Eastside High School seniors Michael Johnson-Weeks and Austin Knight participated in the annual Peachtree Road Race on Monday.
It was the sixth Peachtree for Michael, who ran the event in 41:41 and placed 648 out of a field of 60,000. That time was enough to earn him elite status.
"My track coach, Gary Tyndall, and I have been working on a new training program since November," Michael said. "After the conclusion of the 2011 track season, we adapted the workout to allow for longer distance races so that I could get a head start with cross country."
Austin, who is also a Peachtree veteran, ran the course in 56:22. Austin said that he was running for fun this year and not stressing out about trying to make a specific time. He was accompanied by his parents, Tommy and Dana, and his brother Travis, who ran a time of 39:21. Travis Knight graduated from Newton High School and now attends Georgia College and State University, where he runs cross country.
Michael ran USATF summer track with the WorldWide Track club and the Ruff Riders Track club. He participated in the Atlanta Track Club all-comer meets at Emory University from May to mid-June and then ran in the USATF Junior Olympics June 16-19, where he set a personal record of 4:30 in the 1,500 meter.
"My goal for the Peachtree this year was sub-40," Johnson-Weeks said. "So I didn't quite make it; I wasn't fully prepared for the long hills along the Peachtree route and I think it shows in my final time. I will definitely be adding more terrain work to my training program.
"My goal for this cross country season is to break the school record of 17:49 set by Sam Johnson and hopefully break 17 minutes in the 5-k."
In addition to his current track training, Michael began summer cross country training with Eastside Coach Leah Carlisle two weeks ago.
Michael has been running track since seventh grade and cross country since 10th grade.
Austin has been running cross country for Eastside since his freshman year.
"Hopefully this race will help us in the cross country season," Michael said. "It would be great to make a third consecutive state appearance. I feel very good about the talent we have returning and improving this season, and I'm glad we have Coach Carlisle as our coach."