Retro Running: Nike’s Epic ‘Battle of Atlanta’ Poster
The Peachtree Road Race 10K is held every July 4 in Atlanta—it celebrates its 48th running this year—and the image of the hot and steamy 1978 race, taken by Atlanta photographer Chuck Rogers, was immortalized for a generation of runners of the original running boom in a Nike poster called “The Battle of Atlanta” that was sold at running stores and sporting goods shops through the mid-1980s. (Nike published dozens of running posters back then, including several under the “There is No Finish Line” theme.)
The photo depicts a wide range of runners (in classic 1970s running garb) cooling off in a spray of water after the race. The biggest difference between then and now, of course, is that there are few women captured in this photo and now more than 60 percent of all race participants are women. Urban legend and some inaccurate blogs have suggested one of the men on the ground in this photo died, but there’s no substantiated truth to that rumor. However, the poster did appear as a wall-sized mural in the 1985 movie “St. Elmo’s Fire,” a popular film starring Judd Nelson, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy. Copies of the poster can still be found for sale on eBay and other sites.