Atlanta Track Club previews new additions to AJC Peachtree Road Race

With the 47th running of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race now three days away, the Atlanta Track Club held a news conference Friday to discuss some new looks to this year’s edition.

Race director Rich Kenah opened the conference by praising the work of the Atlanta Track Club with the annual race.

“For the past 46 years, the AJC Peachtree Road Race has been the mechanism that Atlanta Track Club gets people healthy and fit through people running and walking on the Fourth of July,” Kenah said.

Among the new aspects for this year’s race is an event alert system that will be used throughout Monday’s events.

There are four alert levels that will be used according to the conditions; low, which is good conditions; moderate, which calls for participants to use caution; high, which warns of dangerous conditions; and event cancelled, which would happen under only extreme conditions. Kenah said as of Friday the race is at a moderate alert level.

Kenah also revealed this year’s entry numbers, which are comparable with last year’s race. There are 60,000 racers signed up for Monday’s races; 58,000 people finished the race in 2015.

Kenah displayed the race’s new official running shoe, which was created by Mizuno, the official footwear and apparel partner of the Atlanta Track Club. The shoe boasts a red design along with a peach band red and blue stars sprinkled along the side to illustrate both the Peachtree Road Race as well as the race being ran on Independence Day.

“It’s in keeping with tradition that we do things as big and as bold as we can in the running community,” Kenah said.

Along with a new shoe comes a new racing division this year.

Becky Washburn, the athlete liaison for the Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division, discussed the creation of the push-assist division for 2016.

Washburn explained that the race has held trials for the division the past two years to ensure everything went smoothly when it debuted. She said the Peachtree Road Race is the first marquee race to add a competitive push-assist division and hopes that other races will soon follow in its path.

Brent Pease, who competes with his brother Kyle and will be one of the five teams in the inaugural push assist field, praised the way the field was created.

“To work with Shepherd and Atlanta track club, we owe them a tremendous amount of gratitude for helping us start this,” Pease said. “When Kyle and I started doing endurance races, 10Ks and 5Ks, we immediately sought out our hometown race. Everybody has been extremely welcoming and very intelligent about how we’ve grown this division.”