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The Gate River Run (GRR), formerly known as the Jacksonville River Run, is an annual 15 kilometer road running event in Jacksonville, Florida that attracts both competitive and recreational runners. It has been the US National Championship 15K since 1994 and in 2007 became the largest 15K race in the country. It "was voted [as] one of the top US Road Races for last 20 years by Runner's World Magazine."[1] Local news media describe it as "one of Jacksonville's premiere annual events."[2]

Gate River Run
Gate River Run logo
Datethe second Saturday of March
Locationdowntown Jacksonville, Florida
Event typeRoad race
Distance15 kilometer
Course recordsMen: 42:22 (1995)
Todd Williams
Women: 47:03 (2014)
Shalane Flanagan


The race was first held in 1978 when it was known as the Jacksonville River Run. The initial sponsor of the race was the Florida Publishing Co., which published the Florida Times-Union and Jacksonville Journal. An inspiration for the race was the Peachtree Road Race, a 10,000 meter road race sponsored for several years by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. An initial planning meeting was held at the Jacksonville YMCA, with representatives of the Y, the newspaper and members of the Jacksonville Track Club. The 15,000-meter distance was proposed, to distinguish the race from the Atlanta race and the plethora of 10K road races then spreading across the country as a result of the running boom. The course crosses two major bridges spanning the St. Johns River, giving the race its name.[3]

Running legend Bill Rodgers, who is a four-time winner of both the New York City and Boston Marathons, won the first River Run. He was invited by the organizers, pending an appearance fee of $1,000, which was an under-the-table payment because of the amateur status of so many world-class athletes at that time. There was no other appearance or prize money offered. Rodgers' powerful victory helped catapult the event into the national running consciousness. On the women's side, Kim Merritt, a national-class runner in a period when women were first beginning to be taken seriously at longer distances, took home the distaff honors.[4]

Gate Petroleum became the underwriting sponsor in 1994.[5] Todd Williams holds the American 15K record with a time of 42:22 at the 1995 GRR, which he won five times.[6] Shalane Flanagan, won in 2014 and set the new women's record with 47:00. Before that, Deena Drossin, who has won the GRR six times, held the women's record with 47:15 at the GRR in 2003.[7]

An equalizer was added in 2004. The difference in time between the women's and men's 15K national records was 4:53,[7] so the elite women runners got a five-minute head start on the elite men. The first finisher, man or woman, receives a $5,000 bonus.[6] Even so, the women had only won the prize once (in 2007). In 2012, the equalizer was increased to 6:35, and Janet Cherobon won the $5,000 bonus that year and in 2013.

Race detailsEdit

In 2013, total prize money exceeded $85,000, including bonus money for record-breaking performances. The event has more prize money than any major non-marathon event in the United States. There are separate but equal awards for men and women individuals, teams and masters (over 40).

Individual Awards
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
$12,000 $5,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $900 $800 $700 $600 $500
Bonus Awards
$5,000 Equalizer First male or female finisher
$10,000 World Record Race winner
$5,000 American Record Race winner
$3,000 Course Record Race winner
$200 Florida Cup Fastest male & female resident of Florida
$100 First Coast Cup Fastest male & female resident Duval, Clay, Nassau or St. Johns

Live bands perform at locations along the race course and the finish line is beside EverBank Field. Special running caps are given to the top 10 percent of racers and medals are given to all 15K finishers.[8][9]

There is a 3-day runner's expo, with dozens of vendor representatives promoting running and health-related products. Seminars with running themes are presented; typical topics are:[10] Hydration and Nutrition, Foot and Ankle Injuries, Shin Splits and Shoe Fitting, Basic Injury Care. Bill Rodgers was a special guest at the expo in 2013, talking about running and signing autographs.[11]

Following the race, Publix supermarkets hosts a celebration at the fairgrounds.

In 2013, 17,454 people registered for the race, with 15,569 runners actually completing it.[6][12] The winner was Ben True from Hanover, New Hampshire with a time of 43:38. The fastest woman in 2013 was Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, from Rome, Georgia at 49:44.[8] The related races, the Florida Times-Union 5K Run & Walk for Charity, and the one-mile Junior River Run had 2,041 and 1,873 participants, respectively.[8]

Doug Alred, who has served as race director for 31 of the 36 years of the race, said that 2013 was the 11th consecutive year of record entries.[8]


As of 2010, there were 46 streakers, defined as an individual who has completed every River run.[13] Prior to the 2013 race, the number had dropped to 42, as age and injuries took its inevitable toll. During that race, one of those collapsed with a heart attack, but was given CPR by firefighters who were also running the race, and was revived with a defibrillator from a quickly responding emergency unit.[14]

Hall of FameEdit

The Gate River Run Hall of Fame was established in 2002 and is permanently located in the Riverplace Tower, on the southbank in downtown Jacksonville. Memorabilia dating from the race's inception in 1978 up to the present is on display and a five-minute video gives visitors an overview of the race. Plaques for each of the 14 persons inducted into the HOF are on display.[13]

Past winnersEdit

Key:   Course record

Year Men's winner Time (m:s) Women's winner Time (m:s)
1978   Bill Rodgers (USA) 44:46   Kim Merritt (USA) 55:46
1979   Jerry Odlin (GBR) 46:04   Joan Benoit (USA) 51:47
1980   Bob Hodge (USA) 44:54   Jennifer White (USA) 53:11
1981   Dan Dillon (USA) 43:34   Patti Catalano (USA) 49:33
1982   Mike Musyoki (KEN) 43:33   Wendy Sly (GBR) 49:52
1983   Nick Rose (GBR) 43:42   Charlotte Teske (GER) 50:17
1984   Gidamis Shahanga (TAN) 42:54   Midde Hamrin (SWE) 50:12
1985   Simeon Kigen (KEN) 43:26   Betty Springs (USA) 49:25
1986   Arturo Barrios (MEX) 43:18   Grete Waitz (NOR) 48:53
1987   Arturo Barrios (MEX) 43:00   Grete Waitz (NOR) 49:05
1988   Steve Spence (USA) 43:20   Lynn Jennings (USA) 50:02
1989   John Halvorsen (NOR) 43:12   Cathy O'Brien (USA) 49:45
1990   Ed Eyestone (USA) 43:58   Francie Larue Smith (USA) 49:39
1991   Steve Spence (USA) 43:41   Francie Larue Smith (USA) 48:43
1992   Valdenor dos Santos (BRA) 43:42   Olga Markova (RUS) 49:20
1993   Benson Masya (KEN) 43:59   Gwyn Coogan (USA) 51:26
1994   Todd Williams (USA) 43:42   Anne Marie Letko (USA) 49:27
1995   Todd Williams (USA) 42:22 NR   Cathy O'Brien (USA) 48:56
1996   Todd Williams (USA) 43:49   Lynn Jennings (USA) 49:45
1997   Joe LeMay (USA) 43:35   Lynn Jennings (USA) 50:13
1998   Todd Williams (USA) 44:06   Jennifer Rhines (USA) 51:00
1999   Todd Williams (USA) 43:59   Lynn Jennings (USA) 50:05
2000   Dan Browne (USA) 44:26   Deena Drossin (USA) 49:40
2001   Meb Keflezighi (USA) 43:16   Deena Drossin (USA) 49:09
2002   Meb Keflezighi (USA) 42:49   Deena Drossin (USA) 48:12
2003   Meb Keflezighi (USA) 43:31   Deena Drossin (USA) 47:15
2004   Meb Keflezighi (USA) 43:18   Colleen De Reuck (USA) 49:02
2005   Ryan Shay (USA) 43:50   Jennifer Rhines (USA) 49:21
2006   Meb Keflezighi (USA) 43:41   Blake Russell (USA) 49:14
2007   Meb Keflezighi (USA) 43:39   Deena Kastor (USA) 47:20
2008   Andrew Carlson (USA) 44:10   Deena Kastor (USA) 49:34
2009   Anthony Famiglietti (USA) 43:36   Amy Yoder-Begley (USA) 49:51
2010   Mo Trafeh (USA) 42:58   Katie McGregor (USA) 49:51
2011   Mo Trafeh (USA) 42:58   Jennifer Rhines (USA) 49:31
2012   Christo Landry (USA) 44:37   Janet Cherobon (USA) 49:41
2013   Ben True (USA) 43:38   Janet Cherobon (USA) 49:44
2014   Ben True (USA) 43:04   Shalane Flanagan (USA) 47:00 NR
2015   Ben True (USA) 44:03   Christine Ramsey (USA) 49:41



  1. ^ "Gate River Run" Archived December 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Events
  2. ^ Kouvaris, Sam:"10,000 Participate; Keflezighi Wins Gate River Run" Archived January 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine News4Jax sports, March 11, 2006
  3. ^ Davis, Ennis Armon (October 12, 2015), Jacksonville, Arcadia Publishing, p. 85, ISBN 978-1-4671-1468-4
  4. ^ "The Starting Line Newsletter, 2015 Gate River Run Edition" (PDF). JTC running. 41 (408): 14. 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Race Winners" Association of Road Racing Statisticians, River Run 15 km
  6. ^ a b c Johnson, David (16 March 2009). "Placing first by a second at Gate River Run". Florida Times-Union. Archived from the original on 29 August 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Keflezighi to Defend USA 15K Title at Gate River Run". Cool Running. March 11, 2004. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d "15K Take To Streets In 15K River Run"[dead link] WJXT-TV, March 15, 2009
  9. ^ "15K Information". Gate River Run. Archived from the original on 14 March 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  10. ^ Spears, Angela: "Gearing up for the Gate River Run" First Coast News, March 8, 2006
  11. ^ Parenteau, Chris (Mar 8, 2013). "Bill Rodgers inspires River Runners". News4Jax. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  12. ^ "2013 Overall Results". Gate River Run. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  13. ^ a b Johnson, David: "Three join Gate River Run Hall of Fame" Florida Times-Union, March 10, 2010
  14. ^ L'Etoile-Lopes, Greg (March 9, 2013). "Firefighters running in River Run revive 'streaker'". First Coast News. Archived from the original on April 10, 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  15. ^ "The Gate River Run". Retrieved October 31, 2016.

External linksEdit