For many of the 60,000 participants in the AJC Peachtree Road Race, the celebration ends in The Meadow at Piedmont Park soon after crossing the finish line. They reunite with their families, grab some water, explore offerings from the race’s sponsors and then head home. But for others, there’s an opportunity to stretch the sweaty camaraderie into early afternoon, sharing a drink and stories from the road with their running buddies.
In 2011, Atlanta Track Club launched a post-race party exclusively for members, offering a chance to celebrate together on the Club’s biggest day of the year.
“We really wanted to create a full-experience post-race party for our members,” said Sue Payne, director of the Club’s outreach department, which plans and manages the party. “For so many of our members, this is their most-cherished day of the year, and we wanted to provide a setting for them to relax and enjoy that memory together.”
Beginning with just three 10 x 10 tents, the party originally was a tranquil way for members to meet back up with each other after the race and snack on some Waffle House chicken biscuits. As the Club’s membership continued to grow, however, so did the member party. In 2013 and 2014, Waffle House provided breakfast bowls of grits and eggs to members in a fenced-off area. Then, it got so big that even Waffle House couldn’t make the food fast enough!
But in 2015, with the addition of an official beer partner, the party reached a different level, relocating to Park Tavern and transforming from a party into a party. Since 2017, that partner has been Yuengling Light, brewed at America’s oldest brewery.
At the event, all members over 21 are provided with one free Yuengling Light. Even if no one buys a second beer – which, of course, many runners do – that means a whole lot of beer cans given the more than 10,000 members coming through Park Tavern after the race. Thus, a tradition was born of partygoers stacking the empty Yuenglings as high as possible, creating “beeramids.”
The Club’s membership manager, Meaghan Leon, described the structures as “epic.”
Leon has also presided over the addition of other features to the party, including brunch platters of bagels, fruits and snacks; radio partner 680 The Fan broadcasting live; and a Mizuno photo booth where runners can pose with flags, Uncle Sam hats and other patriotic July 4 accessories.
To mark the 50th Running of the Peachtree, members can expect a larger party that fits the momentous occasion. Yuengling Light is planning a beer garden for the ages and – as if covering 10K on foot in Atlanta on July 4 isn’t enough of a challenge – stacking contests will see who can create the highest “beeramid.”
“The member party is a culmination of everything Peachtree: A celebration of life, of running, of our country,” said longtime Club member Bob Wells. “It’s an extra special perk for members, for sure.”
Anyone becoming a member of Atlanta Track Club by 11:59 p.m. on February 1 – that’s tomorrow if you are reading this on the day it was published – will not only guarantee their entry into the 50th Running of the race, but also earn admission to the member party, where they can join their comrades in toasting the milestone after their 10K trek.