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By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission

(21-Jun) — Although the ratified World Athletics record for 10 kilometers on the road of 26:24 was set by Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto back in January 2020, in Valencia, Spain, no man has ever broken 27:00 in a road 10-K in the United States. Indeed, Kipruto has come the closest, clocking 27:01 at the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta in 2019, a course record run which earned him a special $50,000 time bonus.

However, this year’s Peachtree on July 4, could see America’s first sub-27:00 clocking because the Atlanta Track Club (ATC), the race founders and organizers, have put up a special $53,000 bonus for the winning man should he break Kipruto’s record.  Breaking his mark by two seconds would deliver the first sub-27:00 on American soil.

A first look at the race’s elite men’s field shows that sub-27:00 is indeed possible. Kenyans Geoffrey Koech (27:02 PB), Bravin Kiptoo (27:12), and Mathew Kimeli (27:07), have all come close during their careers.  In addition, Ethiopia’s Tsegay Kidanu Reda ran 27:14 earlier this year, and his compatriot Jemal Yimer has a track best of 26:54.39.  These five men have 53,000 reasons to run fast.

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“The Peachtree is known for bringing in the best runners in the world to Atlanta,” the ATC’s executive director Rich Kenah told Race Results Weekly in a written statement.  “With the right conditions and the fast field assembled for this year’s race we may very well see running history made yet again on the Fourth of July.”

Kenah’s elite athletes team has also made sure this year’s field will have sufficient depth.  Athletes like Olympian Pat Tiernan, who holds the Australian 10,000m record of 27:22.55, could also be in the mix at the front.  The 2021 USATF half-marathon champion, Conner Mantz, could convert his track best of 27:25.23 to a similarly fast road time given Peachtree’s slightly downhill course (Mantz has never run a road 10-K, but he split 29:01 at last December’s national half-marathon championships). 

USA Olympians and national champions Shadrack Kipchirchir (27:07.55 track best) and Leonard Korir (27:20.18 track best) could also run fast.

Additionally, the Shepherd Center Wheelchair division could also see quick times, and will feature a match-up between the world’s top two marathon wheelers, American Daniel Romanchuk and Switzerland’s Marcel Hug.  Romanchuk holds the Peachtree record of 18:11 set in 2019 and is looking for his sixth Peachtree title.  

“I would do everything that I could to not miss this race,” said Romanchuk, who won the Boston Marathon in April. “I think there is a good chance the men’s record could be broken this year.”

The 2022 AJC Peachtree Road Race will be the 52nd edition as an in-person event, and the 53rd counting the virtual-only edition in 2020.  The 2021 edition, which was held at a reduced capacity, recorded 24,485 finishers.  In 2019, when the race was last held at full capacity, there were 60,660 finishers.

PHOTO: Mathew Kimeli, one of the fastest entrants in this year’s AJC Peachtree Road Race, winning the 2019 UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K in New York in 27:45 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

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