Every 4th of July in Atlanta 55,000 people (this year 60,000) gather along Peachtree Road before the hot summer sun rises to run the AJC Peachtree Road Race. The streets, normally bustling with traffic, become lined with Atlanta natives and out of state visitors eager to run the 10k that takes them through the swanky streets of Buckhead to the hip corners of Midtown and into our beloved Piedmont Park. As you can imagine, just like rush hour is crowded with cars, the streets become crowded with runners.
Start Wave Assignments
Last year the Atlanta Track Club added performance based start assignments for the 2010 AJC Peachtree Road Race as a way to ease the congestion at the start. The start waves went well, so the same process will continue for the 2011 event. Participants have the opportunity to submit a finish time from a past race during registration and they will be placed in the appropriate start wave based on their time. Assigning start positions based on performance will enhance every participant’s experience by easing congestion at the start line as well as along the course. View the 2011 start wave assignments here.
What makes a race a Peachtree qualifier?
A Peachtree qualifier is any race- 5K, 10K, 15K, Half Marathon- that is run on a USATF certified course. All ATC races can be submitted for Peachtree too.
What races are Peachtree qualifiers?
If you want to make the most of the start wave placement, but have yet to run on a USATF certified course this year, I’ve compiled a list of 10 upcoming races in the Atlanta metro area that can be used as Peachtree qualifiers (and make the registration cutoff date). Below are 10 races you can squeeze in before registration begins:
1. Charles Harris 10k
The 10K race on February 26, 2011 begins at Tucker High School, proceeds West on Highway 29, and concludes at Shamrock High School. It is certified by the USATF. The course is relatively fast and flat, making it a popular choice. More information here.
2. The Sham Rock & Roll Atlantic Station
If you really want to submit a race time, but still need to get in shape, then this might be the race for you. The race is held on March 13, 2011- the day before registration begins for the general public (please note that if you are an ATC member then registration closes on March 14, 2011 so you would have one day left to register and submit your time). The race begins and ends at Atlantic Station, on 17th Street west of I-75/85 in Midtown and will run through the surrounding neighborhoods. Entertainment is provided for participants and the Irish-themed event is dog friendly and stroller friendly. More information here.
3. The Gate River Run 15K
If you are looking for a weekend getaway, this out of state race is the perfect opportunity. The Gate River Run is an annual 15K road race in Jacksonville, Fla. that attracts both competitive and recreational runners. It has been the US National Championship 15K since 1994 and in 2007 became the largest 15K race in the country. The race is held March 12, 2011. ATC members- Please note that this race is two days before ATC member registration ends on March 14, 2011. More information here.
4. Peachtree City 5K & 10K
The ATC Peachtree City 10K is flat, fast and scenic course run mainly on golf cart paths on January 22, 2011. Best of all, it’s free to ATC members and only $10 for non-members. More information here.
5. Hearts & Soles 5K
Come celebrate your love of running with the Atlanta Track Club on February 12, 2011 at the Hearts and Soles 5K! The course is a fast, out-and-back course on paved roads. There is a minimum of turns, but there is a fairly tight u-turn at the turnaround point. It is the perfect opportunity to run a personal best! More information here.
6. Freedom Run 10K
The Freedom Run 10K is held Saturday, February 12, 2011. The Freedom Run course starts and finishes on the wooded campus of Clayton State. The 10K course loops through the surrounding neighborhoods within the cities of Morrow and Lake City. Please note that while a 5K is also attached to this event only the 10K course is certified. More information here.
7. Run for Angels 10K
The Run for Angels 10K is the perfect opportunity to explore historic downtown Newnan, Georgia. Race begins on Greenville St. between Salbide Ave. and Savannah St. and finishes on Salbide Ave, adjacent to the First United Methodist Church. More information here.
8. Marietta Mardi Gras 5K
The Marietta Mardi Gras 5K is held on February 12, 2011 on the square in downtown Marietta. All proceeds benefit the ongoing community projects that are sponsored by the Junior League of Cobb-Marietta. All participants receive a short-sleeved technical t-shirt and plenty of food and fluids after the race. More information here.
9. Berry Half Marathon, 5K & 10K
The Berry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K races are held on the largest campus in the world – Berry College’s 26,000 acre wonderland, packed with miles and miles of historic buildings, pristine forest and diverse wildlife. The race is held Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 8 a.m. More information here.
10. Tartan Trot 5K & 10K
Join an anticipated 1,200 runners on January 29, 2011 for the 2011 Tartan Trot 5K/10K race. The Tartan Trot is a fast growing Dunwoody road race event featuring bag pipes at the start. More information here.
You can find a list of USATF certified courses in Georgia here. Be sure to let us know what race you plan on submitting as your qualifying time in the comments section below. We look forward to seeing you on July 4, 2011. Happy running!