The Gate River Run, the largest 15 km run in the country, brings over 8,000 people to downtown Jacksonville – Action News Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Step by step, mile after mile, the Gate River Run brought thousands to the streets of downtown Jacksonville.

“It was a really fun experience,” said Rachel Walny. “That hill at the 7 mile mark was something I’ve never seen before, that was crazy.”

When traveling from Michigan, the cold and windy weather was hardly a problem for Rachel Walny, a member of US athletics.

“It was more about just getting out there and competing,” she said. “I drove a few weeks ago, but before that it was about 16 months with the pandemic since I last drove.”

As one of the first major events since the beginning of the pandemic and the largest 15k race in the country, the Duval Street starting point introduced socially distant wave times under many safety protocols to ensure the safety of athletes.

“Either way I knew how it was going to take place, I’d be wearing my mask all the time,” one runner told Action News Jax. “I wanted to be as socially distant as possible. I purposely registered to be further back to stay away from large crowds so it was more of a comfort to get out. “

The runners tell Action News Jax that it’s not how you start, it’s how you end. For the 8,000 participants in the Gate River Run, the experience was more rewarding than ever.

“Only the amount is definitely very different. They restricted the number of runners for safety reasons, ”one runner told Action News Jax. “My first year was probably very nerve-wracking and now I feel very comfortable in the community.”

JTC Running has hosted the Gate River Run since 1978.

During that time, the nonprofit has donated over $ 50,000 annually to local charities, high school summer camp scholarships, and various running track projects.

Action News Jax’s own John Bachman started the 15K race and finished in 90:55!

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