Kevin Dix will run in his 20th The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race this year. He ran in his first one in 1994, missing only the 1996 run. Dix lives in northern Virginia, where he works for the U.S. government and manages and designs the construction of national cemeteries.

I first started running when I was in Los Angeles. That was one of the few international races in the U.S.

As soon as I moved back to northern Virginia, I tried the first year back and second year back in the lottery. I was finally successful in my third year back. I learned the trick was to use express mail.

Logistically, for many years I would make the drive. I actually worked on the coast of Mississippi for a while. I would make the drive from my home in Virginia all the way to Mississippi and back through Atlanta. It was an easy drive, 10-12 hours from here to Atlanta. I made the drive for 10 or 11 years.

I finally made the leap and started flying.

I always use the hotel every year in Buckhead, well within walking distance of the start line.

We have just recently started going to Buckhead Diner (to eat). We love that place. We try different places all over Buckhead and lot downtown, as well.

We started going to Pittypat’s Porch downtown. We try to make that visit every year. We’ve tried a lot of different things because they have great variety that we can’t find here.

My wife and I make the trip. I think this may be her eighth or ninth consecutive Peachtree. Between the flight and hotel, it’s probably $800-900. Sometimes we’ve been late, but I typically will start looking for flights more than a month ahead.

My biggest tip now would be to make the hotel reservation sometime after the first of the year and the flight reservation as soon as you know you are in. I’ll make the hotel reservation whether I know if I’m getting in or not.

As soon as I get the entry I make the flight reservation.

It’s gotten significantly expensive, but moreso after 1996 when Buckhead really expanded for the Olympics. The hotels have gone up incrementally, but flights have gone up significantly.

Now, (I continue because) it’s more the streak than anything else. My brother and his family live in Athens. We usually try to stop there before and after the race every year.

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As told to staff writer Doug Roberson