Once upon a time, a visitor to the Goodwill thrift store in Newnan found a photo album in a trash can and – thank goodness – decided to rescue it. Realizing that its pages were filled with pictures from some AJC Peachtree Road Race, he gave it to his friend Paul Danforth, who along with others in his family has long participated in the Peachtree.
Recently, a web weaved of fate and a lot of luck delivered the album, apparently owned by former race director Bill Neace, back into the hands of Atlanta Track Club.
Appropriately enough, the first link in the chain involved fitness. Danforth’s wife, Susan, walks two or three mornings a week with her friend Sara. Her daughter Catherine has volunteered at Club events over the years. Sara’s sister is Eddy Bay, a friend of longtime executive director Julia Emmons. Last year, Paul showed Eddy the album while she was visiting from California. Eddy called Julia, and Julia called Paul.
In December, special projects manager Janet Monk drove to collect the album from Paul, who had decided it was time to donate it to the Club for preservation and safekeeping.
Still in perfect shape, the album is a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes photos from the 1977 AJC Peachtree Road Race, a pivotal event in the history of both the race and the future of road racing in the U.S. with four of the best runners in the world – Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Don Kardong and the incomparable Lasse Viren – on the start line. (See the recent in-depth Peachtree50.com story here.)