More than 1,300 runners and walkers will fill the streets of Mill Creek Park and Downtown Youngstown on Sunday for the 37th annual Youngstown Peace Race — an area tradition that celebrates peace and fitness and the beauty of the Mahoning Valley.
This year’s race will feature some new enhancements, including a new starting point for the 10K course, near Kirkmere Elementary School, on the city’s West Side.
Although the 10K start will be different, Mill Creek Park will continue to be a focal point of the 10K course. The course will wind past Lanterman’s Mill, The Silver Bridge, the entrance to Fellows Riverside Gardens, and end in Downtown Youngstown, near Federal Plaza.
The new 10K start will also feature restroom facilities at Kirkmere Elementary, and coffee and donuts will be provided for runners and spectators.
As in years past, bus service will be provided to transport 10K runners to the starting point from parking available at the Downtown Youngstown YMCA. The first bus leaves at 8:30 a.m. and the final bus departs at 10:15 a.m. The 10K race begins at 11 a.m.
Parking will also be available at Kirkmere, but those who park at Kirkmere are responsible for their own transportation back to the school.
The race features a 2-mile course at 9:30 a.m. that begins at the YMCA on Champion Street in Downtown Youngstown, and a free kid’s run at 9:20 a.m. for children 10 and under.
Runners and spectators will be entertained with performances by the Cardinal Mooney High School marching band. The ’80s cover band Cherry Wine will provide finish line entertainment.
All finishers will be eligible to participate in a raffle following the race. Winners must be present to collect prizes.
Ted Rupe, a Peace Race board member for 20 years, said the race’s history has helped define the Youngstown running scene and provides an an opportunity to unite area walkers and runners and elite athletes.
Year after year, the race draws several elite runners. This years elite roster includes six runners who will be running in the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston in January.
“The ‘peace’ in the Peace Race comes from the experience of that camaraderie that participants enjoy by racing, running, jogging or walking a race with a four-decade history of bringing ‘the people’ together,” Rupe said.
The race has enjoyed steady growth over the years. Nearly 1300 participated in all events in 2010, and race officials are expecting to surpass last year’s participant numbers Sunday.
Race proceeds benefit several area charities, including the St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley, the YMCA’s Partner in Youth Program, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Fairhaven School/Special Olympics and the Mindy Henning Scholarship Fund.
Online registration is closed, but participants can register at Second Sole in Boardman today and Saturday for $20. Same-day registration is also available for $25. For more information, visit www.peacerace.net.