Thousands of spectators cheer on runners at 55th annual AJC Peachtree Road Race

ATLANTA — Thousands of spectators cheered on the tens of thousands of runners in the 55th annual AJC Peachtree Road Race, including a newlywed couple who had runners dancing in the street.

Miller and Baxter McWhorter parked themselves outside the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center, just before the grueling Cardiac Hill, and waved a sign: “Show us your best dance move.”

“I love dancing,” Miller said. “I know I love a distracting sign when I’m running. They’re about to go up Cardiac Hill, so any last-minute boost they can get.”

She and her husband have both run the race, but they spent this year’s race getting runners to bust a move. Classic beats drifted out of their speaker, motivating many runners to get in the groove.

“My favorite day in Atlanta is the Fourth of July,” Miller said. “I love the Peachtree Road Race. I grew up coming to cheer my mom as she ran it.”

A short way along the sidewalk, 14-year-old Christian Robb rang a cowbell for the crowd. His father was running, and Christian plans to join the river of runners next year.

“It’s good to put positive energy into the race and make sure they come to the finish line,” he said.

Among the runners who stopped at this midway point for a brief break was Ray Hernandez, who had a can of beer in his hand.

“I’m thirsty,” he laughed.

And he wasn’t the only one. Many runners and walkers passed by slaking their thirst with cold ones. Hernandez said he ran the race several years ago, and his wife signed him up Wednesday to run this one.

“Oh it’s fun, because everybody’s cheering,” he said. “It’s the best race I’ve been in.”

The runners and walkers kept coming and kept dancing and laughing and fist bumping and high-fiving.

“You just see all different kinds of people,” Miller McWhorter said. “You see the elite people that are focused and driven, and then you just see people who are just out here to have a blast on the fourth of July.”

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