The world’s largest 10k and its 60,000 runners will once again take to Peachtree Street on Thursday for the running of the annual Peachtree Road Race. With its Georgia State roots (check it out here if you don’t know it yet), here are a couple of things to look for while watching the action on July 4.
Georgia State cross country and track and field star Katharine Showalter qualified as one of the elite runners for the Peachtree Road Race this year, and will start at 7:17 a.m. before the men’s race.
She will seek to become one of the top 25 women finishers in the Peachtree since Jenn Feenstra was 25th (203rd overall) in the 2005 Peachtree Road Race.
GSU has had a winner of both the men’s and women’s races in Peachtree History. Math professor Gillian Valk won the third Peachtree in 1972, snapping Gayle Barron’s two-year win streak. Valk is retired and lives in Tucker, Ga. Wayne Roach won the 1974 Peacthree, finishing in 30:15 when the course was tougher and runners had to deal with some hills, unlike today’s course.
GSU’s Andrew Letherby had top-10 finishes in back-to-back races in 2005 and 2006. He owns GSU’s fastest time in the Peachtree (28:45 in his seventh-place finish in 2005).
Zaven O’Bryant, former Panther cross country runner, will try to finish in the top 100 for a fourth consecutive year.
Keep an eye on the division winners, too. Retired GSU professor Dr. Charles Fallis will seek to defend his title in the 85-and-over division. Last year, the 86-year-old stayed ahead of the younger competition when three new 85-year-olds entered for the first time in that division. Bill Brackin, a former top-20 finisher overall, will now compete for the first time as a 65-year-old in this race.
Chuck Speight, now 67, will run his 38th Peachtree Road Race, with his wife, Ann, who will jog down Peachtree for a 36th time.
And Associate Sports Communications Director Mike Holmes, a top 25,000 finisher among the 60,000 last year, will seek to beat his 1:08:52 time and finish under an hour this year, now running his second Peachtree.
For Friday’s blog, we will give an update on how the Panthers did in the race. If you are a GSU alum and are running, e-mail Mike Holmes (email@example.com) to have your time included on the list. If you like, include our degree and graduation year, along with what number Peachtree this is for you.
— Mike Holmes