Focus on the Roadside Bands, Fans and Shiny Objects

I’ve probably flogged this disclosure to death in earlier posts, but it’s worth repeating for this one that I’ve been less than obsessed about my training for the big July 4th race the past 20 years.

Last year I thought I put in a decent effort, although you can see here my time sure didn’t reflect that. But most years I didn’t do much more before the race than trot a couple of miles a few times in June.

But there was little doubt in my mind that I’d be able to run most, if not all, of the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

The secret is Peachtree miles seem shorter than the miles around my neighborhood. With lots of distractions along the way, I can almost forget a little cramping or blistering.

When I run in my neighborhood nobody has a PA blaring “Born to Run” or “Born in the USA” or anything else from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born” anthology. But those and other tunes often blare near the start line.

I can complete my neighborhood run without once hearing a radio DJ call out encouragement or tell me that I’m getting close to the finish. (Hint to Peachtree newbies – the DJs are not near the finish). But for the first five miles or so the live broadcasters will give a shout out, spurring me on.
The live bands along the way play an eclectic mix of tunes. The bands are spread out in parking lots and MARTA shelters. When I pass a live band, for a moment my brain is focused on the song. I have found this doesn’t completely compensate for a lack of training.

Also missing in my neighborhood training are the long tables spaced out every mile or so where people hand me cups of water. My neighborhood run would would be much improved if I could get some volunteers to take this on.

And running the Peachtree is a great place to people watch. People dress up like Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty. I have yet to see anyone in a Liberty Bell costume. Maybe this will be the year.

Do you find that all the scenery, music and encouragement help the miles go by a little easier? What is your favorite roadside attraction, or distraction, as you trek down Peachtree on July 4th?

12 comments Add your comment


May 13th, 2010
8:03 am

Nothing gets me more fired than seeing those idiots with the Fur Bus and their big tailgate… its the only thing that gets me up cardiac hill!


May 13th, 2010
8:10 am

Legs and posteriors.

Michael Knox

May 14th, 2010
6:39 pm

I look forward every year to hearing the Breeze Kings. Could there be a cooler name for a band?


May 14th, 2010
6:45 pm

The crowds are awesome , pushed me more, hope to see them this year!

linda Wright

May 14th, 2010
11:22 pm

This is my first Peachtree Race, Very excited, but a little concern about cardiac HIll


May 15th, 2010
7:12 am

The “little old ladies” waving flags – I get choked up! Hard to cry and run!


May 16th, 2010
11:20 am

the bands are a great distraction…love running church row and getting a blessing…wish we had more bells ringing or playing music as well… this year the run is on Sunday so we will get this as a normal course of the day….The First Presbyterian Church on Peachtree and 16th is great about this and they are not on Church row…


June 11th, 2010
5:50 pm

I love ,love ,love the Peachtree Pub Crawlers especially when they pull up at the stop lights. Too funny !


June 12th, 2010
1:34 pm

Lord knows…the water stops..(pant..wheeze..Pant) Thanks Peachtree volunteers !


June 17th, 2010
6:59 pm

It’s always good to see the pastor of St. Phillip’s with the holy water, and Max Cleland.

There used to be twin sisters who would wear patriotic costumes and wave to the runners in front of Peachtree UMC. They’ve both passed on, but last year the church had a huge poster with a life-size picture of them from a prior year in their memory. I thought that was really sweet.

What’s not really sweet, of course, is getting passed by a guy whose race number is from a group that hasn’t even left the gate yet…


June 26th, 2010
10:49 am

As I ran past a bar in Buckhead several years ago, a girl came out with a tray of cups of beer for the runners and about 10 people shouted “FREE BEER!!” I’ve never in my life had a beer while running, but it was the coldest, best beer I’ve ever had! Thanks so much to whoever gave it to me! :)


June 29th, 2010
8:54 am

The holy water mister makes me smile every year and the Shepherd patients are the reason I run Cardiac Hill. Just when I think I want to walk, I see patients who would give anything to run.
And Max Cleland waving a flag gives me chills on even the hottest running day.