AJC Peachtree Road Race Press Conference Highlights
ATLANTA – July 1, 2016 – From Scott Overall and Ben Payne, who last year battled to the closest finish in race history, to 91-year-old world record-holder Betty Lindberg, the theme of Friday morning’s kickoff press conference to the AJC Peachtree Road Race was “never give up.”
The largest road race in the U.S. and largest 10K in the world, the AJC Peachtree Road Race will be run for the 47th time on Monday morning, July 4, with approximately 60,000 runners on the start line for what Mary Ford, chair of Atlanta Track Club’s board of directors, called “both a tradition and a destination,” showcasing participants of all ages and abilities.
Highlighting the press conference was the return of 2016 champion Scott Overall and runner-up Ben Payne, who last year battled to the closest finish in race history when Overall came from behind in the closing moments to edge Payne at the line by 9/100ths of a second to win in 29:30.
Their epic clash was immortalized in a video seen around the world, with Payne pointing a finger heavenward. That gesture, which Payne said he makes at every race to thank God for getting him safely to the finish, was interpreted as a premature celebration that cost him the victory.
“I never expected to get so much attention for a second-place finish,” said Payne, a 34-year-old U.S. Air Force pilot from Colorado Springs, CO. “You can call it a rematch if you want to, but there are a dozen other guys who want that win as well.”
“It’s a very competitive field this year,” agreed Overall, 33, from Great Britain. “It’s not just about myself and Scott.”
Also representing the elite field on stage were two-time IAAF World Champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya; rising star Maegan Krifchin of the U.S.; and Elkanah Kibet, winner of the overseas 2014 Peachtree Road Race in Kuwait and now among the top marathoners in the U.S.
Kiplagat, who will be competing here for the fourth time, set a personal best for 10K just last week when she ran 31:06 to finish second at the B.A.A. 10K in Boston. The 36-year-old won the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon after finishing second for three consecutive years.
Perseverance has also paid off for 52-year-old Krige Schabort, a five-time winner of the men’s open Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division who this year will compete as a master while he trains for his sixth Paralympics—this time, in the triathlon. He won his first Paralympic medal in the marathon, back in 1992. With him on stage were Kyle and Brent Pease, pioneering with Atlanta Track Club and the Shepherd Center in what will be the AJC Peachtree Road Race’s first official competitive Push Assist Division.
“We go out every year and try to win it, but I think it’s more about being part of this iconic event,” said Kyle Pease.
“I think that’s a really diplomatic way of saying we’re going to try to win it,” said Brent.
Perhaps the biggest news of the day was the signing by race sponsor Mizuno of Betty Lindberg, 91, to Mizuno’s racing team, and its donation of 91 pairs of Mizuno shoes to Atlanta Track Club’s Kilometer Kids program in her honor.
Lindberg set a an 800-meter world record for her age when she ran 6:57.56 at an Atlanta Track Club All Comers meet at Emory University in May, and will run the AJC Peachtree Road Race for the 26th time on Monday.
“Athletes come in all different levels and all different ages,” said Kim Hoey, senior director of brand marketing in Mizuno’s running division, “and Betty is a true athlete.”
Presenting her newest teammate with a Mizuno jacket and a hug was Krifchin, 28, who was a high-school All American at 800 meters.
“I want to be her when I’m older,” said Krifchin.
About Atlanta Track Club
Atlanta Track Club is a nonprofit committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, Atlanta Track Club motivates, inspires and engages the community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. With more than 24,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. In addition to the AJC Peachtree Road Race (peachtreeroadrace.org) – the largest 10K running event in the world, the Publix Georgia Marathon, Atlanta 10 Miler and Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, Atlanta Track Club directs more than 30 events per year. Through the support of its members and volunteers, Atlanta Track Club also maintains a number of community initiatives including organizing and promoting the Kilometer Kids youth running program to metro Atlanta youth, honoring high school cross country and track and field athletes through Atlanta Track Club’s All-Metro Banquets and supporting the Grady Bicycle EMT program. For more information on Atlanta Track Club, visit atlantatrackclub.org.
About the AJC Peachtree Road Race
The AJC Peachtree Road Race is a 10K event that takes place every Fourth of July in Atlanta, Georgia. The first Peachtree was held in 1970 and featured 110 finishers. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is now the largest 10K running event in the world with 60,000 participants. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is perhaps most famous for the coveted AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt, which is handed out to all the event finishers. For more information on the AJC Peachtree Road Race visit peachtreeroadrace.org or AJC.com/peachtree.
About The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the leading source – both in print and online – of news, information and advertising for metropolitan Atlanta, reaching a total print and online audience of 1.7 million people each week. Every month, nearly 6.4 million unique visitors access the newspaper's websites, including AJC.com, myAJC.com and accessAtlanta.com. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is part of Cox Media Group, a publishing, digital media and broadcasting subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises.