2020 – the Last Pre-Covid Race

This is the eighth blog in a recollection of the past 10 years. Read about the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 races. And be sure to Register Today for the 10th Annual race on March 5, 2022.


Not just another race

The 2020 Florence Forth was going to be just another great community race, run and walk. We were running downtown for the third time. The race had 1064 people signed up and a hundred volunteers and police were ready to keep runners safe. The 2020 Florence Forth raised $40,000 for the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance. It was another great event. But not the one we expected.

Getting ready for Florence Forth

The week before the race is pretty exciting! We love seeing the UPS truck pull up and especially when they are delivering us 1,200 race shirts! Our front porch becomes a warehouse of sorts with all kinds of race day needs- cones, water coolers, tables. We couldn’t find pictures of our front porch or walkway on the night before the race. Guess we’ve always been too busy moving stuff to take pictures of it. Trust us, it’s crazy. Here are the boxes of shirts outside our front door in 2020.

Wait. What? COVID-19?

This year in particular, though, had a different vibe of anxiety as COVID cases were beginning to rise in our area. Race directors and event planners were perplexed to know what to do because guidance was thin. Do we still host the race? We did not want Florence Forth to be a super spreader event. We solicited guidance from medical professionals. Have hand sanitizer available they said, And of course at that time, there was a run on hand sanitizer. But we found enough! Try to social distance they said. Social distance? What did that even mean? Together we all figured it out.

Fortunately, we held the race safely and it turned out to be the last in-person event in Durham for the next 12 months. 

Kipp Marching Band

Through the years of planning Florence Forth, Leslie always wanted to have a marching band. In this pre-COVID event, we finally had a marching band. The Kipp Durham College Preparatory school had 15 members of their marching band at the corner of Ninth and Main Street urging the runners towards the finish line with great horns, drums, and a few woodwinds. What a wonderful celebration of music at the end of Florence Forth!! Thank you Kipp marching band.

The AE Alliance had just hired their new executive director, Caterri Woodrum and the AE families attending the family lunch at the Life and Science Museum were excited to meet her. We don’t seem to have pictures of that family lunch. But we’ll leave you with more pictures from the race.