Never in its nearly 125-year history has the storied Rochester Lilac Festival had a year like this. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down pretty much everything, festival producers have found a way to bring its 5K/10K runs to us, in a musically unique way.
Rochester Events will produce its first-ever virtual run, which also will benefit MusiCares, a nonprofit organization formed by the Recording Academy, best known for producing the Grammy Awards. MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for musicians in times of need.
ROC’n RUN will take place over three days from June 26 through 28 and will consist of a Summer Madness 5K, Lovin’ Summer 10K and Cruel, Cruel Summer Half-Marathon, as well as a Schools Out for Summer two-mile race for kids under 14.
“This pandemic has affected everyone from every background,” said Rochester Events Owner Jeff Springut. “We’ve seen people connect, stay positive and heal through the power of music. Although we’ve probably lost the festival season, we’re giving not only our local community but anyone in the world a chance to tie up the laces and turn up the tunes. The virtual run and walk has a distance for everyone — and can be run anywhere — whether you are an athlete, music fan or both.”
Registered runners will have access to a curated playlist of tunes and a print-at-home bib. Participants can complete their distance all at once or over the course of the three days to receive their perks, which consist of a custom printed ROC’n RUN t-shirt, a medal and a buff that can be worn a variety of ways, including as a face mask, organizers said.
This year, festival producers are encouraging runners to wear their favorite band t-shirt and take photos of music-related landmarks such as music venues, artwork or performance while completing their route.
ROC’n Run sponsors include Abilene, Anthology, Fanatics, House of Guitars, Iron Smoke Whisky, Lovin’ Cup, Princeton Medical Supply, Record Archive and Three Heads Brewing.