It’s big now, but not to begin with.
In 1970, 110 runners lined up for the Atlanta Track Club’s first Peachtree Road Race. The starting line was at the old Sears building at Peachtree and Roswell Road. The finish was 6.2 miles away at Central City Park, now Woodruff Park. Carling Brewery sponsored the first year. 198 runners participated the next year, the first group to get the coveted t-shirts for finishing the race. By 1975 it attracted 1,000 people. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution began sponsoring the race in 1976.
To accommodate growing numbers, the starting line was moved to Lenox Square in 1978, and the finish line was at Piedmont Park. The wheelchair division began in 1982. The Track Club limited participants to 25,000 for 10 years, but more and more people wanted to run. It became the world’s largest 10K race.
Sixty thousand runners—more than 500 times the first group --—now celebrate America’s Independence in the Atlanta tradition that began July 4, 1970, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.