ATLANTA — A threat of a deluge wasn’t enough to deter more than 55,000 people who turned out to run, walk or trudge through the annual Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race 10K.
The world’s largest 10K road race kicked off at 6:45 a.m. with the always inspiring wheelchair race. Elite runners followed with more casual participants bringing up the rear — and providing much of the comic relief for which the race is known.
While many Fourth of July events throughout Metro Atlanta were cancelled or postponed because of bad weather this year, race organizers insisted the 44th annual Peachtree would not be cancelled unless there was lightning. No lightning was reported, and even the rain steered clear of the route during the race.
In the end, the overcast day worked to the benefit of participants. Most years, July in Georgia brings with it unbearable heat, but this year’s race saw temperatures hovering around a relatively cool 70 degrees at the time elite runners stepped off.
Still, organizers started the race under a yellow caution flag because of the threat of weather. This year’s race was the first run in the rain since 1994, according to various reports.
“It ended up being a perfect day to run,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told WXIA-TV.
While the rain may not have deterred many participants, it appeared many spectators decided not to line the route. While crowds were clearly thinner than in years past, they were no less enthusiastic.
For the record, Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia won the men’s race, finishing in 28:07. On the women’s side, Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya went home a winner, finishing in 32:09.
Many participants and spectators alike offered tributes to the victims of April’s terrorist attack in Boston, which claimed the lives of three and injured 280 more. In response, this year’s Peachtree featured an increased presence of law enforcement officers along the entire route.
“This was a great day for Atlanta,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Reed as saying. “This is a huge part of the culture of Atlanta and the most important thing we could have done to show respect for the folks in Boston was to carry on and have our race.”