Longtime runner races for Nature Center

Credit: contributed

Credit: contributed

Shortly after moving to Atlanta in 1982, Mike Moore learned that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race was a big deal for local runners.

“I had just started running the year before, but I wanted to do the Peachtree,” said the 72-year-old Virginia-Highland resident. “So I thought I’d run few other races to warm up.”

One of the events he chose was the Possum Trot 10K, a Peachtree prequalifier and an annual fundraiser for the educational programs offered by the Chattahoochee Nature Preserve in Roswell.

“The timing was absolutely perfect — about three weeks before the Peachtree,” said Moore. “I used my time in the Possum Trot to gauge how ready I was, a guide to see if I was in shape.”

Moore signed up for his first Possum Run in 1985 and has been part of at least 20 events since then. Along with being a qualifier, the race is one of the metro area’s most scenic, said Moore.

“The venue is absolutely gorgeous as it runs along the Chattahoochee River,” he said. “I enjoy the early morning fog over the river. It can get humid, but it’s a flat course, and that helps my time.”

As a Possum veteran, Moore said he has a bit of an edge over newcomers. “One thing that takes people by surprise is that it’s an out-and-back course where the last mile is a little hill. If you have not prepared for it, that will tax you severely. But it’s a wrinkle I kind of like.”

He also enjoys the camaraderie of seeing many of the same runners return year after year. But it’s still a very competitive outing.

“The first time I ran it, I was 34 years old,” he said. “Back then, it was hard to place in my age group. But as time goes on and people move or change races, I can win my age group or at least come close.”

Moore also runs an average of 7 miles five to six times a week and more if he’s training for a marathon, like the Boston one he ran in 2009. This year’s Peachtree will be his 40th. But the Possum Trot has an added element: It gives back to the nature center.

“And I’ve always enjoyed the people and the volunteers who have organized this race for years,” he said.

The 45th Annual Possum Trot will be held June 17 with a 10K, a fun run and a virtual race. Details are online at chattnaturecenter.org/special-events/possum-trot-10k-event.

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