All’s Fair in True Love and… Peachtree Numbers?

Along with thousands of others, I was rewarded on Monday.

PRRNumberAhhh… the glorious Peachtree packet peeking out of my mailbox! As predicted, I was happily greeted with my Group A number after submitting a qualifying time from a 2009 10k.

Excited, I called my boyfriend to discuss his number. Though a native Atlantan as well, the 2010 event will be his first time running the AJC Peachtree Road Race. I’ve been prepping him since last summer, so the self-proclaimed non-runner could work on getting himself a qualifying time to run with me.

After lots of blood and sweat (his) and tears (mine), the guy who’d never run more than 3 miles prior to summer 2009 pulled off an amazing first half marathon time of 1.59:00 at the Atlanta Thanksgiving Half last November. According to the ATC PRR time standards, this time would qualify him for Time Group B in the Peachtree. Good news for me – we get to run together, and good news for him – I won’t make him train his tail off to run a qualifying 10k. So we sat back and waited patiently – assuming the registration process would reward us with A and B start waves respectively. Slumming it one time group down from my own is a sacrifice any self-respecting girlfriend would make for their love, right?

Then… it happened. Or didn’t happen. G. His number is in… do I need to get my eyes checked? Time Group… G?  It rhymes with B… but it’s shaped… differently. Geeee??? We’ve become star-crossed lovers separated by the universe of FIVE WHOLE GROUPS. I know… Shakespeare just rolled over in his grave.

Surely the right thing to do would be for me to sacrifice my wide open Group A spaces, my early cool weather 7:30 am start time, and the lush green empty finish area of Piedmont Park before 8:30am. I could place myself not one… but six whole time groups back from my earned spot in order to give my boyfriend a congratulatory finish kiss… and kiss a decent time goodbye. But… but… cue 5 yr old temper… I don’t wanna!

[I apologize for my ego... it took over the keyboard this morning and I'm having a hard time controlling it.]

Talk about your moral dilemma. The kicker is… according to the posted standards, he earned a Group B number. So according to some random times listed in some random place, I would be able to hide my narcissistic, front of the pack, cool weather loving ego.  Rather, I’m faced with a herculean decision: Run for myself who diligently trained all spring for Peachtree, or run for the guy who dutifully tagged along to support my last two marathon PR efforts? Wars are being fought in the Middle East, oil is ruining the Gulf of Mexico, and children are starving all over the world… but yes… this is the problem I’m hung up on.

What’s a girl to do? I’m not sure if all’s fair in true love, 90 degree weather and Peachtree start wave assignments…

16 comments Add your comment


June 23rd, 2010
10:08 am

He should email the Atlanta Track Club about the mix up.

This happened to me last year.

I submitted a half marathon time that was good enough for the Sub-Seeded Time Group. They must have thought it was a 10K time and not a half marathon time, so I was put in Time Group 2. I emailed the Track Club and explained the situation. They told me to send the number back in the mail and they would send me the right number. A few days later, I got my sub-seeded number.

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June 23rd, 2010
10:56 am

Same thing happened to me this year. I called the office today and they said if I came by with my qualifying race results printed and my old number, they’ll switch it out for me.


June 23rd, 2010
11:00 am

Same thing happened to me and my friend this year. We submitted a time that, according to the posted time standards, should have placed us in Wave F. Instead, we are in Wave K, which is supposed to be for folks who didn’t submit a time at all. Not sure what’s going on. I asked on the ATC FB page and got no reply.

Gen Neyland

June 23rd, 2010
12:42 pm

We are in Year 1 of the new time placement system for the PRR. I’m thinking the smaller start waves mean everyone that registered specific times won’t be accommodated in their proper wave. A cruel response for the hard work one puts one’s self through to inch closer to the front of the pack. I submitted last years PRR finish and got what I deserved, placement in the F start wave. I had better times in other races but I opted to use the 2009 PRR time for the sake of assisting the ATC race certification research staff and simplify their jobs. I’m betting the tweaking process will take a PRR or two before the wrinkles are worked out. I’m also thinking that all who sign up in the 2012 PRR won’t get their proper start wave again due to the massive number of runners involved once again. Maybe the PRR wants to evolve to overall specfic standards, ala the Boston Marathon…

If I were your boyfriend, I would ask you to run the race you trained for and earned the right to have. If you were my girlfriend, I’d thank you for hanging back with me and ask to let me nose you out at the finishline…

Lauren Dieterich

June 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

Oh Gen… you know him all too well. When I ran his first half marathon with him AND his first 10k with him last year, I hung back and supported him the whole way… and he totally nosed me out at the finish both times! Gotta love competitive spirit.

I really hope the PRR doesn’t become like Boston. First of all, I appreciate a race available to the masses – an athletic goal accessable to all levels of runners. Secondly… as much as it pains me (and as hard as I still am trying to shave the last 3 minutes off my marathon time to qualify)… Boston has become something you can buy your way into. So you either work real hard and earn it, OR you can barely finish but have the ability to write a big check (a la Katie Holmes-Cruise). Boo!

Gen Neyland

June 23rd, 2010
9:40 pm

Lauren : True on the Boston. Still, for that venue they have my respect for the standards they apply to the majority. A buddy of mine got in one year on a corporate sponsership and ran at a 5+ hour trot. For him, a thrill just to be there, but…

Love to Run

June 24th, 2010
8:28 am

My time group is off this year too. Not sure what happened… if the Track Club offers placement based on a documented time, they need to follow through with the promise. After all, we register in March and the numbers are mailed in June so I would think there is plenty of time to make this right. I wish the Track Club was more responsive and active in the AJC sponsorship – make a statement, post a response, write an article, something. Speak to us please…

Marybeth McMillan

June 24th, 2010
4:10 pm

I did not receive my number yet! Who should I contact?

Marybeth McMillan


June 24th, 2010
7:02 pm

Chill folks. Everyone gets a chip time now so it no longer really matters which time group you start in except for maybe beating the heat a little. But I suspect if you take a confirmed time by the ATC office with you bib they will swap them for you as long as they have numbers for a higher corral.

Enjoy the race. Wonder what number I’ll have? I submitted a 2009 10k time and should be in C but we’ll see. :)


June 24th, 2010
7:17 pm

Should all Atlanta area runners have received their number by now if we paid for the mailer option?


June 24th, 2010
10:34 pm

Ran 16 Peachtree’s and all I can say is go back and run with him. This is not a race, but an event. You are not going for a record time, and if you are, you will not get it (by zigzagging through people the whole race?)

I ran with both friends and by myself. And when you finish by yourself, you find you are standing by some balloon with a letter on it at Piedmont Park for 45 minutes to 1hour + with nothing to do but stand there with your hands on your hips looking for your friends with no one to celebrate with and experience the jubilation.

Run with your man. If he slows down wait till he catches up. Hold hands together high in the air at the photo bridge near the end. Order the picture, put it in a frame for a lasting memory and you will cherish that more than the satisfaction of finishing the race by yourself with nothing to do but waiting in a stinky field wondering if he ever finished the race.


June 25th, 2010
12:20 pm

If only all of life’s choices were so easy. Run in your time group, put forth your best effort, you trained for it, you earned it. You’ve been training to go out there and do your best. It is the Peachtree Road ***RACE***. You’ve run together in training, I’m sure you’ve had plenty of time for that, you’ll have plenty of time in the future for it.

If he’s worth keeping, he’d understand and push you to give it your all.

I had this conversation with many coworkers last year. We all met up at the end and had food, beer, and good times afterward.


June 25th, 2010
12:23 pm

“You are not going for a record time, and if you are, you will not get it (by zigzagging through people the whole race?)”

Yes, yes you can. In wave A, and maybe even B, you certainly can PR. The zig zagging is minimal. I and several friends and co-workers did last year.


July 1st, 2010
8:51 am

This is a toughie. It would be one thing if he was just one or two groups behind you, but it sounds like your pace is superior to his anyways. Which would mean that the struggle to run together would be a challenge in itself even if you did hang back in his group.

If he is ok with it, I say start with your group and be at the finish line ready to give him a big sloppy one!


July 2nd, 2010
9:16 am

OK OK – So my husband and friend will be in group M and N and I’m stuck back in X…

I”ve done the last 7 Peachtrees and he has done just the last one – I must have filled out the form incorrectly….