While many runners across Georgia and beyond start training for the Peachtree Road Race, one class at UWG has been preparing far in advance.

The Peachtree Road Race first started in 1970 with 110 contestants. Since then, the race has expanded to 60,000 participants. Every year, runners and walkers come out to finish the race and obtain the coveted t-shirt.

Before the t-shirt can be handed out, a contest is held where the public is able to vote online for their favorite shirt every day for nearly two months leading up to the race. Once a shirt has been chosen, it is not revealed until the winner of the race gets one.

Running or walking the race can make any person feel like they are a part of Atlanta’s traditions, but five UWG students are a part of this year’s history.

Justin Dunbar, Katie Pettus, Hannah Sanders, Kayla Marston and Kat Dye are all students in an art class taught by Clint Samples, which requires students to design a shirt to enter into the contest. This year marks the fifth year that UWG students have been selected for the contest. Dye’s design was officially picked as the volunteer shirt design already.

Dunbar, a senior art education major, wanted to incorporate Atlanta’s historic skyline in his design. “I knew that I wanted to include some recognizable symbols that people could relate to Atlanta, but I didn’t want to make it boring. I enjoyed playing with the text and having it form into the peach, along with the Atlanta skyline,” said Dunbar.

Sanders, another senior art education major, took a different approach and let her art lead the way. “I came up with my idea by splattering ink onto paper. The splashes were interesting to me, so I decided to work with them in some way. By scanning my splashes into the computer, I was able to move them around. I also added some sketches I did of the racers into the splashes; the design is like a big hide and seek of racers,” said Sanders.

Another positive influence for entering the contest is designing the t-shirt that will reward many people. “I’ve never participated in the race, but have friends that have. I think it is a great goal for people to have and I do hope that one day I could run the race,” said Pettus, a senior photography major.

An Atlanta theme is common among the entries, but Marston, a junior graphic design major, wanted to stick with the state symbol, the peach. “Since I was born and raised in Atlanta and know how big the race is, I knew I wanted to stick with an actual peach for my design. From there, I did a printmaking technique of cutting out and layering the different layers of oranges. I wanted to give the different orange colors to make it feel more summer like,” said Marston.

Samples’ class project has helped make UWG more widely known, but has also helped the students involved in the class. “I learned to never give up and never to settle for your first design. By tweaking, the design can always be better,” said Sanders.

Voting for the shirts is taking place now until April 30. You can vote by going to www.ajc.com/peachtee.

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