The 2020 AJC Peachtree Road Race has been moved from July 4th, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some answers to help you navigate the change:
Q: What is the new date for the 2020 AJC Peachtree Road Race?
A: Thursday, Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day. Provided the race is run that day, it will be the first time that the Peachtree will be run on a day other than July 4. The race was first run in 1970.
Q: Why is the race being moved?
A: On the advice of health experts to the Atlanta Track Club, the race is being moved due to the uncertainty of the health risks posed by bringing 45,000 participants, along with fans, race volunteers and support personnel in close proximity. Atlanta Track Club executive director Rich Kenah also cited “the overall fatigue factor by those in the medical community, the first responders” who would be needed to support the race.
“And by having it on Thanksgiving, it allows for testing to be significantly ramped up, contact tracing to happen, and it allows for all of us to better prepare for bringing people together in larger groups,” Kenah said.
While describing himself and health experts as “cautiously optimistic,” Kenah also recognized that Thanksgiving Day is not a “perfect option.”
» MARK BRADLEY: Moving the AJC Peachtree had to be done
Q: What about people who have registered already for the race, expecting it to be run July 4?
A: They don’t have to do anything if they plan to run on Thanksgiving. The track club will reopen registration Aug. 31 for track club members and Sept. 7 for nonmembers. Registration will be open on a first-come, first-served basis until it closes Sept. 13 or if the field of 60,000 is filled.
Registrants who do not want to or cannot take part have multiple options — they can run the race virtually, transfer their number to a different person, defer to take part in the 2021 Peachtree, donate their race fee to the track club or ask for a refund. The club can be reached here.
Q: What about the Thanksgiving Day half marathon?
A: The half marathon and 5K put on by the track club have been canceled to make room for the run down Peachtree Street.
Q: Was canceling an option?
A: It was, but, Kenah said, the same health experts who led him to decide to not hold the Peachtree on its traditional date “were also the same voices that give me some hope that we can have Peachtree in 2020 on Thanksgiving Day.”
Q: What does this mean for the track club?
A: Kenah said that the club “will feel the impact of this pandemic for years to come.” It will have financial repercussions, Kenah said, and the coronavirus has forced the cancellation of several events and programs. Also, Kenah said, “I have some concerns about that Fourth of July traditions being eroded in some way. We need to make sure we return to that Fourth of July as soon as we can. Because that is what’s special, that is what the Atlanta Track Club does on the Fourth.”
Q: Will there be adjustments made as health precautions?
A: The field, almost all of which is normally divided into 21 start groups that start five minutes apart to create a more even flow for participants, will be separated into more groups and separated further. The track club is also planning to handle water stations differently and is working with MARTA to make transportation to and from the race safer.
Q: Will the Peachtree be run on July 4 in 2021?
A: That is the plan.
Q: What about the T-shirts?
A: T-shirt production had actually already begun, so finishers for the Thanksgiving Peachtree will receive shirts intended to be distributed to finishers on July 4.
“So for years and decades to come, people will be able to wear their Fourth of July, 51st running of the Peachtree shirt that happened on Thanksgiving Day,” Kenah said.
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