Peachtree Road Race to use COVID-19 sniffing dogs, other precautions

ATLANTA — Organizers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race have announced this year’s race will span two days and have COVID-19 sniffing dogs as one safety measure.

The 52nd annual race will be held on July 3 and 4 with new COVID-19 precautions.

Not only is the AJC Peachtree Road Race an Atlanta tradition, it’s also the world’s largest 10k race.

For some, this year’s race is a signal of a return to normalcy.

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“It makes me feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said runner Lauren Lichten.

The Fourth of July tradition brings thousands of participants from all around the world.

“I’m excited. I’ve only been in Atlanta for six years and I haven’t gotten the opportunity to participate, so I’m trying to participate this year,” said Elaine Gaherty.

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She told Channel 2′s Michael Seiden that the Peachtree Road Race can’t come soon enough, especially after last year when the pandemic forced organizers to hold it as a virtual race on Thanksgiving Day.

“I’m excited for a dose of normalcy,” Lichten said.

But not everyone is sharing the same excitement.

Some people have told Seiden they’re nervous about the big crowds and are unsure about the COVID-19 safety measures in place.

That’s why the Atlanta Track Club, which hosts the event, said they’re going above and beyond when it comes to safety measures.

A spokesperson told Seiden that they’re bringing in dogs that have the ability to detect scents associated with COVID-19.

“I think that’s a good idea. Whatever they need to do to give people peace of mind that they’re not going to get sick,” Gaherty said.

Before the pandemic, the Peachtree would attract more than 60,000 participants.

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But this year, the race will take place over two days. Officials believe this will help reduce crowds and provide the safest possible race day experience.

And for those who don’t want to be around other people, there’s a virtual option.

We’ve also learned that the track club has formed a COVID-19 task force featuring some of the top doctors in our state.

Runner will be required to wear a mask before and after the race but will be optional while running the course.

“I think everyone’s well aware of the symptoms now, so if you don’t feel well and you have some kind of fever, you should probably sit it out,” Gaherty said.

“If we can do it safely, I look forward to it,” Lichten said.

CLICK HERE for more information about the race or if you are trying to register before the May 1 deadline.