Auburn student in top five for Peachtree Road Race T-shirt design contest

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Most people in the Southeast are familiar with the Peachtree Road Race—the annual 10K held in Atlanta on the Fourth of July. The tradition started in 1970 and has grown to attract 60,000 runners from around the world each year. Almost as popular as the race itself is the T-shirt runners receive when they cross the finish line.

In recent years, the T-shirt design has been chosen by a contest. This year, Auburn senior Lydia Sweeney's shirt design has made it to the top five and is competing for votes to be the winner.

"The design is called 'Meet Me at the S Balloon'—referring to the lettered balloons at the end of the race meant for people who become separated during the run," she explained. "My family always regroups under the S balloon after the race."

The graphic design major said she was also inspired by the routine she goes through on race day, from taking the crowded Marta train to Lenox Square, to running through the heart of Atlanta, passing her cheer squad and then crossing the finish line into Piedmont Park.

"My family has run the Peachtree Road Race for more than 30 years," she said. "Participating in the race is a Fourth of July tradition, and I will personally be running it for what I believe will be the 10th time this year."

For the Huntsville native, the best way to finish this milestone race would be to see her design on the T-shirts.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity of even being a finalist in this contest, but how cool would it be to see your own design on 60,000 shirts?"

It's a question she's been pondering since she was younger, but she finally decided to enter the contest this year.

"Last fall, I turned the contest into a self-directed design course so that I absolutely had to finish a design," she said.

Her work paid off, and now she's hoping her design will get enough votes to land her a spot in Peachtree Road Race T-shirt history.

Public voting takes place online at through March 22.

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