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Peach Stand Road Race
this weekend

 

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent
 

  A familiar spring event is on tap for this weekend, bringing more than a hundred runners and spectators together at a beloved Henry County spot. The eighth annual Peach Stand Road Race, Locust Grove’s answer to the Peachtree Road Race, is set to begin Saturday morning next to the Gardner peach stand on Hwy. 42 at the northern end of the city. It is sponsored by Locust Grove’s Main Street Program.

Participants take time for a photo at last year’s Peach Stand Road Race. The 2014 race will be held this Saturday.                         Special photo

  The race was founded when a member of the Gardner family was on the Main Street board and had the idea to tie it to the location of the peach stand. It has always taken place Memorial Day weekend because that is when the peach stand traditionally opens for the summer as the first batch of peaches comes in, according to Sherry Moon, this year’s race organizer.

Funds raised from the race are used for façade grants and other activities to support businesses in the city – “whatever helps the beautification of downtown,” as Moon put it.

  The race has grown a bit every year, with about 150 participating in 2013. About 80 were signed up as of last Friday morning, and there are always plenty who sign up the day of the race, Moon said.

  The 5K course starts on Jackson Street just across the railroad tracks from the peach stand, heading south toward downtown. Turning on Bowden Street, the runners pass the senior center and turn on Mose Brown Drive and Davis Lake Road before getting back to Jackson Street. The first and last legs of the race are the same.

  Traffic is minimally affected on the route during this time, and the city’s police department is on hand to assist with that, Moon said.

  She has run the race every year of its existence along with a few others. Actually, she walks most of the course, she said with a chuckle. She runs from the start to about the first driveway on Jackson Street then starts running again when she gets back to that point so she can run across the finish line.

  But many of the participants tackle the course in a similar fashion.

  “We have a lot of moms with babies in strollers. There are a lot of walkers,” she said. “People come out just to have fun and for the community aspect of it.”

  Those who are more serious runners, however, can take heart. There are prizes for top finishers, and the race is officially timed so that those who want a sanctioned race time can have one.

  Early registration is $15 for ages 17 and under or $20 for 18 and over. The cost goes up $5 just before the race. “Phantom runner” registration, meaning you can sleep in and still get the T-shirt, is $20.

  Race-day registration begins at 8 a.m., but runners can register online by going to www.locustgrove-ga.gov and clicking on the link for the race.

 

 

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