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Choose a race as a goal

Michael Boylan's picture

Running is all well and good but it helps to have a destination.

Once I started my running regimen with the Couch to 5K app, I knew I wanted to have a 5K race to enter at the end of it. Luckily, there was the All-American 5K in Peachtree City coming up close to the end of the program. I knew that I would be ready and wouldn’t embarrass myself in the race. I wasn’t going to win it or even win my age group, but I wouldn’t be clutching my side and walking across the finish line dead last either.

If you have started running or have it in your sights once the temperatures drop back to something close to reasonable, you should pick a race to shoot for. I have been trying to coerce a co-worker who is in the process of dropping lots of weight to run Jingle Bell Trail at Peachtree City Elementary with me this December. The race is very cute as the runners all get some bells to attach to their sneakers. They jingle as they make their way along the paths. To add to the festive holiday spirit of the race, Santa Claus often makes an appearance and I have taken pictures at the event one year when it actually snowed. There will also be one at Kenwood Park’s nature trail (where I do most of my running) on Dec. 11.

My next race will most likely be the Peachtree City Classic, which is arguably the biggest race in the area each year. The Classic features a men’s 5K, a women’s 5K and the 15K Open which is also the RRCA Southern Region Championship and the USATF Georgia Association Championship. This year’s race will take place on Saturday, Oct. 16. You can find more information about the race and how to register at the Peachtree City Running Club’s web site

In fact, there is a lot of great information there for runners of all skill levels and their calendar is always buzzing. In addition to the Classic, there is also the Rotary Elementary School Grand Prix. Sponsored by the Peachtree City Rotary Club and run by the Peachtree City Running Club, the Grand Prix consists of 15 races at elementary schools all over Fayette County.

George Martin of the Peachtree City Rotary Club described the series like this.

“Races are spread over the entire school year and points are earned for every race that you participate in. The first 5K Run/Walk is on Sept. 11 at Cleveland Elementary School in Fayetteville, with the second race the following Saturday morning, Sept. 19  at Tyrone Elementary and the third at Sara Harp Minter Elementary on Oct. 2.”

“This is the seventh year of the series and each year, over $100,000 is raised during the nine month series for the schools that participate.  The races are open to runners and walkers of all ages.  Each year, over 3,000 children and adults participate in the series and most schools will have both a 1 mile walk as well as a 5K (3.1 mile) run/walk.”

“Awards are given by age groups and walkers are welcome to participate.  Points are awarded based on how you finish within your age group and bonus points are awarded for people who participate in more than four races.  Points are accumulated all year long and the overall points leaders are recognized at a special Rotary luncheon each June, at the end of the school year. A full schedule of races for the entire year will be posted at or soon.  Applications are available on-line at and checking the site for each individual school, or by simply calling the schools.”

Not only are the races a great way for the community to get together and do something healthy and positive for the schools, but it serves as a reminder for the kids at the schools that running is something that anyone of any age can do. A lot of the kids already know this as many schools have morning running programs. Teachers keep track of the distances that the students run and when they get close to 26 miles, they let them run the last mile in a race sanctioned by the Peachtree City Running Club to earn their “marathon.”

Whenever you’re ready, there is a race ready for you. Hope to see you out there.

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