Why I run: preparing for the Peachtree Road Race

Register now for AJC Peachtree Road Race

Combined ShapeCaption
Register now for AJC Peachtree Road Race

For more than 50 years, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race has been the city’s signature running event. And the Peachtree’s 10K distance ensures that this race is for everyone, from elite world-class runners to people running their first-ever event. And that inclusivity is what has made the AJC Peachtree Road Race the largest 10K event in the world.

The Atlanta Track Club expects nearly 60,000 in-person runners from around the world to take part in the race on July 4. And this year, after virtual and hybrid races during the pandemic, the course will once again start at Lenox Square and end at Piedmont Park, with plenty of excitement and energy along the way.

Registration for the event is open until June 4. You can sign up here.

ExploreAJC Peachtree Road Race reopens registration

The Atlanta Track Club asked runners to share why they’re participating and what motivates them to run. Here are some of their responses:

Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Nancy Stokes

I ran my first Peachtree in 1981. I’m not athletic in any way except for running, and I’m not very good at that. But running and the Peachtree have been an important part of my life for going on 42 years. It serves as my “barometer” on how healthy I’ve been during the given year, how my determination is holding up, and how I much courage I can muster in times when I’ve been injured or just finished chemo. I’m 78 at present and hope I can at least walk for exercise and maybe even still be doing the Peachtree as long as I live.

Running has given me a confidence in myself that I never thought I would have, and I will always be thankful for every time I go out the door to run/ walk, no matter how hard it is to put that foot out the door. A few months ago, a nurse in my oncologist’s office remarked to another nurse who was questioning my low heart rate, “Oh, don’t worry about that. She’s an athlete”. I think it’s one of the nicest things anyone ever said to me and I’m still basking in that compliment!

Thank you, Atlanta Track Club, for making the Peachtree one of the high points of my year and for always organizing it so well. I continue to be amazed and grateful.

ExploreVolunteers needed for annual AJC Peachtree Road Race

Zhou Yang

I suffered MSK from long hours of working from home. I love running but never fully committed to a race. I am motivated to battle my MSK with more active life style.

My pain is getting better after running and exercise. I am turning 50 this year, and would like to celebrate my 50th birthday with a race to inspire my kids. It’s never too late to try new things and challenge yourself.

Dwight Hunsberger

My first Peachtree was in 1985 when there were only six or seven starting waves. As I was waiting to start, I began a conversation with an older gentleman next to me. He was a lifelong runner and a former coach at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. I told him this was my first race and asked him when he started running.

“Back in the 30s”, he said.

He’d run in the 1936 Olympics, when Jesse Owens won four gold medals. It was a very memorable Peachtree!!

Charles Brown

This year — God willing — I will be running in my 31st consecutive Peachtree Road Race. I started running on a whim in the late 80s, and my first Peachtree was in 1991. I had no idea it would become a lifelong healthy obsession.

What was a race has turned into an event. Now, at 65, it is a blessing to still be able to run 6.2 miles. Thank you volunteers and Atlanta Track Club for all that you do for the Atlanta running community.

Jim Cleary

I run and walk to stay in shape. I will be 87 when I do the Peachtree this July, and it will be my 32nd running.

When my granddaughter was 10 I ran with her. She is still running and will do the Peachtree this year. I want to run the Peachtree when her son is 10 — he is 8 now. I would also like to be able to run with his younger brother, but he is only 6. If I can stay in shape I will run with him too.