Like any good sports franchise or college team, the AJC Peachtree Road Race has a rival. But it’s not Yankee-Red Sox or Alabama-Auburn ugly between the Peachtree and the BolderBoulder. Instead the Peachtree and the other huge, holiday 10K complete with qualifying times, staring corrals, costumed patrons, beer along the side of the road, and oh yes, a whole lot of runners appear to get along. In the past, Peachtree race director Tracey Russell has headed to Boulder to observe the race, and the two big events share ideas. But there are still bragging rights on the line.
Almost 55,000 people took part in the BolderBoulder on Memorial Day including 53 listing a Georgia city as a hometown as that race continues to grow. The Peachtree will have 60,000 or so this year after the field was increased by 5,000. Was the Peachtree’s move to ensure it remained the bigger race? When the additional numbers for the Peachtree was announced, Russell said no.
Five years ago, the BolderBoulder was my summer holiday 10K, not the Peachtree. I was interning in Denver, and needed to fill my July 4 void.
Some memories from my sojourn out west five years ago:
How about my take and what the AJC Peachtree can take from the BolderBoulder…
I liked the feeling surrounding the race, being more laid back and traversing the town including through residential neighborhoods, although I know both would be tough to replicate here. There still aren’t enough numbers to meet demand in Atlanta, people wouldn’t be so honest to line up in their correct spot (especially considering all those that cheat by jumping in past the start) and the Peachtree course isn’t changing I wouldn’t think. Spreading out people at the start in Atlanta, though, would certainly be a good idea.
The post-race food could certainly be improved in Atlanta. A small lunch and a beer would be amazing although at least they still give out Cokes and Powerades following the Peachtree. Food after other big events in Atlanta has been lacking (see the Publix marathon/half-marathon with no Coke or Powerade plus they ran out of a lot of food and the Atlanta half-marathon where there are reports they no longer give out Snickers afterwards).
The best idea to be borrowed from the BolderBoulder is the ColderBoulder. About six months after the big 10K, the BolderBoulder people put on invitational, seeded 5Ks for finishers of the 10K. Races are seeded by 10K finishing time from 40 minutes to 64 minutes at two-minute intervals, meaning there 12 races starting 10 minutes apart plus an open race. Instead of racing everyone, you race people your own speed, giving a lot of people the chance to win a race. It’s a great idea, one that can motivate people to train for the summer 10K plus keep them going to run a big race again in six months. And I have to think that for just about everyone that trains properly, a 64-minute finish in the Peachtree is doable (let me know if I am wrong). It’s a unique concept that would add to the July 4 experience plus give Atlanta another Peachtree. It’s an idea I’d like to see copied here.
I know people have ideas on how to make Peachtree better. What are some of yours?