This weekend is BIG in America! It's the 4th of July, the holiday that celebrates our independence, our journey as a nation.
While you may not be celebrating at your house (depending on which continent you live), you're welcome to stay and celebrate with us. And while I can provide some photographs of our big day, the mouth-watering ribs and succulent corn-on-the-cob will have to be grilled and cooked over at your place!
If you decide to stay and celebrate with my family, you'll find yourself in the middle of 55,000 runners, 150,000 spectators, and 3,200 volunteers as we head to Atlanta for the 40th running of the Peachtree Road Race. This 10K race has been the mainstay of my summers since meeting my husband in 1989. No matter where we live, we try to get to Atlanta on that holiday.
Photo by National Geographic; Picnik Courtesy Me
One of the exciting things about this largest 10K on Earth is that people from all over the world descend on Atlanta to take part in this event, yet I've still randomly bumped into people I know and haven't seen in years!
Some people ask why the race is so important. If you're in the middle or back of the pack, you're definitely not vying for a fast finish. With so many feet pounding the pavement in front of, behind, and beside you, time is not a factor. Instead, you run it because you can! You are cheered on by thousands of spectators who line the route and by bands whose renditions of "Rocky" and other inspiring songs help you rise to the top of Cardiac Hill and make it one more mile to the finish line.
If you're there to watch, you have to get up early to cheer on those taking part in the wheelchair race. They begin at 6:55 a.m. sharp. Their strength and sheer willpower are amazing! Before you know it, the first men come racing by (and I do mean racing!), followed by the first female athletes. The fastest finishing time for a male is 27:04 and for a female 30:32. Ummm. Let me put this in perspective for you.... My fastest Peachtree time is about 54 minutes and that was while training for a marathon.
Here's a photo of Craig and me after that 2001 Peachtree Road Race:
Although running the Peachtree is definitely a fun experience, I still enjoy standing on the side with Hannah and cheering the runners on. Some of the people you see amaze you. There's usually a group of firefighters running in full gear. We're talking Atlanta humidity and heat. There's usually someone dressed up like the Statue of Liberty. And I'll never forget watching an older man several years in a row make his way slowly up the road with his number pinned to his shirt hours after the race was over, the barricades removed, and cars moving once again along the route. He never gave up!
While I have crossed the Peachtree finish line five times, my husband will be making this his 20th Peachtree Road Race. He's only missed three since his first race in 1987! (Go, Craig!) Here are all of his t-shirts from those 19 races!
We usually have friends join us from all over the country. When we do, we take time to "stoop" (or hang out on the front steps) after the race. This picture is from one of my non-race years when we brought Hannah with us. (Sorry about the poor photo quality. I snapped a quick picture of it this morning).
The day won't be over until we've lunched at Houston's and later taken a well-deserved nap.
I hope you've enjoyed a run-down of what's in store for our 4th of July! If you plan to be on Peachtree that day, let me know; I'd love to see you!