Sunday, July 6, 2008

Peachtree vs Nathan's Famous

By Bobby

Sometimes you have to wonder what happens in the wild world of Independence Day events.

A crowd estimated at 40,000 attended Coney Island's legendary Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest XCIII to watch 20 gurgitators attempt to swallow as many frankfurters in their mouths in a span of ten minutes. A million more watched ESPN to hear Paul Page and Richard Shea call the action of this contest.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, a few thousand people (including many on the side of the hospital) were on the side of the road in Buckhead and Midtown to watchover 55,000 (including myself for the first time) run from Lenox Square Mall to Ponce de Leon Avenue (instead of Piedmont Park because of drought conditions) in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race XXXIX. Part of the coverage was on the Fox affiliate (WAGA-5) in Atlanta but that was it. It was a day for 54,500 commoners and 500 elite athletes to run the biggest running event in the country.

I wonder which one was better off -- the 40,000 to watched 20 swallow as many frankfurters in ten minutes, or the 55,000 who ran past Cardiac Hill (yes, there is a hospital near that hill) and the Olympic Mile (much of the Peachtree course on Peachtree Avenue was used for the 1996 Olympic marathon; it can be traced on Thanksgiving during The Weather Channel Atlanta Marathon and Half Marathon, which retraces much of the Olympic course).

I must say as a five-time marathon finisher, and someone who has run two major 10K's in the Southeast (Cooper River Bridge Run, Mount Pleasant to Charleston, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race) that the Peachtree was worth it. A family member told me she couldn't stand to have lunch after watching the hot eating contest on ESPN.

And oh, by the way: Bobby's time for the AJC Peachtree was 1:17:19, hand-timed because it is not scored legally. That time would easily be better than my first two Cooper River Bridge Runs in Charleston, also a 10K though flatter.

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