Wheelchair athletes test road conditions, heat

1:25 PM, Jul 1, 2012   |    comments
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  • Wheelchair athletes test the course for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.
  • Wheelchair athletes test the course for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.
  • Wheelchair athletes test the course for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.
  • Wheelchair athletes test the course for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.
  • Wheelchair athletes test the course for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.
  • Wheelchair athletes test the course for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.
    

ATLANTA -- Before the sun came up on Sunday, several wheelchair athletes met to test the course for the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4th.

Their high-performance tires can't take too much wear and tear.

"The whole left side of the road is very abrasive with a lot of drop-offs," said Jeremy Maddox of Braselton. "You definitely don't want to hit any potholes and run the risk of getting a flat in the middle of the race, especially at the start."

The group included a Peachtree novice and a seven-time winner, Santiago Sanz of Spain.

Sanz is worried about the race day heat, but said it will be tougher for runners, who start at least 30 minutes after the wheelchair division.

"We'll start by 7 a.m.," Sanz said. "I think by the time it will begin to be very warm, we'll already be finishing."

For this test race, the athletes had to dodge traffic, but on July 4th, Peachtree Road will be wide open.

It'll also be lined with thousands of fans.

"One of the greatest things about the Peachtree is that you probably have more fan support here than any other race we go to," Maddox said. 

"It gives you that big jolt of encouragement to finish the race strong," he added. 

The AJC Peachtree Road Race is the largest 10K wheelchair race in the world with a winning purse of $35,000.

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