Ty McCormack and Nicole DiMercurio first ran the AJC Peachtree Road Race the same way thousands of other kids did: with their families, as an honored Fourth of July tradition.
Except that these two former Atlanta-area high school stars ran themselves right into the elite field. Both have Top 10 finishes to show for their efforts, and both will be on the starting line again for Monday’s 47th running.
McCormack, 23, won the 2009 USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country and 5000-meter titles competing for Lanier Running Club and in 2010 won Georgia state AAA titles at 1600 and 3200 meters for North Hall High School in his hometown of Gainesville. After competing for Clemson, he was named 2014 USTFCCCA South Region Cross Country Runner of the Year at Auburn. McCormack earned degrees in Chinese language and international trade before getting an MBA and a master’s degree in finance.
He shows the most pride, however, in his four-consecutive AJC Peachtree Road Race finishes as the first runner from Georgia, capping off the streak by finishing ninth overall in the 2014 race.
“My first time as the top Georgia runner was a really special moment,” said McCormack, who now lives in Florida and has embarked on dual careers as a financial planner and professional runner.
McCormack may not have turned serious about his running until he was a junior at North Hall, but his Peachtree fun began the first year he was old enough to run the race. As an adolescent, he ran with his mother, Kelly, and the neighbors, who were known for dressing up as pirates or beauty queens.
“It was only about two years before I was saying, ‘Wait for me! Slow down!’” said Kelly McCormack, who missed Peachtree last year for the first time since 1986 when she traveled to South Korea to watch Ty compete at 10,000 meters in the World University Games.
Her son hopes to follow her example in longevity if not in costume. “Going to Peachtree was a huge part of my childhood,” he said. “I’ll put in on my calendar every year.”
A four-time North Gwinnet High School distance MVP who was fourth in the 2008 state AAAAA cross country championships before going on to compete for the University of Georgia, DiMercurio recently joined the ZAP Fitness team in Blowing Rock, N.C.
When she was young, DiMercurio ran Peachtree every year with her father, Sam. Last year, he joined the throngs of cheering spectators just before the 5-mile mark (“He was exactly at the point where I thought, ‘this is getting kind of hard’”) as DiMercurio was on her way to a stunning second-place finish.
“I kept thinking there had to be a mistake,” said DiMercurio, now 25. “For probably two weeks after that I was still checking the results.”
Among the rewards? A huge hug from her ex-Peachtree partner and proud dad.
McCormack and DiMercurio join an All-Star elite field at the AJC Peachtree Road Race that includes previously announced entrants Jared Ward, a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team in the marathon; Neely Spence Gracey, the top American woman in the 2016 Boston Marathon; Edna Kiplagat, a two-time World Champion; Lineth Chepkurui, a three-time AJC Peachtree Road Race champion; and Philip Langat, winner of the 2016 Lilac Bloomsday Run 12K, among others. The 47th running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race will take place on July 4.