Shirley Franklin is in her fifth year as mayor of Atlanta. We asked what would be so essential to Atlanta that the city wouldnt be the same without it:
The Peachtree Road Race embodies some of the same elements that made the Atlanta Olympics so successful. Its the product of hard work and preparation. Its a family event and it has universal appeal. Its not so huge that its unmanageable, but not so small its insignificant. And, over its 36-year history, its been a model of the kind of sustained energy that Atlanta represents.
I was a race-watcher for many years, but I had almost turned 60 before I realized that I, too, could participate. As with many aspects of Atlanta, you can engage at different stages of your life; if youre not a runner, you can be a volunteer. Also, notably, we didnt choose an easy day for the race. Its always on July 4, during the peak of summer, so it gives you a genuine experience of being in the city. To me, the Peachtree Road Race reinforces the sense of accomplishment that we all feel being part of Atlanta.