5 Iconic West Chester Runs

If you are new to West Chester, first of all, welcome. Second there is something you should know, we love running. Sure most mornings, evenings and weekends you’ll find the streets speckled with runners but what really gets West Chester residents excited is running for a cause.

Any cause really. If we can lace up our sneakers in support we are there. Just about every weekend from March through December you can find at least one organized run going on through town. And while they are all special, there are five runs in particular that have come to be associated with the Borough.  

The Mother of All 5ks – Mother’s Day Run


Each year before dispersing into the surrounding restaurants for brunch, the women of West Chester – and their mother’s — line up on the corner of Church and Market for the Mother’s Day 5k run/walk.

Some fun facts:

  • Now in its eighth year, this event is run in support of CMMD — a local group with a common mission: fighting cancer.
  • This 5k is open to women of all ages, young and old
  • What really makes this event memorable is the sea of pink t-shirts that flood the streets in a unified mission to fight cancer and support those that have been affected.

The details:

Where: West Chester – Church St and Market St.

Who: Mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends (Female only)

What:  5k Run/Walk in signature Pink T Shirts

Why: Proceeds go to Team CMMD

When: Mother’s Day morning

Dub C 5K (Formerly the Dub C 4-miler)


Dub-C 4 Miler kids' race

Run on a Friday-night the Dub C 5k is part-race, part-social event. It’s not uncommon to see friends and neighbors out on porches enjoying a glass of wine and cheering on the racers while they weave through town.

This race used to be a four-miler, but due to some changes in town it has been downsized to a 5K. The new course was a roughly a mile and a half loop runners completed twice. While the 4-mile course was notable tough, last year’s participants found the new course much faster by comparison.

Fun facts:

The details:

Where: Traditionally Church and Gay, this year Church and Market

Who: All. Plus there’s a quarter-mile fun run for kids 1-13. 

What:  3.2 mile celebration of the start of summer in Dub-C pop culture-pun t-shirts

Why: The race supports Chester County Down Syndrome Interest group and Parkinson Council

When: Friday the first week of June (check website for specific date)

Chester County Color 5k


Sure, there has been a serge of color runs across the country and around the world. According to their website the
color run is now the largest running series in the world. (If you want some interesting insight to how this phenomenon started follow the link). The Chester County version, the Color 5K is run out of Everhart Park. I don’t know if its the cause or the concept, but the County has embraced it. In only its first year it attracted 750 participants and you’ll never see a happier bunch at the end of a race.   

Fun facts:

  • The race is a family event attracting 750 participants in the first year of the race
  • The Color Run has raised more than $60,000 to fight opioid addiction in the County in just two years
  • Proceeds generated by the race go to support overdose survivors and their families as well as, providing overdose prevention information to first responders, hospital staff, family members and friends.
  • The color run is not timed
  • Runners are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer

The details:

Where: Everhart Park

Who: Anyone and everyone

What: 3.2 mile race through town in a requisite white T-shirt

Why: The race raises money to help fight the opioid crisis

When: 9 am Saturday in November (check website for specific date)

Jingle Elf Run


Taking place before the start of West Chester’s annual Christmas Parade. The two-mile Jingle Elf Run & Walk is just enough to get you warmed up before the start of the parade.

Fun facts:

  • This will be the 11th running of of the event
  • There is a prize for best-dressed elf
  • All runner’s receive a complimentary jingle elf hat.

The Details:

Where: Market Street between High and Walnut Streets

Who: Elves young and old 

What: 2-mile run, 1-mile walk, children’s race. 

When: Friday, December 6 (check website for details)

Brian’s Run


Brian's Run, West Chester
Brian’s Run, Henderson High School track, photo courtesy of Briansrun.org

If the Color Run is a relatively new event, Brian’s Run, is a tradition. The race that began in 1978 as a way to raise money to support Brian Bratcher a Henderson High School football player who was paralyzed after he sustained a spinal cord injury during practice has endured for 40 years.

During that first year 2,000 racers turned out for Brian and his family – and each year since runners have been bundling up and coming out in support of the disabled community (according to the website after the second year of support Brian asked that proceeds go to the larger community.)

The race has been recognized by both Runner’s World and Philadelphia Magazine as a can’t miss event on the runner’s calendar.

Fun facts:

  • Organizers of that first race in 1978 hoped to raise $500 instead they netted more than $20,000 for Brian and his family
  • In 2009 the race changed from a 10K to a 5-mile loop
  • Brian’s Run has been named both a Runner’s World top 100 race and one of the Philly area’s best races by Philadelphia Magazine

The Details:

Where: West Chester Henderson High School

Who: Kids through elite runners near and very far

What: 5-mile race through town ending on the Henderson High School track

Why: The race raises money for Homes for Our Troops

When: Sunday afternoon in December (check website for specific date)

Organized running not your thing? Check out this new West Chester walking tour for some course ideas.

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