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AJC Peachtree Road Race to use COVID-detecting dogs

The race will span over two days to ensure smaller crowds and social distancing.

ATLANTA — The AJC Peachtree Road Race is going to look a lot different this year. We know it'll take place over two days and that there will be safety measures in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

But, participants will also notice dogs at the race. That's because the Atlanta Track Club has partnered with Alabama-based 360K9, a bio detection company whose dogs are able to detect the scent of COVID-19 on an infected person.

The dogs have been used by the NBA and NASCAR to safely bring fans back to events. A participant flagged by the dogs will be given a rapid COVID test at no cost to the participant, the Atlanta Track Club said. If the test is negative, they will be able to proceed to pick up their number. Anyone who tests positive will be offered the opportunity to switch to the virtual running of the Peachtree or given a refund of their entry free.

“The dogs are 99 percent accurate,” Dr. William Schneider, Chief Scientific Officer at 360K9 said. “We feel like they demonstrated very good early detection skills and will go a long way toward making the Peachtree a safe race.”

Atlanta Track Club is actively encouraging all participants to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are able and eligible. It is also requiring the Peachtree’s more than 3,000 volunteers be vaccinated. The Club will host a free vaccination clinic at its North Midtown headquarters on May 1 and May 22 open to Club members, Peachtree registrants and Peachtree volunteers.

At the Expo, they said those with proof of vaccination will immediately be able to get their race number. Those who are not vaccinated will have to go through a COVID-19 screening process.

Masks will be required at all times when runners are not actively taking part in the race, they said. 

On race day, unvaccinated participants will again be screened before entering their start wave.

“Vaccinated participants will have a much faster, traditional Peachtree experience,” Rich Kenah, the Peachtree’s race director said. “I hope every runner and walker who is eligible for the vaccine is able to take advantage of its widespread availability well before July 3 and 4.”

For complete details on all the safety measures, visit their website