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Running enthusiasts will be swarming the city this weekend as the Patriot Running Festival takes over the town for the fifth year in a row.
The Patriot Running Festival is a rebranding of an annual Williamsburg event that will include multiple races over the span of this weekend.
The festival will benefit the Achievable Dream Academy, promoting education as a means to break the cycle of poverty.
The latest iteration of this event will include the traditional 8k Run/Walk on Saturday and the headlining race, the Run for hte Dream Half Marathon on Sunday.
It was also expanded this year to include a 5k, which took place Friday night.
“With the expansion of the weekend, we really needed a title that would be inclusive of all of the events, as well as capture the essence of its location in Williamsburg,” according to a news release from the organization, which changed the name of the event from Run for the Dream to Patriot Running Festival.
An event this large is sure to bring in many out-of-town visitors, which is why locals will want to be aware of increased crowds and traffic delays along the race routes every day this weekend.
All races begin at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center and finish on the campus of William & Mary, so traffic in that vicinity will be rerouted in order to ensure runner and pedestrian safety.
Primary roads of the course include Bypass 60, Capital Landing, Colonial Williamsburg, Scotland, Richmond, York, S. England, Newport, S. Boundary, and Jamestown. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes.
Click here for a breakdown of expected traffic delays.
Runners interested in supporting the cause can choose to participate in just one of the three races, or if they are really looking to test their limits they can undertake the Patriot’s Challenge or the WARRIOR Challenge.
The Patriot’s Challenge has always been a feature of the event, and it involves running both the 8k and the half marathon, totaling 18.07 miles over two days.
The WARRIOR Challenge is new with the addition of the 5k and requires participants to complete all three races for a total of 21.17 miles over the entire weekend. Participants in each challenge will receive medals and T-shirts for the applicable races, as well as tickets for food and beer at the festival.
In order to entice even greater crowds, organizers teamed up with local attractions, such as Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg to offer early registrants an extra incentive.
The first 4,000 registrants for any race and the first 3,000 registrants for the half marathon received free tickets to Colonial Williamsburg and to Busch Gardens, respectively. Several area hotels are also offering reduced rates over the weekend to race participants and their families.
Though pre-registration for the Warrior Challenge is already sold out, there will be on-site registration for each of the individual races the day of. There are also a small number of Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens tickets still available that will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis. Both races have a 7 a.m. start time.