The race was on, as Greensboro held its eighth annual Run 4 The Greenway Event on Saturday. On this fall afternoon, everyone from serious runners to casual strollers filled the starting line for the 1.25 and four mile races, beginning at 4:30 and 5 p.m. respectively, and many did it in costume.
Adults and children alike could be seen sporting ensembles ranging from full shark onesies to butterfly wings, as everyone seemed to be embracing the festive spirit of the race being so close to Halloween.
According to downtowngreenway.org, the Downtown Greenway began as a “collaborative project of the City of Greensboro and Action Greensboro,” and “is a planned 4-mile walking and biking trail.”
Run 4 The Greenway is set up so that participants competing in the longer race will complete an entire loop of the trail, bringing them back to the starting line where entertainment was scheduled to take place from 4 to 8 p.m. and, this year even included a costume contest for attendees to look forward to.
UNCG partnered with the event in celebration of the university’s 125th anniversary: inspiring the addition of the 1.25 mile walk and run option for participants looking to get back to the fun quicker. Spiro, UNCG’s mascot, was in attendance to welcome participants and spectators, as they enjoyed the myriad of entertainment set up in Morehead Park.
As it neared time for the first set of runners and walkers to head to the starting line, the announcer noted this was the first time the race would start and finish on the greenway, which also meant participants would have the luxury of a downhill beginning and end to their race.
While the races were underway, friends and family mingled with the accompaniment of live music and food provided from The Baker and the Bean and the Morehead Foundry Grill truck, who also provided cookie decorating for any children in attendance. The event also hosted warm-up sessions for the runners and invited UNCG Chancellor Frank Gilliam to pass out the top prizes for the runners.
While some came hoping for a first-place finish, others sought out the event as an opportunity to return to familiar stomping grounds. About Run 4 The Greenway, Lillington resident, Klarie Macias, said, “I’m glad that Greensboro seems to be doing a lot more engaging stuff that makes connecting with all of the community easier and a lot of fun. I went to high school in the area, and it’s nice to be back.”
The event certainly seemed to embody its role of providing a space for community members to engage and connect, with its emphasis on a family friendly and pet friendly environment, while also achieving its purpose of celebrating the Downtown Greenway.
Costs to participants were relatively low, with the four mile race costing $25 and $5 less for students. The 1.25 mile race had a $10, entry fee for students and a $15, timed entry fee for non-students. Both options also included a free t-shirt and a free drink ticket for the runners and walkers, however, observers were welcome to attend, support the runners and enjoy the live band for free.
Stepoutside.org described Run 4 The Greenway as, “An event to raise awareness about the Downtown Greenway, be a fundraiser for the Downtown Greenway, and provide a fun-filled evening for the whole family.”
In many ways, the annual run allows Greensboro residents to become acquainted with an area the city specifically designed to, as downtowngreenway.org puts it, “Enhance the urban landscape with a green space that will promote fitness, connectedness and wellbeing for both our residents and visitors in an aesthetically pleasing environment.”
As Greensboro continues to develop, it seems to become more and more important for spaces like these to exist, especially ones that seek to preserve natural atmospheres in urban environments. The construction of new and exciting restaurants and stores can come at a cost if the city is not also prepared to maintain the green and picturesque areas so many Greensboro natives originally fell in love with. Run 4 The Greenway seeks to spread the word about a dedicated space that fulfills such a purpose for Greensboro residents and beyond.