More than 10,000 runners will hit Jacksonville’s streets — and two bridges — as the annual Gate River Run launches just before 8 a.m. on Saturday on Duval Street in front of the Jacksonville Fairgrounds.
The runners tackling the 15-kilometer event will continue to launch in waves based on their classification, while others tackle a 5K charity run, 1-mile runs for kids and those with physical challenges, and even a Diaper Dash for toddlers.
That also means dozens of roads on both sides of the St. Johns River will be shut from noon Friday through early Saturday afternoon.
The River Run hit the starting gate first in 1978 and has been a U.S. National Championship 15K since 1994, organizers said. Now the largest 15K in the country, it is operated by the Jacksonville Track Club, now known as JTC Running, a membership-based, all-volunteer-run nonprofit organization that sponsors numerous running events around the country.
Participants can get their race packet and number until 6 p.m. Friday at the Runners’ Expo at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds. That means Duval Street between Randolph Boulevard and Franklin Street will be closed from noon Friday until 1 p.m. Saturday. Out-of-town competitors can get them until 7:45 a.m. Saturday at the race start site.
The race starts on Duval Street between the fairgrounds and 121 Financial Ballpark and heads west into Downtown before hanging a left on Ocean Street and over the Main Street bridge. From there, it’s through the Southbank, then down San Marco Boulevard and River Road until it banks left and goes under Interstate 95.
From there, runners tackle Atlantic Boulevard until they hit the Green Monster, aka the Hart Bridge. With recent construction as the Hart Bridge descends into the TIAA Bank Field sports complex, there’s a steeper ramp leading to Gator Bowl Boulevard now. So the finish line now stands to the southwest of TIAA Bank Field, near Daily’s Place.
The 15K isn’t the only event:
- There’s the 5K for Charity that launches at 8:45 a.m. from the Gate River Run’s start line, all participants receiving a T-shirt and a finisher medal. Aimed at families, churches and civic groups, the run donates proceeds to the Northeast Florida Firefighter Wives Foundation, Dreams Come True, L’Arche Harbor House and other charities.
- The 1-mile Brooks Rehabilitation Challenge starts at 10 a.m. on Duval Street.
- The Junior River Run starts at 11 a.m. Saturday for children 13 and under, with a 1-mile fun run also beginning at the Duval Street start line. It includes a T-shirt and goodie packet for participants on race day.
- The Diaper Dash starts at 11 a.m. behind the stage at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, with separate divisions for children ages 12 months and under,13 to 24 month, 25 to 36 months, and 37 to 48 months.
The Gate River Run is a USA Track and Field 15K Championship and will offer a purse of $60,400 to the top men and women overall.
The Publix Post Race Celebration starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Fairgrounds, with free food and drink for competitors, plus live music and the awards ceremony.
All proceeds from the Gate River Run go to local charities including the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, Marathon High, and The Emerald Trail.
For more information, go to gateriverrun15k.com.
Race Day closures
- Duval Street (Jacksonville Fairgrounds to Main Street Bridge): 7:15 to 8:45 a.m.
- Randolph from Adams to Bay: 7: 15 until 9 a.m.
- Main Street Bridge: 7:45 to 9 a.m.
- Riverplace Boulevard-Prudential Drive: 8 to 9:15 a.m.
- San Marco Boulevard (Prudential to Laverne): 8 to 9:30 a.m.
- River Road and River Oaks Road: 8:15 to 9:45 a.m.
- Hendricks Avenue (River Oaks to Alexandria): 8:20 to 10 a.m.
- Alexandria and Belote: 8:20 to 10:15 a.m.
- Atlantic Boulevard westbound (Belote to Holmesdale): 8:20 to 10:30 a.m.
- Holmesdale, Nicholson, Olive and Gay: 8:20 to 10:45 a.m.
- Altantic Boulevard westbound (Gay to Hart Bridge): 8:20 to 11 a.m.
- Hart Bridge southeast bound (Atlantic Boulevard to Duval Street: 7:45 to 11:30 a.m.