The following was written by Wesley John, who is on the UGA Men’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Sport Management & Policy and had the opportunity to pursue an internship with the Atlanta Track Club during the summer of 2023.
This past summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to intern at The Atlanta Track Club. The Atlanta Track Club is “centered around running that delivers world-class events, training programs and community outreach activities to the Metro Atlanta Area. We encourage both youth and adults to start and continue running regardless of ability or fitness level, and provide outlets for all athletes to continue to grow and compete”. Growing up as a runner in Georgia, I was always fond of the role The Atlanta Track Club played in my athletic journey, so I had always hoped to eventually give back through the organization. In my role, I was given a wide range of responsibilities that helped me grow in a variety of disciplines.
The Atlanta Track Club is well known for hosting the AJC Peachtree Road Race on the 4th of July of each year. This race is the largest 10k in the world, so it requires a great amount of commitment and detail from the staff for the event to be successful. For this event, I was tasked with organizing and executing all operations and logistics for over 50,000 race finisher’s t-shirts. Obviously, this internship is not about grabbing coffee! I was able to do meaningful work and was given the green light to use my own creativity to spearhead the project. The staff would always give me help when I needed it and would check in with me regularly to make sure we were all on the same page and moving in the right direction.
I was also able to work alongside Eric Heintz, the Director of Elite Performance throughout the summer. I was particularly fond of this role because of my love for track and field and competitive athletics. I gathered and presented data and analytics specific to the organization’s professional athletes. I learned a great deal on the differences between college athletics and athletics with a professional organization like this one. In addition to my two main roles, the interns and myself would work together to host events like All-Comer Track Meets, The Braves 5k, The All-Metro Banquet, and more.
The work environment and staff at The Atlanta Track Club is truly the best. The interns were asked about their personal goals and the staff would accommodate roles and responsibilities to help give practical experiences in a field of their interest. We received great feedback on our work, went through resume workshops, went through CPR certification, and more. I’d like to give a special thank you to William Michael, who was my supervisor throughout the entire internship. He worked very hard to ensure all of the interns were well taken care of and was responsible for the internship program’s success. I’d also like to thank Rich Kenah, the CEO of The Atlanta Track Club. His leadership and ability to connect with each individual is well appreciated!
For UGA students considering internships, I’d highly recommend finding one that gives you applicable work experience to fit your future goals. You can learn a lot in the classroom, but being able to apply knowledge out in the real world is where the real fun begins. The relationships you create and skills you develop are integral to your development, so don’t be afraid to try something new like a summer internship! If you have interest in athletics, events, marketing, or business operations, then I’d look out for next summer’s internship with The Atlanta Track Club!