Bill Thorn extends AJC Peachtree Road Race streak to 52

Bill Thorn, the only person to have completed every AJC Peachtree Road Race, finished his 52nd Peachtree July 4, 2021 near his home in Fayette County. (Photo courtesy Cheryl Thrasher)
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Bill Thorn, the only person to have completed every AJC Peachtree Road Race, finished his 52nd Peachtree July 4, 2021 near his home in Fayette County. (Photo courtesy Cheryl Thrasher)

The only person to have completed every AJC Peachtree Road Race kept his streak alive Sunday morning. Exercising the option to complete the race in a virtual format, Bill Thorn successfully walked a 10-kilometer course near his home in Fayette County.

Thorn, 90, finished his 52nd Peachtree in three hours and 50 minutes.

“I thank the Lord for getting me get through that,” Thorn told the AJC on Sunday evening from his home in Tyrone. “It was super. I’m not feeling bad or anything, and I’m just going to take my time and recover.”

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Thorn’s Peachtree attempt was complicated by a fall he suffered in June. On Sunday, he used a walker that allowed him to stand upright as he completed his course. Thorn walked with his daughter, Cheryl Thrasher, and a neighbor and was joined at points by other neighbors.

“I had apprehension in the beginning, and my daughter even said after it was over that she had thoughts about me not being able to finish it,” Thorn said. “But, anyway, we got it done. And I appreciate all you people who boost me and stand up for me because y’all are part of it, and it makes this whole thing go.”

“He said his right ankle was hurting a little bit, but not enough to stop him,” Thrasher said. “He just kept plugging along at a decent pace.”

The Thorn family was represented at the actual Peachtree course by Bill Thorn’s son Terry Thorn and granddaughter Kenzie Bayman (and her husband, Max). Terry, who ran the first Peachtree in 1970 with his father (and brother Bill Jr.) at the age of 6, wanted to run “because I want a Thorn to be on the course,” Thrasher said her brother told him.

Thorn won 38 state high-school championships in track and field and cross country as coach at Landmark Christian School, believed to be the most won by any Georgia high school coach in history.

Thorn’s hope is to be back on the actual Peachtree course in 2022 for his 53rd Peachtree.