Peachtree Road Race: Changes coming to 2010 event

Online registration for the 41st running of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race will open at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 21, the Atlanta Track Club announced Jan. 28. Read the full story here.

Of even greater importance to Peachtree participants, however, may be this event change for 2010:

“For the first time, start assignments will be performance-based instead of randomly assigned, and the number of start waves will nearly double, allowing for smaller waves and better distribution of participants. The track club is hoping these steps will help ease congestion at the start line and along the course.”

YOU TELL US: What’s your opinion of the changes set to happen for the 2010 Peachtree? Do you think they’ll improve the race or is the event losing some of the “come one, come all” spirit that helped it grow in popularity over the years in an effort to appeal to today’s more serious runners?

73 comments Add your comment

SCATL

January 28th, 2010
11:43 am

Good idea with start assignment changes, but I’m not thrilled with moving the Expo to downtown from Buckhead. I think we’ll have to PAY for parking, don’t you think? I also wasn’t thrilled with having to PAY more to register online last year. Shouldn’t the Internet ultimately make it cheaper?

Jason

January 28th, 2010
1:39 pm

I have not run in the Peachtree yet, planning to this year, but having ran the US 10K Classic in September, the starting line was a CLUSTER….people who intend to walk to race, should be in the back. There was not any type of organization like this for that event, and I think that was about 13,000 people. I just loved playing “frogger” with the walkers who thought they needed to be at the starting line in the beginning.

Peter

January 28th, 2010
4:39 pm

Without a doubt a great idea…… I have run 9 Peachtree’s, and early on when I had higher numbers it was ridicules running around folks with lower numbers that walked !

Anne

January 28th, 2010
4:42 pm

The article neglected to mention that according to the ATC website participants will HAVE TO pick up their race number at the Expo unless they want to pay an extra $5 to have it mailed. How will it be to have 55,000 people picking up packets? Is the registration fee going down? Probably not.

Joe

January 28th, 2010
4:45 pm

Finally. Now they actually have to step up enforcement of the groups. I’m not holding my breath on that one.

chipless

January 28th, 2010
4:47 pm

what if your chip was lost?

iRun

January 28th, 2010
4:48 pm

Well, as an avid runner with a decent pace (I can run a 10K in about 46 minutes +/- a minute), I am all for using race times to qualify for the different queues. But, like Joe, I think there’s little point if they don’t enforce them. When I ran the ING last year I was in the 3rd queue but there were people all around me who walked and I was dodging them for close to a mile.

John tackett

January 28th, 2010
4:55 pm

A number of big races require the runner to pick up in person.And those that will mail it to you, charge a fee. I like the changes I see and now I understand why they moved the expo to the AmericasMart, Packet pickup usually goes quickly in past races I have done (Boston Marathon, Bay to Breakers, ING Georgia) and these races have just as many runners, if not more, as the Peachtree.

Mike

January 28th, 2010
5:14 pm

This will be my fourth Peachtree – I am definitely in favor of the changes. But as others have said, will the time groups be enforced?

I’m not a fast runner, and I’ll be in one of the later time groups this year based on my official time from 2009. Last year I was in time group 2 by the luck of the draw – it was disgusting that when the time group 3 people were starting to pass me, there were 8s and 9s wandering down the road. If the time group hasn’t even started, there should be race officials confiscating numbers and timers.

Mike

January 28th, 2010
5:16 pm

And anyone who’s ever attended an event at the Intercontinental can attest, you PAY for parking!

Mike T

January 28th, 2010
5:49 pm

Awesome idea – finally runners will start in a graded fashion – ending all the nonsense of just throwing 50,000+ people out there in the space of an hour or so… absolutely outstanding!

Irishmafia

January 28th, 2010
6:16 pm

Here’s an idea let’s keep it open to RUNNER”S get those people taking a stroll out! Make a rule that you have to finish in a certain amount of time say 1 hour and ten minutes or your pulled like they do the last of the wheelchair racers. Can’t finish in that amount of time? Don’t enter or get in better shape! It’s called the Peachtree Road RACE and if you are strolling down Peachtree you aren’t racing!

Jeff

January 28th, 2010
6:33 pm

I ran a qualifying time in the US 10K classic — how will my time be validated when I attempt to register for this (my first) Peachtree?

Iron Dawg

January 29th, 2010
12:01 am

Changes seem very good to me. I ran my first P’tree RR in ‘78 and overall love the event but if you’re any kind of runner it hasn’t been all that much fun for a number of years due to the ineffecient “mix” of abilities. This “seeding” is a great change. Heck we might even be able to run some. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the walkers, if they would stay to the right and let faster folks go by on the left – oh, wait, folks don’t do that when driving and it’s a state law. All kiding (and griping) aside, these changes should make for a more enjoyable race for all.

Ken

January 29th, 2010
7:01 am

I did the online registration last year and am glad to see they are bringing it back this year. But why do online registration on the same day as the ING marathon?

Betty

January 30th, 2010
7:37 am

But are they still going to be handing out groups of #s to sponsor companies’ employees so they can get in the timed groups? That was always something that I thought was unfair. I worked to get my time and be in a low numbered group.

Bobby Cox

January 30th, 2010
7:05 pm

it hurts for me to walk, much less run ,dammit.
Will someone help me?

tree rollins

February 1st, 2010
9:29 am

Trying to encourage more runners and less walkers is a good idea. I loved when I used to run this race and you had to finish in 55 minutes to get a shirt. We had no problem with walkers in those days – they knew there was no shirt for them! Now with the chips the Peachtree has a chance to fix the problem with a similar solution once again and the shirts would mean something once again. Meanwhile, it’s good to now see you can use your last year’s time for this year. For years this was the only race I would run and I run about a 50 minute pace and yet I would get a number in the back of the pack with the walkers as my “punishment” for not running other races. Their old system apparently had no way to recognize I had ever run the race before.

tree rollins

February 1st, 2010
9:38 am

Unfortunate as it is – all events like this are ALWAYS about the money! If the Peachtree were to require runners to complete the race in 1 hour now to get a shirt (via use of the newly available chips) it would make it once again a WONDERFUL event for people that are real runners which is what it was all about to begin with early on. Yes I know this would cut WAY back on the entered runners (thus the money angle) but the reality is this would go a long way towards enabling real runners to be able to get a number again instead of treating the registration as if you’re trying to get a ticket to the reunion of the Beatles! The arrogant Peachtree staff has lost the handle on the true theme of the race – it’s about runners and fitness – not making thousands of throngs of people line up to “buy a t-shirt”.

S. Mc

February 1st, 2010
5:06 pm

I think the peachtree should be a celebration of all fitness levels, it shouldn’t be about how fast u can run it but about the fact you can finish the race, I am proud to say I have finished it four times and I may not be the fastest out there but who cares, I think all you running snobs, including Irishmafia, need to shut the f up and run the race and get over your selves!!!

Sharon

February 2nd, 2010
11:25 am

It should be about fitness, which is why participants of all skill levels should continue to be included. With that said, speaking as one of the slowest around, I agree runners should be up front and those with faster times should lead the pack.

tree rollins

February 2nd, 2010
9:37 pm

I agree that anyone should be able to participate. Walkers in the back – runners in the front. Encourage fitness by rewarding a t-shirt if you reach a certain time. Doesn’t mean you can’t participate – just no t-shirt. Or if you need a t-shirt get a different one for not reaching the goal.

TallaDawg92

February 3rd, 2010
12:16 pm

Organize it however you choose, but just call it “The Peachtree,” not a run and not a race.

Carla

February 3rd, 2010
12:20 pm

I’m slow. I jog, but I don’t like being in back with the walkers. It make it tooo long a race. I train for 4 months, but I am 60, so I’m not going to be the fastest. I’m proud just to finish, but if I get placed in back with the walkers, this may be my last race. I had hoped to get 10 tees before I stopped, but this may be my 6th and last race. I do two 5K’s to jump start my training for the P’tree. I may continue with those. The P’tree used to be a much friendlier race. People would cheer you on, ask if you are okay. My first race, one guy said he was enviouse. I was jogging and not breaking a sweat. Another, as he passed, asked me if I had trained. I nodded yes and he gave me a thumbs up as he passed. This passed year, a guy came up next to me and said “I know you are hot in those” , meaning the tights I had on to hide my “thunder thighs! I just kept moving, but it put a damper on my run. I was not meant to be encouraging and it was not, though I finished in a reasonable time for a 60 year old. Anyway, I’m not happy about this. I think walkers should be in back. Joggers and serious runners should be closer to the front or at least middle.

[...] in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on March 28. We’re already starting to hear about some changes to the 2010 Peachtree race, including the news that start assignments will be performance based. (And if you’re looking [...]

Don't cut

February 3rd, 2010
12:36 pm

It seems that most of the walkers and runners that get in the way cut in
line after the race starts. I’ve run in time group 1 for several years
and pass lower numbered and slower runners all morning. I would like to
see the racers have a color coded sticker placed on their number as they
enter the proper start gate and only those people receive tee shirts at
the end. The line cutters would go home empty handed and maybe line up
properly next time. As for walking, I encourage it , but get out of the
way of people who have trained to be there.

Mike

February 3rd, 2010
12:38 pm

I’m all in favor of the time groups that are aligned with the run time. However, no matter how hard they try there will still be those that decide to walk. One thing I am not in favor of is using anything less than a 10K as a time group placement time. According to the break down those than run a 5K can use that as a time. Bottom line for me…if those people really want to run a 10K then that’s what should be submitted for a time group placement.

Jim

February 3rd, 2010
12:40 pm

Something needs to be done about all the slow joggers and walkers.
Have one heat for the “runners” and another heat for the walkers and joggers. The “runners” heat should include about 2-3 thousand people and represent everything that a race is. Within that heat is the seeding/placement that they currently do.

They need to police it. Say maybe have a helicopter or bicycle security fine or suspend future entry to all the people who line up in the wrong area.
Examples of people that would be fined:
* Person lines up within 100 ft of the starting line and walks the course.
* Person that lines up in the front within the first 100-500 people and finishes well outside of 40 minutes.
* Anyone that starts with the “runners” and doesn’t finish the race within an hour and 15 minutes. (not counting somoene with handicap)

John Tackett

February 3rd, 2010
12:49 pm

Concerned about parking in downtown.. take MARTA.
@Don’t Cut.. I like your idea. I am a time group 1a runner and get frustrated when I see folks jumping into the race somewhere along the course. Slows me down and is not fair to those that train for teh race and start at the start line.

ROFLS

February 3rd, 2010
1:11 pm

Love how the “real runners” want to “run a real race”. Hate to break it to y’all, but – unless you are one of the top say 50 10k runners in the world this isn’t a race at all for you. The peachtree isn’t about breaking personal records or running a fast race.

Haywood Jablome

February 3rd, 2010
1:18 pm

WILL THE T-SHIRTS BE UNIMAGINATIVE AND UGLY AS USUAL? HOW ABOUT SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T RESEMBLE A T-SHIRT FROM 1981 BLACKFOOT CONCERT?

GOD FORBID SOMEONE HAS TO PAY FOR PARKING.

AND IF YOU THINK THE RACE IS TOO EXPENSIVE, JUST RUN DOWN PEACHTREE STREET ANY OTHER TIME – THAT’S FREE, D’BAG

Nikster

February 3rd, 2010
1:33 pm

Well,it’s about time. I ran the 1st 25 PRR. I was a daily runner until 10 years ago when my feet & knees said “no more running or else”! I ran in

Patrick

February 3rd, 2010
1:33 pm

1) The Peachtree is only a race for elite runners. Even excellent runners just a notch below the elites have no chance at winning because of the number of elite runners. Not all of them will have a bad day to allow a nonelite break the tape.
2) That being said it was designed to be a race for runners. But that ended long ago when the time to finish requirement was thrown out. Not that it was strictly followed but I do think most people believed they would have to try to run in order to get under the cutoff time.
3) I can understand the need to throw out the cutoff time. People will try to hard when they are not prepared. with high heat and poor preparation a cutoff time is inviting disaster. People have been through medical probs and have even died during the race. Who knows, if the person had known that they could slow down and still get the tshirt maybe some of that could have been avoided.
4) Still with 55,000 participants, using waves, it still is logistically impossible to run a good race. People may complain about people being in the wrong groups or jumping in later but the amount of volunteers needed to keep it manageable would be more than the ATC could get. The amount of cheating is negligble. People with the right nos. still run at different paces and the road is not wide enough for 5,000 people in a group to occupy it. I’ve never seen a race of 5,000 start without people all running smoothly with each other. I doesn’t happen.
6)As long as you want an event to accomodate 55,000 or more you will have problems with slow being in front of fast and mucking things up. When it is an event that is seen as much as a party as a fitness event you are setting it up to not be a race. People dress up in costume, march in army boots, eat and drink along the way and in general try to make it into a party. Peachtree is an event not a race.
7) Now that it is an event, times don’t matter, what is wrong with having walkers? I’ve run some very fast races and had to do a little walking. Galloway teaches walking/running. It’s a foot race. Runners need to get over it.
8) The race expo can be any where as long as I am not required to go there. It appears the ATC is enticing people to go to satisfy vendors. So the ATC charges $5 less if you pick up your no. Clever. I guess they’ll get my $5.
9) Finally change has been a part of this race since it began. How many ran the first race? 175? I’m not sure but it was tiny compared to now. You can’t do the race the same way for 55K as for 555. The ATC puts on one of the biggest races in the world. There aren’t many good templates to use to put on this race. That being said it has put this race on for over 30 years. You would hope the kinks have been worked out by now but apparently not. I’ve never been a big fan of the race itself. I run it most of the time. Some years I miss. I do it because I get to see running friends. I’m going to sign up this year however they put this race on. I really doubt the powers that be at the ATC care what I or any of the other responders to this survey have to say. I’ll show up comment on how it is; run the “race” with my wife and friends; party after; then go home and train for the Atlanta Marathon. Now if you want my opinion on that…

C'mon People

February 3rd, 2010
1:37 pm

C;mon people. The Peachtree is about having fun, celebrating the 4th of July, fitness and yes, the prized t-shirt. I’ve run the race for atleast 5 years and I plan on being out there 8 weeks after having a baby, which is probably a lofty goal but it does mean I’ll have to walk some. Walkers or joggers should stay to the left to be courteous and all of you “racers” can run on the right. We’ve all experienced weeding through the crowd early on and eventually finding some space to run. As far as the cheaters go, something should be done about those who truly have no intentions of going the distance. It can be fun for everyone, so just go out and enjoy it and have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Nikster

February 3rd, 2010
1:39 pm

I need to finish my comments. I ran every day for over 30 years & I couldn’t get a decent PRR number !
I ran in atleast 1 5K or 10K every month. I sent in a TAC certified 10K time with my PRR entry for years. I get in the “start running a week before or maybe I’ll walk group” every year. Plus it has gotten too large for real runners to enjoy.

Realist

February 3rd, 2010
2:07 pm

I agree with those who feel the PRR is more of an event, than a race; if you are looking for a personal record in the 10K, you won’t get it there. I am somewhat dubious about going to pick up the number at the expo with 50,000 of my closest and most personal fiends, and adding $5 for delivery is a slap in the face. The ATC is sitting on a big heaping pile of cash, and I don’t think they need any more money, IMO.

Jessica

February 3rd, 2010
2:13 pm

Here’s an idea- start the race just a little earlier.
The sweltering July heat is tough for the joggers/walkers who get stuck in the later time groups.
I’m a jogger, but prefer to be in the earlier groups so it isn’t 95 degrees by the time I finish the race!
Sure, its necessary to put the “serious runners” first…but don’t forget about the rest of us who are a part of the best 10k in the nation.
BTW, all the running snobs need to chill out. The race is about having fun and celebrating Independence Day.

Nikita

February 3rd, 2010
2:13 pm

I’m a slowish runner, and I won’t run if I get placed below group 7. Luckily, for the last 4 or so races I’ve ended up in Group 3. I can handle being seeded a little lower, because I am slowish (around 60 mins for the 10k), but there are a lot of reasons why people like me don’t belong in the back:

1. The “just for fun” group isn’t even speed walking.

2. By the looks of it, there are several tens of thousands of people who are not running. Which means that they can compose several time groups behind those of us that are.

3. The later you start, the hotter it is and the more people you have to dodge. Which isn’t fair if you’re dodging because people who are slower are in front of you.

Also, cheaters need to be pulled out. They can finish, if they want, but they should have already been grabbed and had their numbers slashed such that they don’t get a shirt. It’s not that hard to catch them, either — just look for all the jackoffs stepping off the curb with 8 or 9 numbers at group 2.

TechMom

February 3rd, 2010
2:30 pm

Ken, I’m with you- why in the world is registration on the same day as the ING? At least it doesn’t open until 1pm this year. I guess I’ll be using my iPhone to register.

Kristin

February 3rd, 2010
2:43 pm

My pet peeve has been and always will be the losers who jump in near the end just so they can get a t shirt. At least the slow walkers complete the 6.2 miles to earn her t-shirt.

melissai

February 3rd, 2010
2:54 pm

Proper etiquette is for slower traffic to keep right, just like the interstate. I have participated in several PRR. What always astounds me is not necessarily the number of walkers, but the fact that they have to make a line going across the road and get pissy with folks trying to pass them. WTH is wrong with people!

sladersaan

February 3rd, 2010
2:56 pm

I am just glad I don’t have to run one of the horrible PRR “qualifiers” this year to get a super seeded number. Thank you for allowing me to use a time from a different distance. The PRR “qualifiers” have gotten to be expensive compared to the experience.

melissai

February 3rd, 2010
2:56 pm

P.S. – even had someone say, “you’re not going to win!” to which I replied, “no, but I would like to do my personal best!”

jennifer

February 3rd, 2010
3:27 pm

I like the changes! Are the corporate walkers going to be put in higher groups too? Really dislike running around people walking 4-5 abreast in their corporate t-shirts. But why do online registration on the same day as the ING marathon? Is this some passive agressive behavior?

Jim

February 3rd, 2010
3:30 pm

One year, I ran the peachtree, placed in the top 35 (that year, there were about 5-10 elite and then about another 20-50 a big cut below).
After the race, I hung around and BS’d with fellow runners, got the t-shirt, hung out getting hydrated for about 30 minutes, watch a few friends finish about 30 minutes later. I BS’d with them when they got done. Then I was chick watching for a while. Then I decided to run back to the starting line with one of my friends where my car was still parked. I ran at a slow pace as I had to dodge all the spectators and walkers. It wasn’t until about 1 mile into the race that I stopped passing people going the other way. For the most part, about every person I passed was going so slow, if they were in line to purchase something in a store, you’d complain that they were walking to the register too slow.

Hugh Scott

February 3rd, 2010
3:50 pm

I do think that putting people in correct start times is the best way to avoid the confusion at both the start and finish. Does anyone have any thoughts on the Labor Day U.S. 10K Classic Race?

The t-shirts are ugly

February 3rd, 2010
4:07 pm

The t-shirts are ugly and unimaginative. How about making an effort for a little more inspired design.

jennifer

February 3rd, 2010
4:08 pm

Hugh Schott – Thought for the Labor Day U.S. 10K Classic Race – see the comments on this forum and use some effective race day crowd management techniques.

Nora

February 3rd, 2010
4:22 pm

First of all I don’t get the big deal over the “prized” and “coveted” shirt. I have several Peachtree shirts stuffed in a drawer. I never wear them except to bed or bumming around the house. Prized they are not! Any yahoo who walked the race in 2+ hours got the same shirt I got for running it in an hour.

Thad

February 3rd, 2010
9:10 pm

Such a shame that the ATC had taken over one of the best Atlanta traditions ever. The reason we have to wait until 1pm for online registration, is to allow ATC members to early register for the event before the general public. Just received an invitation via email to early register for an additional $35 membership fee to ATC. Perhaps the City of Atlanta should consider limiting this type of financial gain for ATC. It’s nothing but greed. The City belongs to the taxpayers, not ATC.