Helmers & Strong Win Elite HS Division @ Peachtree Road Race

Sawe, Ndiwa Win 55th Running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race

PRESS RELEASE | ATLANTA - July 4, 2024 - The 55th Running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race lived up to its billing as the party of the summer, but it was all business from the professional athletes leading 50,000 runners and walkers through the rollicking heart of Atlanta on a hot and humid Georgia Fourth of July morning.

One of them even made history - with his seventh Peachtree win in the Shepherd Center Wheelchair Division, the USA's Daniel Romanchuk now owns the most victories ever in his division.

Prevailing in the men's footrace was Sabastian Sawe, a 28-year-old Kenyan running only his second race ever in the U.S. The 2023 World Half Marathon Champion and the #1-ranking road racer in the world broke the tape in 28:03. For the women, 2-time LA Marathon winner Stacy Ndiwa prevailed in 31:12.

"I didn't expect to win today," said Ndiwa, who finished sixth here last year.  "This is bigger than LA."

Ndiwa, a 31-year-old from Kenya, overtook countrywoman Irine Cheptai in the final meters to win by one second. Cheptai, who was runner-up here in 2022 as well, finished in 31:13. Third was Kenya's Grace Loibach (31:20) in her Peachtree debut.

In the early stages of the men's race, Sawe stayed with the pack when Daniel Ebenyo, ranked #1 in the world at 10,000 meters on the track, surged to an eight-second lead by Mile 2.

"It took a while for my body to get going," said Sawe. He'd caught up to Ebenyo by Mile 4, and by Mile 5 was seven seconds ahead before hanging on for the win as Ebenyo closed fast behind him.

After winning the Boston 10K in his U.S. debut late last month, Sawe has been training in Atlanta for the past week. "It helped me because I was staying in the humidity," he said of his early arrival.

For Romanchuk (19:37), the course-record holder whose win streak is actually eight if his Junior Peachtree victory in 2016 is included, just being here is enough.

"It wouldn't be the Fourth of July without racing the Peachtree," said the 25-year-old, who's headed to the Paralympics later this summer. Finishing second was Aaron Pike, in 20:22, with Geert Schipper of the Netherlands just three seconds back in third.

In the women's wheelchair division, course record-holder Susannah Scaroni won for the third-consecutive year and fourth time overall, in 21:39 - more than three minutes ahead of her nearest competitor.

Winners in all four divisions - men's and women's open, men's and women's wheelchair - will take home $12,500.

In the push-assist division, the overall winner was 34-year-old Ricardo Aranda, in 37:04.

Winning the inaugural Elite High School Division for the boys was Kristopher Strong of Stockbridge High School in 33:04 in a battle with Ethan Bridge of Denmark High School in Alpharetta (33:06).

"I didn't know I had that kick left in me," said Strong. As for starting the race alongside the elite men, "Seeing those guys in front of me made me want to push myself harder."

In the girls' high school division, the winner was Georgy Helmers of St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School in Columbus, in 37:09. Zahara Bernal of Pace Academy finished as runner-up, in 37:19.

Top Georgians were Edward Blaha in 31:09 and Ryann Helmers in 34:30. Winning in the Non-Binary Division was Patric Campbell in 42:09.

In mid-morning, with the temperature in the sun-drenched Meadow of Piedmont Park hitting 91 degrees and heat-related medical issues increasing, the race was "black-flagged" with about 1,100 participants still on the course. Those remaining were still allowed to claim their coveted finisher's T-shirt.

Before the race was halted, other notable finishers included Betty Lindberg, who crossed the line with her usual smile in 3:08:45 just two months before her 100th birthday; Sen. Rafael Warnock (1:08:50); and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens (1:05:05).

Asked what it is about running the Peachtree that brings him joy, Mayor Dickens summed up the day: "The joy is running on the city's infamous street, Peachtree, and then coming toward Piedmont Park with 50,000 of our friends from all over the Globe."

Photos labeled by photographer name


About Atlanta Track Club    

Atlanta Track Club is a nonprofit committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, Atlanta Track Club motivates, inspires and engages the community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. With more than 36,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. In addition to the AJC Peachtree Road Race, the largest 10K running event in the world, Atlanta Track Club directs more than 50 events each year, including the Publix Atlanta Marathon, PNC Atlanta 10 Miler and Invesco QQQ Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. Through the support of its members and volunteers, Atlanta Track Club also maintains a number of community initiatives including organizing and promoting the Kilometer Kids youth running program to metro Atlanta youth, honoring high school cross country and track and field athletes through Atlanta Track Club's All-Metro Banquets and supporting the Grady Bicycle EMT program. For more information on Atlanta Track Club, visit atlantatrackclub.org.