Ex-Fox 5 reporter Randy Travis has run 32 Peachtree Road Races, 47 marathons

He hopes to run a marathon in Antarctica next year.
Randy Travis, a long-time Fox 5 investigative reporter until June 2024, has taken part in the AJC Peachtree Road Race 33 times including in 2019, where he took this selfie at Piedmont Park after the race concluded. Courtesy of Randy Travis

Credit: CONTRI

Credit: CONTRI

Randy Travis, a long-time Fox 5 investigative reporter until June 2024, has taken part in the AJC Peachtree Road Race 33 times including in 2019, where he took this selfie at Piedmont Park after the race concluded. Courtesy of Randy Travis

Randy Travis, the longtime investigative reporter at Fox 5 who recently retired, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in his late 20s and figured he needed to get in shape to better improve his blood sugar levels.

“I decided to turn lemons into lemonade,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a recent interview. So he resurrected a teen hobby: running.

The 62-year-old longtime Atlanta resident who grew up in Athens not only joined the AJC Peachtree Road Race regularly but also eventually began taking part in marathons. His tally so far: 32 Peachtree Road Races and 47 marathons.

He runs about 1,100 miles a year and over the past three decades, he estimates he has tallied more than 30,000 miles. That’s more than enough to run the entire circumference of the Earth around the equator or back and forth between Atlanta and Los Angeles seven times.

Travis also convinced his wife Joan, now a retired kindergarten teacher, to run as well, and she has 17 marathons and 29 Peachtree Road Races under her belt.

“It’s one more thing to do in our marriage,” Travis said. “We’ve done marathons in Europe. We just got back from Sydney.” He hopes to run a marathon on every continent and has applied to run a marathon next year in Antarctica.

His favorite place to run? Stone Mountain Park. “Even though it’s busy, it’s so serene,” he said. “It’s a forgotten jewel. There are all sorts of trails and roads. I’ll go off campus and run to Avondale Estates and back.”

Randy Travis, a Fox 5 reporter from 1990 to 2024, participated in the AJC Peachtree Road Race last year with his wife Joan. He has done the race 32 times. She has joined him 29 times. CONTRIBUTED

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Travis said his competitive nature can sometimes go too far.

In 2016, the Atlanta Track Club did a celebrity group run that included Kaitlyn Ross from Channel 11 and Ben Ingram from the Braves. Travis quickly scoped out his competition for serious runners and discovered CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam regularly ran ultra marathons, which are longer than the 26.2 miles of a normal marathon.

“I thought he was going to torch me,” Travis said. So he decided to run “like a wild banshee” that year to complete the 10K in as quick a time as he could.

Good news: he managed to finish ahead of Van Dam by a couple of minutes. Bad news: he was so exhausted, he landed at the medical tent at Piedmont Park. “They had to put ice on me to get my temperature down,” he said. “That was so stupid. I had my Fox 5 number on my chest. I took it off because I was embarrassed!”

What does the AJC Peachtree Road Race mean to the city?

“It’s one of the things that identifies us. When I go places and tell them about Atlanta, I always tell them that we have the biggest 10K in the world. It never ceases to amaze them that we can somehow organize 60,000 people, take them from Point A 6.2 miles to Point B. Everybody is smiling and sweaty at the same time at the end of it. It’s a remarkable accomplishment for our city to be able to consistently do it and grow it since 1970.

Q: Do you have a favorite part of the race?

A: “I used to be in the A group for about 25 years. That’s the first group of mortal runners [after the seeded runners]. Every year, I would stand under the giant flag and sing the national anthem and watch the planes go by and hear the mayor speak. I felt so proud to be a Georgian and American. In the past couple of years, my times have slowed as my age has grown. I’m now in group B, one group behind. I can still see the flag ahead of me. [His best time was in 2010 at 44:07.]

Q: You’re trying to talk me into running Peachtree for the first time. What do you say?

A: “When I started running, I couldn’t go more than a 100 yards without my side starting to hurt. I was in my late 20s. You have to give your body time to build up the resistance and capability to go 10K. I suggest first walking every day. Walk a couple of miles. Once you get comfortable, try running to your neighbor’s mailbox. Then run to the stop sign. Build up with little spurts of running within your walking until your side doesn’t hurt. Eventually you’ll find yourself running a 10K!”

Randy Travis on his way to MARTA after hitting the medical tent in 2016 after the AJC Peachtree Road Race. CONTRIBUTED

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