43 runners have run River Run all 35 years

One runner talks about the race over the years

Published On: Mar 09 2012 07:32:41 AM EST   Updated On: Mar 09 2012 08:55:00 AM EST
Gate River Run 2011
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Runners across the River City have been training for weeks now, for one of the biggest 15K events in the country, The Gate River Run.

For many participating it will be their first time, but for 43 runners, this will be their 35th time lacing up their sneakers and competing. These folks who have done it 35 years in a row are known as "streakers".

Tim Repper is a statue and the monument of sorts when it comes to the Gate River Run. He's run the 15K every year since 1978, 34 years in a row.

"Afterwards we came to the St. Johns River and we stood on the banks and we made a pact to be here every year and I've been fortunate enough to do that," Repper said.

Repper was 20-years-old at the time but remembers it like yesterday.

His feet were blistered badly from those converse all stars. Like most, he didn't know what he was getting into.

Back then, there were only 2,700 people in the Gate River Run. This year, there are more than 20,000, making it one of biggest races in the country.

"The River Run in particular has turned into such an event," Repper said. "Running over the Main Street Bridge and the Hart Bridge. Running through Downtown and San Marco. It's just a great event and there's going to be 10 live bands along the course. It's just a party on foot."

It's a race that's also bitter sweet for Repper. He ran the River Run with his twin brother and brother-in-law in 1979, who both have since passed away, bringing even more meaning to Jacksonville's world famous 15K.

"I want to make them proud and continue the streak," Repper said. "First 35 years. I want to go as far as I can go. As long as my health stays up and I can keep going, I'm going to be back every year."