Energy to Keep Georgia Running
July 24, 2018
2018 AJC Peachtree Road Race Recap Video
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race (AJC) is held annually in Atlanta on July 4, Independence Day, and is the world's largest 10-kilometer race with 60,000 participants. Georgia Power is a proud sponsor of the race and provided employees, family, and friends the opportunity to participate. We followed four employees' journey to the finish line. See below to read more on their training regimen.
Denise James, energy efficiency education coordinator
"I started preparing for this race around mid-April," said James. "On April 17, my first day of training, I ran a mile in 17 minutes. Less than two weeks later, on April 28, I was already down a 12-minute mile. It's amazing how fast the body responds when challenged."
An app called Weight Loss Running helped her gradually ramp up towards a final goal of running a 10-kilometer race. The app contains a virtual trainer that tells Denise when to walk and when to run, helping her moderate the pace of her training sessions in preparation for a real race. Sticking to a regular program like Weight Loss Running helped her see the constant progress being made each day. Even though James was running at least four times a week, she still found other ways to prepare for race day. Mixing in other strategies like yoga and strength training engaged more parts of her body.
Diane Gorski, wellness coordinator
Running is not just an entertaining hobby for Gorski. It's an integral part of her lifestyle and wellbeing. "Running builds my confidence, keeps me in a healthy place both in body and mind, and allows me to influence others on their journey to wellbeing," said Gorski. "It has been my rock through difficult times in my life, keeping me healthy, focused and social." Gorski completed her tenth AJC Peachtree Road Race this year and does not plan to slow down any time soon. "My goal is to continue to run into my 70s and beyond. I want to earn more Peachtree t-shirts with family, friends, and co-workers joining me along the way," said Gorski.
Raymond Nazon, senior telecommunication field operations tech
"I want to do one big thing every year. This year my person challenge – my bucket list item – is the AJC Peachtree Road Race," said Narzon. For most of his 15 years in the Southern Company system, Nazon, a senior telecommunication field operations tech at the Sands Place Operating Headquarters in Marietta, felt like a different person. "I was overweight. I weighed 250 pounds back in 2015, with all the signs of classic metabolic syndrome: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a large waist and high triglycerides," said Nazon. The first change Nazon made was educating himself about his health. Preparation for the race involved meeting with his personal trainer, taking jiu-jitsu and Karate dojo classes, and eating healthier.
Henry Neal, boiler turbine operator at Plant Scherer
Neal's path to the 2018 AJC Peachtree Road Race started over two years ago at a Georgia Power health fair. Back then, at 305 pounds, he was a man who could barely run a single lap around a track. "My cholesterol and everything was going through the roof. The nurse told me it wasn't good. At that point, I had to make a decision," said Neal. "I had to decide in my mind that's not the road that I want to travel. I'd seen other people go down that road and I wasn't going to follow them." He set a goal for himself to chase: run the AJC Peachtree Road Race. From then on, the only road that he went down was outside of his house. He laced up his running shoes and began pounding the pavement early in the morning or late in the evening. His endurance slowly improved. He went from running a single lap to sailing through half marathons. And whether he was getting his miles in at 4 a.m. or 8:30 p.m., there was a noticeable difference in his energy levels throughout the following days. Neal was excited to get out there on race day and meet his fellow runners on their own journeys. He was also looking forward to chasing his personal goal: a sub fifty-minute time.