One might have thought the introduction of a wave system in the 2010 AJC Peachtree Road Race would calm the conflicts between its runners and walkers. It at least was better than the former mostly random assignment of the majority of entries into nine larger groups, right?
For some, the answer is apparently: wrong.
I expected it might stir the pot when I wrote last week about how some runners who train hard for the Peachtree feel about walkers, who they see as a roadblock to a fast time.
Never mind last year’s Independence Day “race” was over before all but a small portion of the 55,000 Peachtree participants had cleared the giant blow up Uncle Sam in Buckhead. I’ve looked at the times for the first several groups from last year and I can’t imagine the road was clogged with walkers mixed in with people running from the D wave and higher.
I can confirm if you start further back and you want to run under an hour, you will be doing a lot of cutting and dodging. In my haste to register last year, I neglected to enter my qualifying time that would have landed me near the beginning of the alphabet.
As it turned out, the lottery made me a back-of-the-pack guy, an X-Man, (my bib, pictured here).
I ran last year’s race in exactly 60 minutes. My recollection is that hour time qualified me for a “D” wave group, according to the 2010 wave standards. I ran a Peachtree qualifier in September and achieved a goal of finishing it faster than 57:30 specifically because that time would move me up to a Peachtree time group “C.” (I’m depending on my recall, because the innerwebs seem to have been scrubbed of 2010 Peachtree time wave evidence).
Now I see that the 2011 waves have been tweaked, leaving me half a minute short of qualifying for time wave “D.” Improving my time in September still moves me up a wave, but I wish I had known the standards were going to change.
Qualifying times are also required this year for waves much deeper into the field than last year, including up to more than two hours to get into the “W” group. Of course, “X” is always available for those who don’t have a qualifying time, as is the “Y” wave bringing up the rear.
I’m curious, are there many of you who were assigned to waves at the front end of the alphabet in 2010 who dealt with lots of people leisurely walking the course from the beginning? It’s hard to believe, but I can’t say for sure because my view from my start back in Brookhaven last year was a little obstructed.