Is there a chance I’ll win the 2011 AJC Peachtree Road Race?

Not many handicappers are giving me even a snowball’s chance of winning the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4th. For starters, I probably won’t take off until after either the Kenyans or Ethiopians are huffing and puffing past the finish line.
In my favor, consider how many places I moved up from the 2009 to 2010 Peachtree.
In 2009 I was pretty close to the median Peachtree runner, if not an average one. I finished 28,182th out of 55,000, covering the 6.2 miles in about 75 minutes. Kenya’s Sammy Kilwarn crossed the finish line first at 27.22. If he was ever worried about me, he hid it well.
In 2009 I trained a tad harder than I did most of my past 20 Peachtrees, including 1997 when I thought it would be funny to stick a cigar in my mouth as I ran under the Marathon photographers near the finish line.

John McCosh (center, with cigar) has run the Peachtree Road Race 22 times. He'll blog about his experience here as he prepares for a 23rd.

John McCosh has run the Peachtree Road Race 22 times. He'll blog about his experience here as he prepares for a 23rd.

Fast forward to spring 2010. When I agreed to write for this blog. I brashly predicted I would shave 15 minutes off my 2009 time. I was brought in as the voice of the average runner, but I tapped into the expertise of blog commenters during training to get better. And I used my public pledge as motivation to train harder than I had in years.
The morning of July 4, 2011 found me far in back of the waves of runners. It was slow going weaving through the pack at times, but I finished in exactly an hour, in 12,275th place. Ethiopian Gebre Gebremarian won the race in 27:56. I was closing the gap on the frontrunners.
In just one year I moved up nearly 16,000 spots. I know what you’re thinking. This guy must have been blood doping, or at least using HGH. Not true, I did it the “right way.”
Now that I’ve seen it’s possible to move up 16,000 places in one year, I can’t help but wonder if I can come close to that in 2011. If I could move up another 12,275 places, I could be the first American to win the Peachtree in 20 years!
But seriously, folks, I’ve been thinking about a goal for myself for this year’s Peachtree. I bested my one-hour time by about 2 ½ minutes last September in a Peachtree qualifier, so I’ve already beaten my 10K 60-minute goal.
I’ve maintained my running over three and four mile courses all winter, but I’m well aware the Peachtree qualifier I ran last September wasn’t nearly as challenging a course as the real thing. Still, I’m going to try to take another 2 ½ minutes off that to run the Peachtree in 55 minutes.
And to increase the degree of difficulty, I think I’ll reprise my shtick of posing for my Marathon photo with a cigar in my mouth.
What are your goals for this year? Shave some time off Peachtrees past? Finish your run healthy and upright? Celebrate with a cigar?

3 comments Add your comment


April 5th, 2011
8:49 am

Interesting way of looking at the race, and I have a similar story. My first Peachtree was 2009, about a year after I had started running (well into my 40’s). My initial effort was 58:02, or 10,068th place (I’ll call it an even 10,000th). Last year with some more training I did 51:44, or 4857th place.

So, by your reasoning, if I can jump another 5211 places, I’ll be the winner.

I think I set a more reasonable goal of what we’ll call “40 something”, as in the first digit of my time starting with “4″. And maybe a cigar.


April 5th, 2011
11:33 am

My new wife, my teenage son, and I are running our first Peachtree. Im new to running and im shooting for 60 minutes.

Gen Neyland

April 6th, 2011
7:14 am

All the great runners of our day have sponsered products at some point in their running careers, so all in all, it’s okay for John to have been the spokesman for Hav-a-Tampa at a point in time. Put’s a whole ‘nuther spin on ‘Smokin’ the Roads’. Me, I’m still shooting for Bud Light sponserships…