If there's one thing Shaunya Ishmael has learned from running the Peachtree Road Race, it's this: try to avoid the sprinklers.
"They always seem to have sprinklers out," said Ishmael, 45. She and her husband are lead trainers and owners of Operation Boot Camp Stone Mountain. "I always tell people, don’t run through those sprinklers. Your clothes get wet, your shoes get wet. You have to run the rest of the race wet and sloppy."
Of course, staying hydrated is key. "Stop at all the water stations," she said. "Not only get a cup of water to drink, its O.K. to get one to pour over the top of your head."
Ishmael said this is her fourth or fifth time running the Peachtree. Chester Ishmael will also run it again this year. In all, there are six from Operation Boot Camp Stone Mountain participating. This isn't the last race stop for some: There are also campers and instructors training weekly to run the St. Augustine Half Marathon in November, Ishmael said.
Running the Peachtree, even for those who've experienced it before, "is totally unique," Chester Ishmael, 59, said. "It's one of those few races where the weather plays such a huge part." The lack of trees along the race route and humidity can be taxing. But, he said, "you give it your best."
This will be Nicole Rankine's third year running the Peachtree. It began as an interest in doing something she'd never done before. A friend recommended she join Operation Boot Camp. She did, trained, ran the Peachtree and made it across the finish line.
"I enjoyed the running, the fellowship with the other runners," said Rankine, who is from Stone Mountain and attended Stone Mountain High School. She picked up her number for this year's race on Monday.
Ishmael said proper training for the Peachtree can't be overemphasized.
"Make sure you train on hills," she said. "If you’re used to running on flat ground it's going to be like culture shock going up and down those hills."
A one-minute run, one-minute walk method will allow time for taking in the scenery and taking pictures, she said.
After the race, Rankine said she'll probably chill out for most of the day.
"That's pretty much all I can do at that point," she said.
Tyra Knox of Atlanta, who trained with Operation Boot Camp Stone Mountain, will run the Peachtree for the second time. She said she's not one to hold things in her hand while she runs, like cups of water, so she plans on visiting every other water station.
She also has a specific goal she'd like to reach: to improve her time.
"I think last year I did [the race] in an hour and 30 minutes," said Knox, 52. "I definitely want to do better this time around. I really do think I will. If my time is not better, I really do believe it will be due to the heat."
If you're from or live in Stone Mountain and running in the Peachtree Road Race, post your photos in our Pics N' Clips Gallery!