Nearly 750 of the nation’s top marathon runners will race through the streets of Atlanta on Saturday, Feb. 29, in the hopes of qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team. The race will be televised nationally on NBC.
The trials begins at noon at Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown, taking runners from Marietta Street to Peachtree Street. After running north for three miles, runners will turn around at the intersection of Peachtree and West Peachtree in Midtown, heading back the other direction and looping through the Old Fourth Ward before returning Downtown.
After completing the loop three times, the runners will complete their race with a 2.2 mile loop that runs under the Torch and Rings structure from the 1996 Atlanta Games before finishing back at Centennial Olympic Park.
Georgia State University announced on Feb. 25 that it would relight the Olympic Cauldron for the event – the first time it has been lit since the 1996 Summer Games when the late Muhammad Ali did the honors at the Opening Ceremony. The The Olympic Cauldron will be lit on Saturday at noon and remain lit until approximately the end of the marathon trials at 3:30 p.m.
In order to compete in the marathon trials, participants had to complete a race within the USA Track and Field qualifying standard time — for women, this is 2:45, for men it was 2 hours,19 minutes.
The top three men and top three women in the race will go on to represent America in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
According to Midtown Alliance, spectators in Midtown will have the opportunity to see the runners race by six times on Peachtree Street. Local running store Phidippides is hosting an Olympic Trials Cheer Zone at the 10th Street Temporary Park at the corner of 10th and Peachtree that will include food, drinks, noisemakers and more. Phidippides is also hosting an Olympic Trials Fantasy League during the race. Read more about the cheering section at this link.
Another cheering section will be hosted by the Georgia Chapter of the Arizona State Alumni Association at the corner of Peachtree Street and North Avenue. A number of Midtown restaurants – including Olive Bistro and City Tap – will offer race day specials.
Road closures will be in effect before and during the race, so be sure to check the map above to see how you’ll be impacted and if you’re going to watch the trials, take MARTA.
The Olympic trials are part of Atlanta Track Club’s “America’s Marathon Weekend,” which also includes the Publix Atlanta Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K the following day.