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Inaugural ‘ Peachtree Corners Decathlon’ obstacle course event invites local athletes to race



All photos courtesy Alex Wright, showing Peachtree Corners residents who are members of his exercise group. Feature photo Kristin McEwen climbs a rope.

Decathlon Dates and Times:

Saturday, Nov. 6, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Town Green Path to Fitness, 5140 Town Center Boulevard

Awards Ceremony:

Monday, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Anderby Brewing, 110 Technology Parkway, Suite 200

Registration $20 peachtreecornersga.gov/residents/ptc-decathlon-2021

Ambitious athletic folks are invited to join the City’s inaugural Peachtree Corners Decathlon, a Nov. 6 competition based on the local “Path to Fitness” obstacle course.

The Decathlon will be the first City-run event in its nine-year history and matches its motto of innovation, according to City Councilmember Alex Wright, who came up with the idea. He notes that footraces are “a dime a dozen” across the metro area. “But how many cities have a Decathlon? Probably zero because they don’t have an asset like this,” he said.

Alex Wright

The Path to Fitness is a series of exercise stations that opened earlier this year at the Town Green. The Decathlon will consist of a timed run of eight of those stations, plus a rowing machine and a third-of-a-mile run. It’s partly inspired by a nationwide phenomenon called the Spartan Race, the basic concept of which may be familiar from the reality TV show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Wright and City Manager Brian Johnson worked on the Path to Fitness concept. Johnson, a former U.S. Army Ranger, pushed for designs that were more challenging and a bit more like the military obstacle courses that have partly informed the athletic version.

“When we initially built it, we had no idea if anyone would use it,” said Wright of the Path to Fitness. He says it’s been a hit — though the biggest users have been older children, who are allowed to do so with supervision, but are not the target audience. “But the point is, it became a real attraction,” says Wright, and the City believes it’s another boost to nearby businesses as families come to visit.

Rich Woodfield climbs the wall.

The Path to Fitness and the new Decathlon event both drew inspiration from Wright’s experience in workout groups around town and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in sending more people outdoors for exercise more often.

A longtime runner, Wright was introduced to Spartan races several years ago by a friend named David Bradford. Wright agreed to join the team in the sometimes grueling event. “I remember thinking, ‘I’m never going to do it again,’” Wright recalled. But then after a month or so, “I was like, I’m kind of intrigued.”

Rob Whitesides on the rope traverse.

Unlike the solitary sport of running, the obstacle races were team events, which appealed to Wright, a Navy veteran. “Come to find out, I really enjoyed the camaraderie part of the groups,” he said. “It’s not exactly like being in the military, but it does have that [aspect where] you’re in a group of people doing something together, [and] to a certain extent have a common goal. And it’s not like work where it’s just about money.”

Another attraction was the feeling of accomplishment and confidence. “I had no clue how to climb a rope,” said Wright. “There’s this thing that I have no idea how to do … but through persistence or assistance from your friends, you mastered the thing. And you can apply that to something at work or a relationship or whatever it might be.”

Wright discussed the notion of a City-run obstacle course internally for some time. But the fire was lit under it by COVID. Pre-pandemic, Wright and his friends would work out at the Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA and the playground in Berkeley Park. But COVID shuttered those for long periods, and more people in general were seeking outdoor activity during the lockdowns. Those drove City leaders to make the Path to Fitness a reality and expand its users.

Emily Fenn does the box jump.

“A lot of those friendships just formed organically through getting together just a couple times a week, and at one point it became almost daily,” said Wright. “When the virus came, it was like, ‘I gotta get outside or I’m gonna strangle somebody.’”

“The virus changed things and sometimes it could be for the good,” he says. “Sometimes good things can come from bad things.”

As for the Decathlon concept, that also came from workout days at the Y. Wright says a member named Mark Metz several years ago organized a 10-event, station-based “Decathlon” there as a playground fundraiser. Combining that with the Spartan race concept led to the Peachtree Corners version.

The Decathlon events include: wall climb; the “bender,” a kind of ladder climb; rowing machine; rope climb; box jump; rope traverse; “multi rig,” a series of rings and bars; sandbag carry; burpees, an exercise involving pushups and jumping; and a third-of-a-mile run.

The event will run 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Unlike road races, where everyone goes at once, it will have rolling start times for individuals every five minutes. That also means the slots for participants are limited to 84. Participants must be 18 or older.

The City will give awards for winners in men’s, women’s and men/women over-40 categories.

The City is funding the event, mostly using internal resources with the only new spending being T-shirts and publicity. The registration fee is $20, partly to ensure that participants feel committed to show up and partly to cover costs. Besides entry, the fee gets participants a T-shirt and food and drink at the awards ceremony at Anderby Brewing.

That ceremony will be held two days later. Wright says that partly because the rolling start times mean many competitors won’t want to hang around all day after finishing. And Mondays are a slower night for the brewery, so it’s intended as a “win-win.”

Wright encourages anyone interested in participating to try out the Path to Fitness first. “You definitely need to practice if you’re not familiar with some of the obstacles,” he says. Each station on the path has a QR code that links to a YouTube video showing how to properly use it.

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How to Attend Major League Pickleball’s Upcoming Tournament in Peachtree Corners, Sept. 21-24



Major League Pickleball (MLP) will be showcasing its first of three events of the 2023 Season 2 schedule with the MLP Atlanta tournament later this September. 

MLP is a team-based professional pickleball league and is at the forefront the fastest-growing sport in the United States. 

MLP features nearly 100 coed athletes in the sport, learner-friendly scoring and the largest payouts in prize money across pro pickleball.

The MLP Atlanta schedule will begin with Media Day, Wednesday, September 20. Tournament action will take place from Thursday, September 21 through Sunday, September at Life Time Peachtree Corners, 6350 Courtside Drive NW, Peachtree Corners, Georgia 30092.

Fans interested in attending the event can purchase tickets here.

Live streaming coverage of the event can be found on MLP’s official YouTube Channel

For more information on Major League Pickleball, visit the official website and follow MLP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

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Health & Wellness

Peachtree Corners Gears Up for Its Third Annual Decathlon 



The highly anticipated third annual Peachtree Corners Decathlon is set to take place on Saturday, October 21, 2023. The event, held just off the Peachtree Corners Town Green at the Path to Fitness area, will bring together 72 participants vying for glory in 10 challenging events. 

This year’s competition promises to be bigger and better, with an added team component and an impressive award ceremony scheduled at the Curiosity Lab Innovation Center.

Though the event has sold out, it was open to men and women aged 18 and older. The Decathlon is known for its intense physical challenges that test participants’ endurance, strength and agility.

Athletes will compete against one another through a series of 10 exercises. These include the wall climb, bender, row, rope climb, box jump, rope traverse, multi-rig, sandbag carry, Olympus wall and, to finish it off, a 1/3 of a mile run.

With a rolling start every five minutes, the competition will begin promptly at 8 a.m. and continue until 2 p.m., providing a day of non-stop action. Spectators are highly encouraged to come and watch the event this year.

Building on past success

For the past three years, the Decathlon has been put together by an organizing committee composed of Alex Wright, Rich Woodfield, Jennifer Bonacci, Emily Fenn and Kristin McEwen. However, there are a number of people without which the event could not function, such as city staff and volunteers.

“I’m really excited about this year’s event,” said Wright. “The first year, I was mainly concerned about just having a decent turnout. Last year, it was building on the foundation we had built, but mainly just having things run smoother and more professionally and continuing to grow the number of racers. This year, I think what you are going to see is an elevated level of competition.”

Wright was excited that the event sold out so quickly, revealing that the organizers had done a good job getting name recognition for their event in such a niche athletic field. With that, the Decathlon is starting to see some greater competition coming with the growing name.

“One of new things this year is the “Top Gym” competition,” said Wright. “To qualify, a gym must have at least three female and three male competitors. The gym that has the best composite ranking (overall female ranking by combining the top three female finishers from their gym and the same for the men) wins Top Gym.”

“We are having a really, really nice trophy built that the winning gym will get to keep for the year,” he said, adding that the gym name and year it won will be engraved on the trophy.

Spectators very welcome

Aside from the splendor of trophy winning, the PTC Decathlon has become an exciting community event, attracting sports enthusiasts and spectators alike.

The competition not only promotes physical fitness but also fosters a sense of community and wholesome competition among participants. It offers a platform for athletes to showcase their skills, push their limits and leave a lasting mark in the history of the PTC Decathlon.

The Decathlon has an emphasis on community even amidst its strong competition. Make sure to come out and watch this year’s competition on October 21.

Find more details about the Decathlon at peachtreecornersga.gov/265/PTC-Decathlon.

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Premier Racquet Sports: A Holistic Approach to Tennis Pro Shops



Claude Badowski behind a racket stringer

Calling all racquet sport lovers! Premier Racquet Sports, a tennis pro shop, recently opened on March 15 in Peachtree Corners off Spalding Drive.

This is Premier Racquet Sports’ second location in Atlanta, the other being in Dunwoody. However, this pro shop brings something unique and special to the competition wherever it lands. 

Founded by Corey Matney, with partners Claude Badowski and Bobby McMahan, Premier Racquet Sports is a shop with an emphasis on a community-driven approach to the racquet sports industry. 

In an industry where it can be overwhelming and daunting to adventure into the realm of pro shops, Premier Racquet Sports aims to break the status quo by making tennis available to all. 

“Our goal is anyone who comes in, whether you’ve never played tennis before, never played pickleball before, or you are basically a professional, you will have time spent with you explaining what’s the best kind of choice for you,” said Badowski. “Learning about customers as a person and trying to really build a relationship makes it so that we can help people long term rather than just transact with them.” 

Some of the many pickleball paddles and tennis rackets offered in
Some of the many pickleball paddles and tennis rackets offered in store

More than a business

Matney began stringing rackets in high school to be able to afford tennis lessons and eventually went into college playing Division I tennis. Not only did a passion for the sport drive him to create Premier Racquet Sports, Matney also found an intense need for a friendly business based in the racquet industry. 

“…to be able to offer the community high-level technical services and be able to have everyone feel like they’re getting the same treatment that a professional tennis player would when they come into a tennis shop, and meet their needs,” said Matney. 

As a long-term tennis player, Matney found that service at pro shops could feel impersonal, furthering his drive to create a pro shop that was more than just a shop. 

One way the shop has accomplished this objective is through occasions such as demo days, events where the shop will demo rackets and bags while also running free tennis drills.   

“It’s a great chance for people to talk to us about what’s the best racket for them and what’s the best string for them to hit with it,” said Badowski. “They get to feel the difference, because there’s hundreds of rackets out there and thousands of string and string combinations. It’s very rare for people to be able to try them all and get instant feedback …they can feel the difference.”

Additionally, Premier Racquet Sports will have their next demo day on July 14. This event will feature all Wilson products as well as Wilson’s new racket called the Shift. 

Group of people smiling for picture
Community members celebrate the grand opening of Premier Racquet Sports in March

In-store action

However, this level of care and concern extends beyond their demo days. By walking into Premier Racquet Sports, customers are making their choice of supporting a business that keeps their clients in high regards.

“All of us enjoy being able to help players explore and go down the pathway of finding the right equipment for them,” said Matney. “This is mostly stringing, but also rackets, shoes or any portion of the necessary tennis items; just being able to have that connection to the player and have them know that we are a sounding base for their questions and will help them find what they need.”

Premier Racquet Sports prides itself on its collection of all things tennis. Within their store, they carry all major brands, rackets, shoes, grips and over 250 varieties of string. They claim to be able to have anything a player may desire shipped to their store within two days, too. 

Welcome Premier Racquet Sports to the Peachtree Corners community by stopping by, whether you are a tennis expert or a novice.

Learn more about Premier Racquet Sports here.

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