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Fanning the flames: Jacksonville Historical Society hosts ‘The Great Fire Run’

The Jacksonville Historical Society is hosting the Great Fire Run of 2021.
The Jacksonville Historical Society is hosting the Great Fire Run of 2021.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Historical Society is hosting the Great Fire Run of 2021.

The 5K and 1 Mile race, commemorating 120 years after Jacksonville’s Great Fire, will be held on Saturday, May 1.

The event begins and ends at Old St. Andrew’s Church, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., across from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. The 5K will start at 7:30 a.m., followed by the 1 Mile Run at 8:30 a.m.

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To ensure safety during this time of pandemic, the wearing of masks will be required when not running the race, social distancing encouraged, and no post-race congregating.

Sign up at runsignup.com and search for Great Fire Run. Runners who register at least two weeks prior to the event are guaranteed a T-shirt; otherwise, shirts available as supplies permit.

History

The massive conflagration occurred May 3, 1901 when a spark from a kitchen fire ignited piles of drying Spanish moss at a nearby mattress factory. The race will follow the outline of the Great Fire boundary, which began at Davis and Beaver Streets, spread to most of downtown Jacksonville, and was halted by Hogan’s Creek, thus sparing Old St. Luke’s Hospital, which now houses the Jacksonville Historical Society.

Smoke from the Great Fire could be seen as far north as Savannah, Georgia and it took City firefighters until 8:30 that night to get it under control, but not before the 146-block conflagration destroyed 2,368 buildings, left 10,000 people homeless and killed seven residents.

Route

The run begins and ends at Old St. Andrew's Church, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. and will follow the boundary of the Great Fire of 1901.

To ensure life safety during this time of pandemic, the wearing of masks will be required when not running the race, social distancing encouraged, and no post-race congregating. Race times and dates are subject to change.


About the Authors:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in communications.