The Swords family of Canton had a slightly different take on the celebration.
They ran the Peachtree Road Race.
Edwin Swords III said his 92-year-old father, Edwin Jr., has run the race 17 times — all since he was 75. The family rallies around him, with 12 participants this year.
“I don’t know how many times we have done it, but a lot of the family has been doing it for years,” Edwin III said. “My son, Austin, ran it the first time when he was 6 years old, and he is 24 now. It’s just one of those things we started doing and it’s become a family thing. It got to be where people kept adding on. Since my father started doing it 17 years ago, we’ve just kept on to do it with him.”
Several members of the family stuck together this year, finishing with their patriarch, while others said farewell to the rest of the group at the starting line and met up again at the finish.
“It’s just, really, a family day for us,” said Edwin III, who finished the race in a little more than an hour, ahead of the pack that followed his father, which eased to a 3-hour run.
Austin Swords said that since he first ran the Peachtree 18 years ago, he has done it sporadically. He was a member of the Cherokee High School track team and ran the race during that time, but he’s missed it in many of the years that he was in college.
“This was the seventh time I’ve done it,” he said. “I run regularly and I enjoy it. It’s definitely fun to have all three generations participate. It is really pretty cool.”
Swords said his grandfather inspires him to run, and he isn’t the only one.
“I think everybody is inspired,” Austin said. “People see him and say that they have relatives that are ailing and barely hanging on, but my grandfather is out there every year.”
Edwin Jr., a retired dentist, was the oldest participant in the race in each of the last two years.
In 2012, he wore a shirt that said, “Eat my dust, slowpokes!” This year, he had a different message — “92 and still going strong!” — in a patriotic red, white and blue.
“This is a tradition we are definitely going to keep doing,” Austin Swords said.
Other members of the family who ran this year included Edwin III’s wife, Dana, and their daughter, Natalie. So did Edwin Jr.’s daughters, Denise and Debra, and Debra’s children, Beth, Courtney and Stephen Goodwin.