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Olympic marathon trials will translate to roadway upgrades in Midtown, downtown

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Officials are working “to identify any potholes or metal plates ahead of time and have them fixed”

A map shows where runners will travel this Saturday.
You might want to avoid driving near these roads Saturday.
Images: Atlanta Track Club, via Midtown Alliance

This Saturday, top runners from around the country will converge on Atlanta to test their mettle in hopes of qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic marathon team.

And since Atlanta isn’t exactly renowned for the condition of its transportation infrastructure, city officials are working to repair roads in Midtown and downtown before the festivities.

It’d be rather embarrassing, after all, if a would-be Olympian stumbled on a pothole or one of the city’s infamous metal plates.

Beginning at noon Saturday, runners will take off from Centennial Olympic Park, “the crown jewel of the 1996 Atlanta Games,” as Midtown Alliance put it.

They’ll hoof it from Marietta Street to Peachtree Street, then turn around where Peachtree meets West Peachtree Street, before looping through Old Fourth Ward.

“After completing this loop three times, the runners will complete their race with a 2.2-mile loop that runs under the Rings and Torch structure from the 1996 Games before finishing back at Centennial Olympic Park,” per a Midtown Alliance blog post.

The route was determined with the help of the Atlanta Track Club, which sought a race course that was “spectator-, television-, and, most importantly, athlete-friendly,” said Atlanta Track Club spokesperson Jay Holder.

“We were also interested in highlighting some of Atlanta’s landmarks, most notably the marks of its Olympic legacy, like the ring and cauldron structure and Centennial Olympic Park,” Holder told Curbed Atlanta in an email.

He also said the club is working with Atlanta’s new department of transportation “to identify any potholes or metal plates ahead of time and have them fixed.”

Nearly 750 runners are expected to participate in the trials this weekend—including a Grady High School graduate—and the top three women and top three men will get a chance to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Click here for a guide on how to watch the race.

A larger copy of the map above shows how the route will run for miles up Peachtree Street.