Rogers doesn’t quite rank among the elite at the Peachtree Road Race, where he will be one of the 60,000 participants to compete in Friday’s nationally renowned Fourth of July event that features some of the best distance runners in the world.
However, he certainly held his own in last year’s race, where he finished the 10K (6.2-mile) course in a personal-best 35 minutes, 29 seconds to finish 174th overall, 139th among the men’s competitors and 18th in the men’s 15 to 19 age group.
It was a big improvement for Rogers — who is running in his fourth Peachtree — from his performance in 2012, when he ran 40:41 to place 538th.
“I was very happy with the time,” Rogers said. “I had been training for cross country in the fall, so it was very nice to see my hard work rewarded. I knew I could run fast, but I wasn’t expecting to run that fast. So, I was pleasantly surprised.”
Rogers will once again be running a 10K course that winds its way down Peachtree Road from Lenox Square mall in Buckhead to Piedmont Park in Midtown.
For Rogers, the festive holiday atmosphere and the challenging race course are his favorite aspects of the Peachtree.
“I definitely love the atmosphere,” Rogers said. “It’s just to get out there on July 4th morning and getting out there to run with friends and family and watch everybody get into the sport. But I really do like the course. The first three miles are downhill and then there’s this hill. I think it’s a really nice layout.”
Rogers, who will not be continuing his competitive career on the college level when he enters Princeton this fall, finished his high school career at Pace last season on a high note with strong performances at both the state cross country and track meets.
At the state cross country meet in Carrollton last November, Rogers finished seventh in the Class A private school boys’ race with a time of 17:26.21.
He went on to place sixth in the 1,600-meter run (4:30.75) and seventh in the 3,200 (10:00.40) as well as helping lead Pace to the state title in the 1,600 relay in the Class A private school competition at the boys’ state track meet in Jefferson in May.
“I’m very happy with what has happened,” Rogers said. “I love the cross country team at Pace and the coaches — the Cunninghams [married couple Steve and Jolie] are absolutely fabulous. I can’t say enough about the athletes in the cross country program and the track program. I am honestly thrilled to have gotten to run the times I’ve had and I didn’t expect it when I started in ninth grade, so I’m beyond thrilled about how it all turned out.”