Atlanta’s Reverse Parade

THIS This Independence Day I ran the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race for the 6th time.  It’s one of my favorite traditions in this fair city and has become as much a Fourth of July tradition as fireworks. The Peachtree Road Race is the world’s largest 10K race.  60,000 runners, ages eight to eighty, clog Peachtree Rd/St starting at 7:30am.  Some runners are serious competitors, but most are in it for fun.  Especially those who run donning costumes.  This year I spotted a pair of Oompa Loompas and Harlem Globetrotter legend Meadowlark Lemon (complete with tri-colored basketball dribbled the entire 6.2 miles). Over 150,000 spectators line the course.  This year I ran past 4 live bands, 3 “free beer” stands, 5 citizens exhorting runners through a bullhorn, a clergyman cooling runners with holy water, and countless tiny American flags. The whole thing is a reverse parade.  Those on the sidewalks entertain the street bound passersby. But my love for the Peachtree serves another purpose: it’s a yearly motivation to stay in shape.  At least good enough shape to complete the race without much struggle, if not in personal record time. Make a “stay in shape” tradition of your own.  Find an annual race or competition in your area and vow to be there every year.  Even if you finish 17,653rd.

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