Heat taking toll at Peachtree Road Race

They came to Atlanta from 48 states and Washington D.C. to push themselves to exhaustion in temperatures better suited for sitting under a shade tree than lacing up running shoes.

They didn’t suffer alone. More than 60,000 new friends suffered too.

They came to run in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10k race. Unlike last year’s cool 62-degree 7:30 a.m. starting-time temperatures,  this year’s temperatures were around 74 degrees with sock-soaking humidity.

Click here to search the 2011 AJC Peachtree Roadrace results.

“There’s no way it was 74 degrees,” U.S. runner Ed Moran said.

How hot was it?

It was so hot even the winner forgot about the $25,000 in prize money for a short time. “It’s just too hot,” Kenya’s Sammy Kitwara said. He took $15,000 as the first-place finisher and a $10,000 bonus in the Professional Road Running Organization circuit.

Kitwara and countryman Mathew Kisorio ran shoulder to shoulder for most of the last three miles of the 6.2-mile journey through Atlanta. Kitwara outsprinted him to the finish line to post a winning time of 28 minutes, 5 seconds for his second victory in three years in the event.

Ethiopia’s Werknesh Kidane won the women’s race, topping the field in an unofficial time of 31:22.

Ben True was the top U.S. men’s finisher, taking that title from Moran. True picked up an additional $10,000 for that distinction, though the heat and humidity took a mental and physical toll.

“It was quite unbearable at the end,” said True, who was competing in the event for the first time. “But it’s a great course, phenomenal.”

The medical tents were busier than in previous year’s races, but no serious injuries have been reported. Some Runners are experiencing cramping and dehydration.

66 comments Add your comment


July 4th, 2011
8:41 am

Tool? Isnt’ that supposed to be toll?


July 4th, 2011
8:56 am

yes linda it should be toll. I thought the same thing.


July 4th, 2011
9:02 am

Dear AJC,
I am a language arts teacher. I will be happy to edit your paper for a small fee. As I tell my students, proofread, proofread, proofread!

Your friend,

Jim Swilley

July 4th, 2011
9:02 am

Tool? My wife and I make a daily game of finding at least 2 typos in ajc.com articles. We are rarely disappointed.


July 4th, 2011
9:07 am

Lets all be jerks and point out flaws. and go! Great job folks, you really proved your worth

Hank Hill

July 4th, 2011
9:08 am

300,000 people standing around watching 60,000 people run a 10k. 83% of the group standing around watching 17% do all the work. Yep, that’s America for you.


July 4th, 2011
9:12 am

Welcome to the Hot & Humid DirtySouth people. We love it here!!!

Robert the Yellow Jacket

July 4th, 2011
9:20 am

Humidity makes a huge difference as it is more difficult for sweat to evaporate and keep your body cool or at a functioning level.
Rain the night before a race creates the greatest danger with the sky high humidity it produces.
If the elite runners complain (and they have an earlier start time), then you know the masses at a big race like Peachtree will have difficulties.


July 4th, 2011
9:21 am

Well stated Nate:)
Good job to all the runners!!


July 4th, 2011
9:24 am

I think if a man had the cure for cancer some of us would miss it looking for typos.

Robert the Yellow Jacket

July 4th, 2011
9:32 am

If this race is so popular, why has our country become so fat?
Are we 10% a nation working to stay fit and 90% a nation of couch potatoes playing fantasy games?

Robert the Yellow Jacket

July 4th, 2011
9:44 am

Hank answered my question earlier with a lower estimate of the problem.


July 4th, 2011
9:49 am

GT This is the kind of thinking that “dumbs down” our culture. A “typo” on a cancer research document may have some consequences.


July 4th, 2011
9:52 am

I remember running the Peachtree in mid 1980’s in the 4th & 5th grade…old school!! Even then it was terribly hot and I ran on the outside of the runners to get clean air…it helped a lot and I always got my t-shirt:)

Biff Pocoroba

July 4th, 2011
10:03 am

Robert, it is because 20% of the people jump in the race halfway through just to get a tshirt so people will think they ran 6 miles


July 4th, 2011
10:04 am

And they run this for what? Yeah thought so!!!


July 4th, 2011
10:09 am

I run the Peachtree every year. I think this was my 11th time in a row. This one did seem a lot hotter than previous years. I still had a great time. Thank you very much to the Atlanta Track Club, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, City of Atlanta, and all of the thousands of volunteers that make this an amazing event every year. Y’all come on out next year!


July 4th, 2011
10:13 am

17th year in a row, loved it as always, yes it was hot, but hey, that’s the Peachtree some years. THANKS to the volunteers. I do think the age limit for the runners should be enforced, too many kids…make it a 21 and over event…but great as always!


July 4th, 2011
10:13 am

While the Peachtree is a wonderful event, it is not what it used to be. My problems with the race are:

1) there are *far* too many runners (admittedly I’m a bit disgruntled as I didn’t get chosen in the lottery this year)
2) half the “runners” don’t even attempt to run, and only walk. don’t get me wrong – it’s good having a society that cares about fitness. but why not set up the lottery so that if you have a very slow time in past races (indicating a walker), you get a slightly smaller weight assigned to your registration versus someone (factoring in age of course so you don’t penalize older runners). I do think if you’ve done ten straight P’tree runs, you should automatically qualify.
3) many of the walkers are inconsiderate of those still running. the walkers on the right are fine, but the walkers on the left are often oblivious to those trying to run in a very space-constrained space

The race is wonderful, and I love the crows, volunteers, and the organizers who make this possible. But I do think a few simple managerial tweaks could make this a top-notch event worldwide.


July 4th, 2011
10:23 am

Ran the PT in the 80’s. More like ten miles having to zig and zag and stutter step while veering over to the sidewalks and cutting back to get past the walkers and plodders. And it was “only” 25k back then.

Linda M

July 4th, 2011
10:27 am

Ok, if the winner from Kenya thinks it’s too hot, it’s too hot.


July 4th, 2011
10:32 am

@keepcalm: It’s your fault you did not run this year. Like you I was not chosen in the lottery. So I bought one of the $150.00 charity entries and will take $117.00 off my taxes as a donation. So you could have run if you wanted. Great race, definitely warmer than last year but very enjoyable. Particularly enjoyed the fly over by during the National Anthem.


July 4th, 2011
10:34 am

Stopped running the PT in the 90’s when I had to zig-zag around walkers. If the T-Shirt was given out before the PT, most people would not even show up to walk it.

D man

July 4th, 2011
10:36 am

Wish I could still train and run the peachtree but my knees are shot from all of the pavement pounding over the years. :(

Purple Drank

July 4th, 2011
10:41 am

@ Nate

This is a professional publication. The lack of correct spelling and grammar is repugnant considering it is a mass produced publication. How are we to encourage our children to use our language correctly if the mass media outlets can not?

I am equally critical of local television news when they make hideous statements.


July 4th, 2011
10:46 am

Hey KeepCalm – a $35 membership to the Atlanta Track Club guarantees you a spot in the PRR. If it’s that important to you, join the Club and support the group that works their butts off to give you this race every year.


July 4th, 2011
10:50 am

AJC dot com is rife with typographical and spelling errors. Even words in the headlines are often misspelled. It isn’t much of a “game” to find them, all you have to do is log on and there they are!


July 4th, 2011
10:55 am

Yes, it was a little warmer than last year but not terribly so. If you’ve been training after work in the 90+ degree heat, the PRR seems cool! If you don’t like zig-zagging around the walkers, try running a qualifying race and get into one of the first few time groups. The only sizeable mass of walkers I had to pass in Group C were on the hill approaching Piedmont Hospital, and they were all on the right side of the road, thank y’all very much!


July 4th, 2011
11:03 am

Happy Birthday America !! you have gone through many changes and dont look as good as you used too, i fear the America we knew and loved is gone.

Motocross Survivor

July 4th, 2011
11:08 am

Wimps. The first Peachtree I ran was and still is the hottest on record (1991). At race time it was already close to 80 degrees with sky-high dew point. I finished in around 43:20. Note: And I’m pretty sure this was the last Peachtree to have an American (and white) winner, Ed Eyestone of Utah.

Motocross Survivor

July 4th, 2011
11:10 am

Yes, JSmith, I’m afraid you’re correct about America. It is truly a superpower in decline, morally, economically, culturally, and militarily. Thank the Zionists for that. You actually live in the United States of Israel and may not know it.

Tea Party Meber

July 4th, 2011
11:21 am

How many tax payer dollers were waisted on this event?

Mister Christopher

July 4th, 2011
11:23 am

Wow. Anti-semitism on a PRR article. Nice. Jesus man, everything isn’t the fault of the Jooooos.

I’m guessing you’re on Cynthia McKinney’s campaign staff.

Robert the Yellow Jacket

July 4th, 2011
11:24 am

Could we get the Rachel Renbarger from today’s best AJC article “Girl Teaches Adults a Civic Lesson” to mediate our politicians endless debate that fails to solve most of our problems? Our pols just want to blame the other side always and posture. She has more sense than just about all of them.

Curious One

July 4th, 2011
11:45 am

Another great Peachtree, but why all of the “professional” runners ? Who needs them ? The race, its an Atlanta Event, is fine and even better without all of the PROS – let them run in pro meets and leave the Peachtree to regular runners and fun runners/walkers – no more prize money ? Cures the problem immediately.

Fast Fred

July 4th, 2011
11:54 am

All the pros? It was the USA 10k Championship race this year. This was a professional race.


July 4th, 2011
12:00 pm

Bonnie @ 10:55…

This was a tough year to run the Peachtree.

It was more than ten degrees hotter this year than last year. That’s a huge difference. And running in the morning is arguably worse than the evening because the humidity is higher in the morning. That means your sweat doesn’t evaporate and cool you.

That said, great event as usual. It is probably the only events I participate in or watch that gives me goosebumps every time. It is a tremendous celebration with great runners and a wonderful crowd that cheers the runners on and hands out water, ice, beer, high 5’s, and an awesome atmosphere.

Jay H.

July 4th, 2011
12:06 pm

That felt like the hottest Peachtree out of the 15 I’ve run.


July 4th, 2011
12:47 pm

4th in a Row and I loved it! Great job, and can’t wait till next year. I love seeing people who are not really physically fit trying. It is an inspiration to me.



July 4th, 2011
12:49 pm

My first PRR and I had a great time. Not the race to run a PR but you can’t beat that crowd of supporters. Thanks to the ATC for organizing and the AJC for sponsoring.

Jay H.

July 4th, 2011
12:58 pm

THANK YOU, VOLUNTEERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


July 4th, 2011
12:59 pm

Linda and Carol, why would you take your time to mention such a trivial matter. I would not have responded to you, but I’m hoping to allay other inept responses.


July 4th, 2011
1:18 pm

@KeepCalm: there are always numbers to be had. I was about to list mine on CraigsList, then just scanned the list of those looking for numbers. I called a guy, he was thrilled, transaction done. There are always those of us who think we can do this in March, but something comes up. Sorry you had no luck getting a number; better luck next time.

clyde crommett

July 4th, 2011
1:39 pm

get over the temps july is always hot ur remarks should be about so much fun and your abulity to get out of bed this am


July 4th, 2011
1:45 pm

JaniceB. it’s not trivial for a major “newspaper” to consistently have articles that are hard to read and comprehend because of typos and missing words. Fortunately Doug Roberson is one of the better ones! If a writer cannot write correctly how am I the reader supposed to know for sure that the story is even accurate and true? Answer: I can’t be sure.

Today was my 31st and it was about like all the others. FUN and EXCITING! Thanks for all the volunteers, and spectators!


July 4th, 2011
1:46 pm

Also a big thanks to the fire, police, and EMS personnel lining the streets!

Herry Tic

July 4th, 2011
1:55 pm

here’s a mad thought, since July 4th is so hot and humid in Atlanta, why not move the race date to October 1st, a much more pleasant day for a nice run and a date not already occupied with a plethora of competing events.

The Peachtree isn’t about the date, its about the place, why not make it fun and pleasant for everyone spectators and runners and move it to October 1st? A chance to showcase the beauty and splendor of our fair city on a wonderful Autumn day. It doesn’t get any better.

October 1st, think about it.


July 4th, 2011
5:15 pm

this was my 8th PTRC…this was a tough one…my biggest issue is people not throwing their cups over to the curb…when you are running(walking) this is so dangerous…that’s why it took me 3yrs to do it again due to injuries


July 4th, 2011
5:23 pm

Doug – thanks for those kind words. This was my first “race” of any kind. I’ve been obese my whole life and lost a lot of weight in the past year. I’m still overweight – but still losing. Just being able to get ready for and complete this race (from start to finish) was huge for me and something I needed to do for very personal reasons for the “new me.” Yes, I walked. Yes, I stayed on the right. No, I’m not a “real runner,” but I put my heart into it and am so grateful for the experience, those on the sidelines cheering us on, those volunteers giving out water – it was amazing!!


July 4th, 2011
5:35 pm

It was hot, but no surprise for Atlanta. We have been lucky these past few years.

The Peachtree, except for those up front, is an event, not a race. Being out there with thousands of people, both runner/walkers and spectators is an uplifting experience. For those complaining, there are many true races in the area to run in and post a time.

To the tea bagged asking about taxpayer cost, my understanding is that even the police, firemen and EMS personnel donated their time. This is a huge event for Atlanta’s economy and well worth the cost, whatever small amount it may be.

Thanks to the many volunteers. It is much appreciated.