- Alex Makrides
Dick Vincent has run the AJC Peachtree Road Race for 40 consecutive years, which means he has collected 40 Peachtree Road Race T-shirts. Each contains a different story, a different memory and a different meaning.
The 2017 shirt might be the most special to Vincent, though, because it encompasses all the stories, all the memories and all the meanings of the 39 other years.
“I am 47 years old, and my whole life our Fourth of July has been built around him running this race,” Vincent’s daughter Sally Williams said. “My dad is kinda funny. He bagged up (the shirts) and keeps them like a trophy room.”
Fifteen members of Vincent’s family traveled from far and wide, including Portland, Oregon; Richmond, Virginia; and London, to come watch him race, and many run right beside him.
But before they could take to the 6.2-mile course, Vincent treated them all to a history of his 40-year Peachtree Road Race experience.
The evening before the race, Vincent and his family gathered for dinner, where Vincent presented a slideshow. It contained 39 slides. One for each shirt Vincent earned for running in the July 4 race.
With each slide, Vincent shared details on what was going on in the world at the time and what was happening within his own family.
"He would be like ‘this year Nelson Mandela was freed from prison’ and then show us the shirt,” Drew Vincent said. Drew, who is Dick’s son, flew in from London to race with his father for a 10th time.
Dick said his most memorable shirt came in 2010, when he raced after undergoing two surgeries to remove a gastrointestinal tumor. He was strategic about planning the surgeries.
“When I found out I was going to have to get surgery, I postponed it until after the 2009 race,” Dick said. “That way, I could have a year to prepare for the race in 2010.”
He is now cancer-free and running three times a week to stay in shape.
Dick ran this year’s race with 11 members of his family, the most that have ever run the race with him. And although some ran the race faster than others, all 11 met when the course turned from Peachtree Street to 10th Street, just so they could run the final mile together and collect their T-shirts at the same time.
“In today’s world, to do anything 40 times in a row, it is so hard to find someone that is that consistent,” said Dick’s son Jamie, who has run the race 21 years in a row with his father. “I couldn’t be more proud of him.”View full experience