• Thousands brave Atlanta's heat for 49th annual AJC Peachtree Road Race

    By: Asia Simone Burns, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution , Nicole Carr , Lauren Pozen

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Thousands braved the heat and humidity to take part in the 49th Annual AJC Peachtree Road Race. 

    The race took runners more than 6 miles down Peachtree from Lenox Road to 10th Street.

    An estimated 60,000 people participated this year.

    For the elite men’s race, five-time Olympian Bernard Lagat finished first. Last year, he came in fifth place.For the elite women, Stephanie Bruce won. 

    Channel 2's Lauren Pozen spoke with one inspiring runner who overcame serious health challenges to run his 26th race. 

    Mark Konekamp wasn't going to let anything stop him from crossing the finish line this year, not even recovering from a brain injury. 

    Pozen spoke to Konekamp, who told her he had surgery in February to prevent a brain aneurysm. He spent a month recovering his motor function at the Shepard Center. 

    Konekamp told Pozen the moment his doctor gave him the green light, he laced up his running shoes.

    “I ran 5 miles and it would like to kill me but it didn’t," Konekamp said. "From then on I did 42 miles every week.”

    Pozen caught up with Konekamp after he crossed the finish line this year. He said he thinks it was a personal best. 

    "It was fantastic. I think I broke a record," Konekamp said. 

    Konekamp was one of around 60k people who got up early to run the race. 

    [Check the full list of results here]

    MINUTE-BY-MINUTE UPDATES:

    11:00 Official results are in from this morning's Wheelchair Division race. Daniel Romanchuk, 19 from Urbana, Illinois, took first place in the men's race with a time of 18 minutes and 39 seconds. Susannah Scaroni took first place in the women's race with a time of 22 minutes and 49 seconds.

    9:15 a.m.: Code Red Alert issued for AJC Peachtree Road Race due to increasing temperatures.

    8:30 a.m.: Waves of runners are flooding the streets of Buckhead and Midtown as they begin and finish the race.

    7:30  a.m.: Bernard Lagat, 43, wins men's elite race at AJC Peachtree Road Race.

    7:22 a.m.: Stephanie Rothstein wins women's elite race at AJC Peachtree Road Race.

     7:00 a.m.: Men's race begins

    6:55 a.m.: Here is what Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said before the race

    6:54 a.m.: MARTA police share updates on parking lot capacity

    6:50 a.m.: Women's race officially begins 

    6:40 a.m.: Runners stretching and getting ready near the starting line of the race.

    6:32 a.m.: Wheelchair race begins

    6 a.m.: Rapper Jeezy and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms spotted at the race.

    5:53 a.m.: Wheelchair racers share a moment of support and encouragement before they begin.

    5:37 a.m.: Atlanta police remind runners and spectators that if they see something suspicious, to report it.

    5:35 a.m.: Some wheelchair racers are warming up for the race. 

    5:32 a.m.: MARTA says the issue on the N/S line has been resolved and the holiday schedule will resume. 

    5:15 a.m.: MARTA says there are delays on the N/S line due to a mechanical issue NB near Lindbergh.

    4:45 a.m.: Authorities are in place at the starting line of the race, ready to welcome more than 20,000 runners. Twenty percent of the runners are first-time participants.

    4:31 a.m.: MARTA says it will provide extra trains, shuttle buses, and staff.

    4:30 a.m.: Triple Team Traffic shows the starting line ready for runners' arrival.

    3:38 a.m.: Peachtree Road is closed in front of Lenox Square ahead of the race.

    ORIGINAL STORY:

    Local law enforcement agencies are beefing up safety measures for the 49th annual AJC Peachtree Road Race, which will draw tens of thousands of participants and spectators into the heart of Atlanta.

    Some of the security you will see, and some you won’t. Atlanta Police Department officers, both uniformed and in plain clothes, will be posted along the 6.2-mile course.

    Spectators can again expect to encounter security checkpoints at several points along the race route and are urged to either carry a clear bag or no bag at all.

    [GALLERY: Crazy costumes at the 2017 Peachtree Road Race]

    The world’s largest 10K, the Peachtree is a Fourth of July tradition. About 60,000 runners, walkers and wheelchairs are expected to brave the sweltering heat and humidity and charge down Peachtree Road from Lenox Square to 10th Street just outside of Piedmont Park.

    Nearly 200,000 spectators are expected to turn out and cheer them on.


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    WHAT YOU NEEDED TO KNOW:

    Runners will not be able to carry backpacks or other luggage on the course. Masks and costumes that are not form-fitting, as well as military equipment and drones, are also prohibited.

    Anything fans are carrying in a bag will be searched before the checkpoints and put into a clear plastic bag before they can approach the curb or go inside the finish line area.

    The MARTA police department’s emergency preparedness unit is ramping up security this year to supplement the efforts of APD. It will deploy its 45-foot command vehicle for the event. The vehicle will allow the MARTA Police staff to “have enhanced communications and command-and-control response capabilities during any major operation,” Corporal Brian Lauda said.

    Lauda said that MPD has also adopted a “layered security technology program that includes chemical and radiological detection capabilities, as well as 15,000 cameras that monitor our transit system in real time.”

    “MARTA Police will monitor those cameras from its new Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which serves as the hub of MARTA’s incident command system” he said. “Intelligence gathering and cybersecurity will also play a very active role in the preparations.”

    Police encourage spectators and runners to download the See & Say app prior to the Peachtree Road Race.

    “Several years ago, MARTA Police developed the See & Say app, which users can download for free from the App Store or Google Play Store,” Lauda said. “The app allows users to send information directly to the communications center in real time while remaining anonymous.”

    The race will continue deploying its Event Alert System, which consists of large signs along the course that inform runners of the current weather conditions and risks. Green indicates good weather, while yellow and red signal worsening and potentially dangerous conditions, respectively. A black sign means the conditions are extreme and the race is canceled.

    COURSE

    The course starts at Lenox Square and travels down Peachtree to 10th Street in Midtown. The finish is located on 10th Street just outside of Piedmont Park.

    For additional course information, CLICK HERE.

    T-SHIRTS AND AWARDS

    All finishers will receive a 2018 AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt. 

    Age Group Awards for the top three men and women in each age group are mailed to participants after results are finalized. The first 1000 finishers also receive a commemorative Top 1000 Finisher mug. 

    GETTING TO THE RACE

    Event participants and spectators are strongly encouraged to take MARTA. Runners can use the Lenox station for the start and the Midtown or Art Center station for the finish. There is no parking available at the start or finish.

    SECURITY

    Channel 2 Action News received exclusive access to MARTA's fairly new emergency operations center. We've learned transit officials have a direct line to Homeland Security and the FBI, as well as state and local agencies. There will be 15,000 cameras watching traffic across the city and on MARTA transport systems that include major points along the course. It's also connected to other agency communication systems as they share information on the Fourth of July crowds.

    Senior level management will be in the center in close proximity of one another and start around 4:00 a.m., the morning of the race. They'll monitor the security technology that includes chemical and radiological detection capabilities.

    TRAINING FOR THE RACE

    First-time runners and veterans alike, take notice: While registering for this year's race you can sign-up for a training course through the Atlanta Track Club -- one way to work on improving you finish time or, for first-timers, to prep for your first 10K.

    PEACHTREE HEALTH & FITNESS EXPO

    The Peachtree Health and Fitness Expo and number pick-up will be at the Georgia World Congress Center, Building C, Exhibit Hall C1, 362 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30313. The expo is free and open to the public July 2-3, 2018: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    For more information about the Peachtree Health and Fitness Expo, CLICK HERE.

    Our investigative partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AJC.com contributed to this report.

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