shirts at the Peachtree Road Race. Although the "Original 100" did not get shirts given to them at the finish line, the shirts were given to runners who completed the second Peachtree in 1971. Beginning in 1995, the t-shirt design entry contest held each year is something that every runner looks forward to voting for so that they can get the logo they like the best on their shirt when they cross the finish line on the 4th of July. 

1995: First Peachtree shirt contest held

The Peachtree Road Race has seen rapid growth from it's earliest race days of a few hundred runners. In 1978 the finish line was moved to Piedmont Park to accommodate 6,500 runners and this growth did not seem to stop as the race limit was set at 25,000 runners in 1980 due to the course being too crowded. This growth even included expanding to more races as the wheel chair division was added in 1982 and the Peachtree Jr in 1987 to encourage families to run. This growth has continued throughout the years as the limit of runners has moved from 40,000 to the new total of 60,000 runners and everywhere in between. Because of these large numbers in 2009 the race was first electronically chip timed and in 2010 start waves were introduced based upon predicted finish times. The Peachtree Road Race is now the US 10k Championship and brings some of the fastest competition from around the world. 


2015: New logo

This year in 2015, the Peachtree has undergone some changes from the past. The Atlanta Track Club, in an effort to unite and bring awareness to their other running events throughout the year along with the Peachtree Road Race in the summer, have gotten rid of their old logo and re-branded to a new badge style logo. The visible change is seen as the new Peachtree logo matches the badge style of the other races that the track club performs throughout the year such as the Atlanta 10 Miler or Atlanta Half Marathon. The new badge logo provides some unity and shows that the Atlanta Track Club, which is the second largest track club in the country behind the New York Road Runners, is more than just the Peachtree Road Race. 


Brian Elder is a learner, amateur explorer, and runner that is going to run until it takes him somewhere. He is a graduate from the University of Georgia where he studied English and Religion. After running competitively on trails and roads, he fuels with an appetite so big you would swear it’s competitive.  Follow Brian on Instagram.