Bryant’s chip time was two hours, 35 minutes and 1 second, a pace of about 25 minutes per mile.
According to the online results, there were 12 finishers who had slower times than Bryant, although they could have reached the finish line before Bryant if they had started much earlier than he had or if they had participated on Saturday, as the Atlanta Track Club held the event over two days as a COVID-19 safety measure.
Regardless, Bryant’s performance was an achievement in its own way. At some point in his trek to Midtown, Bryant said he realized he was at the far back of the pack.
“And then I thought to myself – and this was intentional – I can be around some friends that are runners and go, ‘Have you ever done Peachtree?’” he said. “‘Yes, well, what’s your time? O.K., I was last in 2021. So that’s the reason why I did it.”
Bryant was more than capable of finishing far faster. Bryant said he runs every morning and has run with a 45-pound weighted vest. And then he walks after he finishes his run. But his approach to the Peachtree changed years ago when his father Ray asked if he could join him.
“I’m thinking to myself, he’s going to be so slow,” Bryant said. “But he taught me it’s more about the journey, and it was a real special time. So from that point forward, I’ve just been taking it easy.”
Bryant’s Peachtree experience Sunday reflected his approach. He said that, along the way, he happened upon the parents of a volleyball player whose team had repeatedly vanquished his daughter’s high-school team and struck up a conversation as they traveled to the finish line.
(It wasn’t just any volleyball player. The couple whom Bryant met were Dawn and Buddy Curry, parents of Gabby Curry, the Buford High grad who helped Kentucky to the national championship in April. Gabby is the sister of David Curry, who led Georgia Tech in tackles each of the past two seasons. Buddy Curry played eight seasons for the Falcons, was a two-time All-Pro and is a member of the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame.)
“I mean, not only am I last, but I got to meet Gabby’s parents?” Bryant said. “It’s been a phenomenal day.”
Bryant looks back on his preoccupation with finishing in the top 1,000 and considers it folly. The thousands of Peachtree participants who see the race as a way to celebrate Independence Day, share in a ritual with loved ones and share in an Atlanta tradition might see it similarly.
“I get what I was doing back then,” he said. “It’s much nicer this way.”