Wednesday, July 03, 2024

2024 Peachtree Junior

We woke up bright and early this morning—and, in fact, prior to it being bright—to head downtown for the Peachtree Junior Road Race. My neighbour sent me a link about it after she saw Benjamin and I running earlier in the year and I went ahead and signed Benjamin up...and then when I learned that the race was sponsored so fully by Microsoft (as in: the event was free)...and because I figured the littler kids would be tagging along anyway...I went ahead and signed Zoë and Alexander up as well. 

Alexander could have run the mile race, but I decided to just sign him up for the dash because he's a pretty timid kid and doesn't like to be out of sight. I wasn't sure he'd make it through the mile course on his own. And it turns out this was a doubly good call because...evidently he's getting over pneumonia. 

Anyway, backing up a little bit...

We left the house at 7:15, aiming to arrive when registration opened at 7:45 (and knowing we wouldn't be there until more like 8:00). Things really slowed to a crawl, however, and by 8:15 we were still sitting in a long line of cars waiting to turn into the parking garage. So at a red light—and a mile or so away from our final destination—the runners and I hopped out and started booking it to The Meadow in Piedmont Park (where packet pickup was). 

We speed-walked down Monroe Avenue and then jogged down Amsterdam Avenue. Our goal was to hop on The BeltLine Trail but when we got there it seemed to be completely closed for construction. Luckily there was a "gravel trail detour" that we could jog along. Unfortunately, we then had to sneak through the fence, across the trail construction, and through another fence in order to reach the meadow. 

By the time we arrived on the field we were hot, sweaty, and ready for our participation medals already. And we were still a field's length away from the registration tent! 

I rushed the kids across the field and then we stood in line and got our numbers, which was ultimately a very smooth process. They didn't preassign numbers for the kids, but we got an email with a QR code for each of them, which they scanned at the desk, then pulled out a bib and scanned that number to connect it with their racer information. You can see that Benjamin's number starts with a 12 (he ran with the 12-year-olds and all his signage was navy blue) and Zoë's number starts with a 9 (she ran with the 9-year-olds and all her signage was yellow). That made it easy to find where to go and gave me peace of mind about collecting the kids after (though we made sure to also fill out the safety information on the back of the bibs and I wrote my phone number on their arms...just for good measure).

Here are the kids after getting checked in: 

Andrew just texted to ask where (having been off parking the van) we I was finishing pinning their numbers on. 

Zoë's race was first. We took a picture at the family meeting area so the kids would know where to find us if they ever got super lost (though I think that is more for tomorrow's race than it was for today's since no one really was in this area today) and then while Andrew took Phoebe to visit the porta-potties and Benjamin and Alexander held up the fort, I took Zoë up to the staging area.

When she saw her yellow 9 she chirped, "Bye, Mom!" and took off. She seemed pretty confident so I just left her there.

Later, while I stayed at the dash area with Alexander while Andrew took Benjamin up to his race area. You can't see the 12 here (it's flat behind his head), but it matched his bib, too.

They enjoyed waiting for the race. The announcers were apparently former Olympian runners and had some good stories for the kids and were quite motivational.

Zoë's race started while Alexander and I were waiting for his age group's turn to dash. Andrew and Phoebe made their way to finish line so they could find her at the end (where there was a big "bull pen" to hold the kids (in their colour-coordinated age groups) for parent pick-up...they kids had to identify their parents before a gatekeeper would let them out...). 

And then Alexander raced. And then Benjamin's race started.

Here's Alexander waiting:

While we were waiting a concerned grandma approached me and asked me if Alexander's shoes were really what he was going to be running in and whether or not I knew they weren't "proper" footwear for a race. I assured her that he has other shoes, including some that might be more along the lines of "running" shoes, but that these were his favourite shoes and the ones he chose to run in. 

He runs around in these shoes all day at home and, uh, the dash is only 50 meters, so...I wasn't really worried about his footwear, honestly.

Here is Alexander running:

He was pretty happy to get his medal at the end!

He also got a peach!

We stayed to watch the Mascot Dash (I had him on my back so he could see over the fencing). Aside from the Chick-fil-A cows and the Ameris Bank lion, there was Pete the Peach and—rather hilariously—Phil the Bucket from Home Depot. Who knew they even had a mascot?! All those companies helped sponsor the run...and were founded/are headquartered in Georgia. 

Except for Pete, I suppose. He's just a peach. A Georgia peach, but just a peach.

After the mascot dash, Alexander and I went up to the start line to see whether Benjamin's group had departed (it had) and then we made our way to find Daddy and Phoebe at the finish line (which was super crowded). When we finally found them, Zoë was slurpily munching on her peach.

I left all the kids with Andrew, under the shade of a tree, while I went to stand at the finish line to wait for Benjamin to come across. Here he is—holding his peach—and feeling pretty good! 

He came in 14th of 43 finishers, with a time of 7:55 (or 131st out of 1224 finishers).

Zoë finished 13th out of 89 finishers, with a time of 9:15 (or 354th out of 1224 finishers).

Alexander ran his little heart out (his bib didn't have a chip in it and there was no official start or finish line, so he just had fun).

They all did great! Here they are hot, sweaty, happy, and ready to head home:

We had quite a long walk back to the parking garage, but Andrew was able to retrace his steps and get us there. The pond was pretty. Going to Piedmont Park has actually been on my list of things to do in Atlanta, so I was glad we finally got there even if we just...breezed through in what was a rather frenetic morning. 

Originally Andrew offered to play the hero and let me and Phoebe sleep in while he took the kids to the race on his own, but I told him that would likely be impossible and in the probably would have been impossible for him to have pulled this morning off alone. We probably could have used a few extra hands, to be honest (unfortunately our extra hands—Rachel and Miriam—are at FSY in South Carolina), but we managed to not lose anybody!

Here we are just outside of the parking garage:

And here's Alexander back at home, freshly showered, and wearing his race shirt:

It was a busy—but memorable—morning.

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