There was always a uniqueness about getting that Peachtree number. Starting in June you would always begin to keep your eyes on that mailbox waiting for your number to come in. For most races you would go pick up your number at the race but that was one of those things that made the Peachtree seem different to me. You would then go around and see what numbers everyone else had that you knew.
The numbers have always determined where you would start the race. I have started in pretty much every possible corral you can think of. They have moved from just a time group by numbers to letter corrals. I think our first year my Dad and I were in the very back which I think was time group 8 or 9. So each time group had its own start time. Now the groups are smaller and there are more of them. That being said if you are in the last time group it can make for a very long morning. The race itself starts at 730am. However, if you are in the last time group your start time with be after 900am. The worst part is no matter your start time, with road closures you still needed to arrive early. It just meant you got to sit and wait for a long time!
We always felt like we were living a charmed life when we got in time group 2 or 3. I think that is one reason I always wanted to qualify for a time group up front. It always seemed like time group 4 and 5 is where we ended up the most. I rather enjoy the 730am start. More to come on this though.
The one big change we have seen in the past 2-3 years is now the race is organized by qualifying times. It used to be random and you just were just given a number randomly with the exception os sub-seeded runners, but now each runner is assigned a time group based on a finish time. The one good thing this does is put you with runners that run your pace. Now every runner has a chip to keep their time. For years the only runners with official times were those up front. That has been a good change as well.
There have been other changes over the year. You can still have your number mailed to you or you can pick it up at the Expo. I enjoy the Expo and it gives me a reason to go, so now I just go pick it up but I still get my number e-mailed to me. My number this year? 1410.
A race always seems to become real once you know or have that number. The Disney Marathon does the same and you get e-mailed your number prior to coming down.
My same routine and questions have already been in place this week. Asking friends and family their numbers and trying to figure out who is starting where. We are starting all over the place. I saw a friend walk into work this week with his race number envelope in hand. That feeling has just never changed.
So what’s you number?