LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Lancaster’s 45th annual Red Rose Run begins June 3, but this year, there won’t just be one starting line or just one race day. Participants can choose to run or walk one of six suggested courses, or create their own 5-mile course, over the next four days in this year’s virtual race.
For the second year in a row, the Red Rose Run is a virtual event in order to keep participants safe from COVID-19. About 200 people have already registered to participate, and because the race is virtual, people are participating around the world.
“There’s 20 people running in Mexico, there are people running in France,” Annie Weeks, director of the City of Lancaster Office of Promotion, said.
Competing against those people, you may not have a chance at the prize for the participant who is furthest away from Lancaster, but there are several other prizes up for grabs for those who choose to run or walk the race. They include time-based awards for participants in Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, and in the rest of the country. There are also prizes for the Largest Team Completing the Race and the Most Unique Run Location.
Participants will receive email instructions for submitting their times for prizes after registering for the race, explains Weeks. Individuals and groups can register to participate any time from now until the end of the run on June 6.
Proceeds from the Red Rose Run will benefit the Lancaster Central Market. “Lancaster Central Market is a beloved gem for residents and visitors,” Weeks said. “It’s always really nice to be able to make that donation and know that we’re helping in a small way…or a big way.”
Highlighting the Central Market, the new Market Run race course begins and ends at the Lancaster destination, weaving through some nearby neighborhoods. Other course options include locations like Long’s Park, Lancaster County Park, and the Conestoga Greenway Trail. Or participants can choose to design their own 5-mile path.
Participants receive Red Rose Run t-shirts, which can be picked up along with their race packets outside of the Lancaster City Visitor Center and Central Market on Friday, June 4, from 12-4 p.m.
“People come down to Central Market, they can have lunch or a coffee, and then there will be a DJ now that we can have some of that activity,” Weeks said.
Unclaimed t-shirts will be mailed to participants after the race ends.
“We really are trying after this last year to encourage people to get fresh air and have some fun with it and step away from the desk,” Weeks said.
Weeks encourages people to participate alone or with groups of friends or family, and she says both walking and running are allowed.
Weeks hopes that next year the race can be in person again, but she is glad that the Red Rose Run has been able to continue during the pandemic.
“We are just grateful to keep it going. It was really important to us, even though it was virtual, not to cancel,” Weeks said. “People really look forward to it as a kickoff and summer celebration, so it’s important to us to keep that tradition alive.”
The 2021 Red Rose Run takes place June 3-6. More information is available on the City of Lancaster Office of Promotion website.