There’s some subtle changes for the 37th annual Peace Race.
Set in Mill Creek Park, the race has a 10-kilometer course that winds past some of the park’s historical structures like Lanterman’s Mill and the Silver Bridge.
This year’s race on Oct. 23 features a new starting point for the 10K course. It’s near Kirkmere Elementary School on the city’s West Side.
“The new start will be engaging — it will be festive and accommodating,” said Al George, Peace Race board president.
The new 10K starting point also will feature restroom facilities at Kirkmere Elementary. 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 race also will feature a 2-mile course that begins at the YMCA on Champion Street in Downtown Youngstown, and a free children’s run for ages 10 and younger.
Although the 10K starting point will be different, the natural beauty of Mill Creek Park will continue to be a focal point of the 10K course.
A video of the entire 10K course is available on the Peace Race’s revamped website at www.peacerace.net. The course will wind past Lanterman’s Mill, the Silver Bridge, the entrance to Fellows Riverside Gardens, ending near Federal Plaza.
“The history of the race is what makes this such a very, very special event. Runners who have participated in the Peace Race over this era have witnessed the evolution of the sport to the high level of competition and participation that we have today,” said Ted Rupe, a Peace Race board member.
Rupe, who has served on the board for 20 years, said when the race was founded in 1975, its primary mission was to unite athletes from around the world for a day of competition, friendship and — most importantly — peace.
The race was initially a 25-kilometer (approximately 15.5-mile) run through Mill Creek Park, and the 10K (6.2 miles) was added in 1979. The 25K was eliminated in 1989, and the event remains with a 10K and a 2-mile run/walk.
Rupe said the race has enjoyed steady growth over the years. In the early years, it wasn’t uncommon to have a few hundred runners participating.
In 2009, there were nearly 1,200 participants, and nearly 1,300 participated in 2010.
The Peace Race can also be a motivator for beginner and seasoned runners. New runners can try the 2-mile course, and a 10K offers seasoned runners a longer course that can serve as a training run for those running a fall marathon.
But, most of all, race officials hope this annual event encourages runners and non-runners alike to come out and enjoy a fun Mahoning Valley tradition.
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.
“The Peace Race has been a Valley tradition for 37 years because our Valley residents have a love for running, community and peace in the the Valley. This year’s race is both the continuation of the tradition and an improvement on past years’ races,” George said.