Running Peachtree

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One small step ...
For 45 years Atlantans (and others) have celebrated July Fourth with a 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) running race down Peachtree Street.
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The road to victory
This is what it looks like hours before the race, which will involve 60,000 runners urged on by as many as 250,000 spectators along a course that includes several steep hills, often debilitating humidity and heat.
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Gen. Sherman and Peachtee
Union Gen. William T. Sherman attempted to blaze much of the Peachtree course during July 150 years ago. It took him months to finish ... and he had a horse.
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Pre-race mystique
The street is strangely empty for a while ...
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Because many are here
The lines to the portable toilets can really back up just before the race. This one had 84 an hour before the start.
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The wait begins
A lot of that pre-race stretching is pretty much un-done by about 30 minutes of standing and waiting in your "wave" group. About every 10 minutes your group will move forward another 50 yards until you get to the starting line at Lenox Square.
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The crowd is usually quiet
They will, after all, expend the next 60 minutes or so engaged in a very physical activity.
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Most won't look at a camera
Women have no makeup on ... and men have no curiosity.
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Except maybe this guy
Who was trying to take a picture of the BIG FLAG at the starting line.
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Rear view
The late Lewis Grizzard once observed: "If you're not the lead sled dog, the view never changes."

It's like that in a 60,000-person road race. You pass the time by reading funny slogans on shirts, such as: "If you can read this, then I'm not last."
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And you're off ...
The average 10-kilometer race takes about 9,300 steps, not counting the several dozen necessary to avoid the occasional runner who will suddenly stop or veer abruptly in front of several others to grab a drink at a water station.
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Rear view
Atlanta is a beautiful city and Peachtree Street is its most impressive thoroughfare. But if you are actually running, most of what you see is this.

RUNNING TIP: Try to limit the number of people who pass you.
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The Finished Line
Legs cramping, feet hurt, gulping for air ... but ahead of many others.
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The shirt
This is what the runners want -- The Peachtree Road Race T-shirt, presented to those who successfully complete the race. Unfortunately this year, they ran out of some sizes.
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But this guy got his
That's why he's all smiles in Piedmont Park.


For the past 10 years Augusta Chronicle columnist Bill Kirby had gone back to his hometown to run in the Peachtree Road Race. This year he took a camera.

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