LISTEN: The annual Peachtree Road Race ended early for the second year in a row due to weather conditions, stopping over 1,000 runners from finishing on the course. GPB’s Amanda Andrews reports.

Custom medals for the Atlanta Run Club finishers of the Peachtree Road Race. (Courtesy Atlanta Run Club)

Custom medals for the Atlanta Run Club finishers of the Peachtree Road Race.

Credit: Courtesy Atlanta Run Club

About 1,100 runners of the over 43,000 who registered were still on the course when the Peachtree Road Race was called early on July 4.

Organizers have a series of flags for weather conditions the day of the race: green means conditions are normal, yellow is moderate, red is extreme, and black is unsafe.

Organizers waved the black flag this year because of high heat and humidity.

Rich Kenah, CEO of the Atlanta Track Club and Road Race Director, said volunteers at water stations are trained to inform runners about the changes in flags but they also use digital communications.

"We now have the ability to text message the people that are out there on the course," he said. "More than 80% of the participants now are participating with their phone. And so that allows us to communicate in real time."

He also said demand is reaching pre-pandemic levels, so organizers are slowly allowing more people to register for the race so they can handle any issues that come up like heat exhaustion.

"We don't want to regrow too fast.," he said. "We want to make sure that that we relearn how to operate an event at 50,000 and then 55,000 before we rush back to 60,000."

Kanah explained the majority of runners overheat after the race, so they're focusing on providing resources at and after the finish line.

"That can be more water, more missing stations, opportunities to cool off more quickly as you exit the park, so as you go back tomorrow," he said.

This is the second year in a row that  organizers have black-flagged the race. Last year, it was due to rain and lightning.