ATLANTA - There was no official starting horn this morning, but that didn’t stop thousands from running the AJC Peachtree Road Race – from around the globe.
"I looked outside our front door, and I saw that we had probably five inches of snow over the night," said Rome, Georgia native Bobby Jefts, who ran the race this morning. He now lives in Eagle River, Alaska. "It's about 23 degrees up here, which, by the way, is relatively warm 'cause it's been in single digits lately, and I mapped out a 10-kilometer course."
The difficult circumstances of moving the race to virtual this year were less than ideal, but Atlanta Track Club executive director Rich Kenaw said an upside was the worldwide scale of the race.
Bobby Jefts ran the race in the freezing cold in Alaska. (Bobby Jefts)
"We have had participants from 10 counties finish their Peachtree so far,” Kenaw said. “The furthest from Atlanta was someone who finished in Melbourne, Australia."
He said of the 45,000 that registered for the race this year, about 9,000 submitted official results on Thursday through the Peachtree Virtual Race Experience app. Runners have until Sunday night to complete the race and submit their results, Kenaw said.
In Washington, D.C., the Hancock family completed the 10K Thanksgiving morning to help with their homesickness.
"I really miss Atlanta, living in Atlanta. I grew up pretty much my whole life in Atlanta,” said Hugh Hancock, who ran through the National Mall with his mom and dad, Bryan and Maryanne, and brother, Will. His dad said the nation’s capital gave them reminders of home during their run.
"We started our run from Black Lives Matter Plaza in D.C., Lafayette Square, and there was this picture of John Lewis right after we started there so we stopped, took a picture there with John Lewis behind us, and kept going,” Bryan Hancock said. “We felt it was in some way meant to be for us.”
Kenaw said all of Atlanta Track Club’s events moving forward will have a virtual component for those who cannot be there in person, but his goal is that this is the last all-virtual Peachtree.
“We are all eyes focused after this weekend on bringing an in-person Peachtree back to Atlanta for 2021,” Kenaw said.
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