The AJC Peachtree Road Race completed its 50th edition on the Fourth of July with more than 60,000 participants in the annual Atlanta event.
All four elite races saw their record times broken in 2019, thus earning each winner a bonus of $50,000.
Brigid Kosgei of Kenya won the women’s footrace with a time of 30 minutes, 21 seconds, crossing the finish line just ahead of fellow Kenyan Agnes Tirop in a photo finish. Kosgei’s time broke the previous best mark by 11 seconds. Fancy Chemutai was third at 30:32.
“I want to say thank you to the people who were cheering us all the way,” Kosgei said in a news release. “They say ‘try, try, try’ and I was so happy for these people. I hope to come again next year to make a record again.”
Decatur resident and Atlanta Track Club member Janel Blancett was the top Georgia women runner at 36:03.
The men’s footrace also saw its best time broken in the fastest 10K run in the history of the United States. Nineteen-year-old Kenyan Rhonez Kipruto won the race at 27:01, breaking the previous Peachtree record of 27:04 set by Joseph Kimani in 1996.
“I am happy for the win today,” Kipruto said in a news release. “When I was coming here, I was coming for a course record and I thank God for that.”
Atlanta resident and club member Wilkerson Given was the top Georgia male finisher at 30:12.
The Shepherd Center wheelchair divisions saw both of its records broken as well by the race winners. The $50,000 bonus was the largest single payday in the history of elite wheelchair racing.
The women’s wheelchair race was won by Switzerland’s Manuela Schar in 21:28, 31 seconds better than the previous mark of 22:09. Tatyana McFadden (22:30) and Susannah Scaroni (22:31) rounded out the top three.
“It’s amazing,” Schar said in a news release. “I was just happy to win it because it was such a tough race. To get that bonus is just huge.”
Daniel Romanchuk of Champaign, Illinois, won his third consecutive men’s wheelchair race with a time of 18:11, which bested the previous record of 18:38. Marcel Hug (18:33) and Josh Cassidy (19:32) were second and third, respectively.
“It still hasn’t entirely sunk in yet,” Romanchuk said in a news release. “It was a fast day and a great field. I was just sprinting all the way to go as fast as I could – It was a very strong record so I knew it had to be an all-out record. To have an equal payout for the record bonus, I’m lacking the words to describe it.”
Emily Sisson (Scottsdale, Arizona) and Colin Bennie (Charlottesville, Virginia), were the top American finishers, running 32:03 and 29:12, respectively.
Tyrone resident Bill Thorn, who this spring retired as the longtime Landmark Christian School track and cross country coach, finished his 50th consecutive Peachtree and continued his streak as the only member of the Original 110 group of finishers to complete every edition. Walking alongside his friends, family and former Atlanta Track Club Executive Director Julia Emmons, Thorn was ecstatic to have finished the Peachtree yet again.
“It could’ve been just a fad,” Thorn said of his early Peachtree streak in a news release. “But as you go along through the years, people like Julia say to me every once in a while to keep going and that was really encouraging, and so it just became a year-after-year thing. Whoever would have imagined that little tiny group would have turned into this?”
Author Emily Giffin was the winner of the Peachtree’s T-shirt contest, with her design, titled “Lucky Bib,” unveiled as the chosen design to the race’s participants. Created in collaboration with club member Tina Tait, the design was part of a special competition ahead of this year’s race, with submissions curated by notable Atlantans and Atlanta institutions.
“Honestly, that was the highlight of my life,” said Giffin, an club member who ran the race with her daughter, Harriet, while her sons and husband raced ahead. “It’s more than winning a contest – it’s the fact that this is my family’s passion. The Atlanta Track Club means so much to us and so it’s symbolic of what we do as a family.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms served as an official starter at Lenox Square in Buckhead, as she kicked off the race and then walked the course with her staff for the second straight year.
“I was born in 1970, so to think that this race started seven months after I was born, and that now I get to kick it off as mayor, it really is a dream come true for me and speaks to what’s possible in our city,” she said in a news release. “The Peachtree just speaks to Atlanta and the diversity that we have in this city. I’m grateful to Atlanta Track Club, our sanitation workers, our public safety personnel and the department of public works for making this race beautiful and clean and safe for all of us.”
In a news release, Rich Kenah, the Peachtree’s race director and the club’s executive director, said, “Atlanta Track Club, its members and volunteers wanted to make the 50th running of the Peachtree an unforgettable celebration of the history and legacy of this race. And Running City USA delivered. This is a day that Atlanta will remember for years to come.”
To view the race’s unofficial results, visit www.peachtreeroadrace.org.