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300+ local runners spent the Fourth in Atlanta
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When Tony Smith isn't investigating fires as the Covington Fire Department Assistant Fire Marshall, he's on the streets with his running club.

Smith and the group train on various roads in Newton County, run in all of the area's competitions and are currently training in Jackson Lake for the annual Iron Man event held in Augusta in September.

However, this past week, Smith and a group of seven others traveled to Atlanta for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race.
Along with Smith was his wife Shannon Smith, Dr. Cary Leonard, Kristi Greco, Lerea Nealy, Kim McNary and Amanda Bruno.
The other men in Smith's running group were out of town on the Fourth, leaving him as the only male and the pack leader.

Tony Smith finished with a time of 55:27, finishing in the top 50 percent of his age group. Shannon Smith was a few minutes behind in a time of 1:07:18; Greco, of Social Circle, ran in a time of 55:25; McNary, of Oxford, in a time of 1:02:04 and Bruno, of Covington, in a time of 1:22:50.

Tony and Shannon usually head to Panama City around July 4 but this year decided to stay home. Being in the metro area for the holiday, the pair decided to sign their running group up for the annual 10 kilometer race.

The seven left Covington at 5:15 a.m. on Wednesday and parked near the Georgia Tech camps to catch the MARTA to the race's start. After finishing near Lenox they walked toward their vehicle and came back to Covington.

"Overall it was a really good day," Tony Smith said. "I thoroughly enjoyed it."

In his first Peachtree Road Race, Tony Smith was impressed by the sheer number of people both in the race and watching it.

"It's a great race with great festivities and great crowd interaction throughout the entire race," Tony Smith said. "A lot of these races you run don't have a lot of crowd support throughout the race. It's very sectionalized, but Peachtree was pretty well a party form the time you took off until the time you finished."

Around 60,000 people ran in the race itself, but Tony Smith said he and his group didn't have much trouble navigating the crowded course.

"It wasn't dodging people in and out; it was a good race," he said. "They had everyone spread out so it was comfortable. There was enough distance for enough room to maneuver."

Of the 60,000 people more than 300 were from Newton County. According to the Atlanta Track Club's online results, 280 participants were from Covington, four from Porterdale, 66 from Oxford and 51 from Social Circle. The fastest of Covington's racers was 21-year old Cameron Reid, who finished in a time of 35:22, among the top 76.2 percent of competitors.

Covington's Macie McWilliams and Kaelin Kuhn were among the area's youngest racers at 10-years old, along with Oxford's Jonathan Gaines, also 10.

Marvin Bowen of Oxford was the eldest Newton County representative at 83.

"Newton County was well supported," said Tony Smith, who saw several of his fellow neighbors at the race.

Many recognize the Covington Assistant Fire Marshall not only from his work but also from seeing him around town. He is currently preparing for the Covington Century with fellow Covington fire fighters training for the Iron Man.

"It's going good," Tony Smith said. "We'll all be participating in that event and are looking forward to it."