Run Through History: 5k & 1-Mile Walk

WHEN: Saturday, October 24 through Monday, October 26

Join us for HWF’s first-ever Run Through History 5k & 1-Mile Walk! This self-directed adventure will guide you past lesser-known locales and some of Wilmington’s most legendary places; additionally, half of our mapped highlights are Black historic sites.

As you sprint, saunter or stroll (We don’t judge, we’re just glad you’re participating!), you’ll see houses saved by Historic Wilmington Foundation, buildings bearing HWF plaques and structures that HWF is advocating for every day. You’ll also pass by notable places demolished and lost, a reminder of the importance of protecting and preserving the irreplaceable. 

The Rundown

HWF’s Run Through History is a self-guided fundraising fun run. Four unique maps created by HWF encourage you to experience the past and present of Wilmington, and your registration and pledges help ensure our future! Simply register online HERE, raise funds to support HWF, then complete the route(s) anytime between the morning of Saturday, October 24 and the evening of Monday, October 26! Be sure to take pictures in your super-awesome commemorative t-shirt and tag #HWFrunthroughhistory!

Run Through History is a bird’s eye view of all we do. The featured locations demonstrate all of our programs, initiatives and advocacy, including:
– Places We’ve Saved: Since our establishment in 1966, HWF has saved hundreds of historic buildings through preservation easements, donation and relocation, as well as advocacy, education and negotiation.
– Historic Plaques: We have one of the most prolific and renowned historic plaque programs in the country! These plaques connect both community members and tourists to our past.
– Legacy Architectural Salvage: LAS collects donations of pre-1960s architectural salvage and furniture, placing these pieces of local history back into area homes (and saving tons of building materials from the landfill!). Some of our highlighted Run Through History sites have relied on LAS for their restoration projects! 
– Tour Sites from Tar Heels Go Walking: HWF’s walking tours for 3rd graders introduce all students in New Hanover County to our historic downtown!
– Florence Fix-It Grant Recipients: After the devastation of Hurricane Florence, Historic Wilmington Foundation awarded 20 homeowners $5,000 grants to repair their homes.
– Preservation Award-Winning BuildingsEach year, HWF recognizes the homeowners and businesses that make preservation possible through restoration, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse and appropriate new construction.
– Current Advocacy: HWF is constantly advocating to preserve our built history, including buildings on our Most Threatened Places list.
– Lost & Lamented: Irreplaceable structures that have been lost to us, forever—a reminder to protect and preserve our built history!

Proceeds from the Run Through History 5k & 1-Mile Walk support Historic Wilmington Foundation and its mission to preserve and protect the irreplaceable historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.

Don’t want to run, but still want to donate?
Great! You can still register and support our mission. You’ll receive our custom maps and commemorative swag!


CLICK HERE to register now! Registration closes at noon on Wednesday, October 21.

Registrants will receive route maps—complete with details on highlighted sites and neighborhoods!—as well as an enviable commemorative Run Through History t-shirt, drawstring bag (sponsored by Old School Rebuilders), insulated tumbler (sponsored by Patriot Roofing) and bandana (sponsored by The Plant Outpost). Your race bag’s contents will also get you treats from local businesses, perfect to have on hand when we “gather” on Facebook Live:

      – Boombalatti’s Gold Ticket, which can be redeemed for a free scoop of ice cream! 

      – End of Days Distillery hand sanitizer

      – Palate coupon for $2 off your purchase of beer or wine!



Since the Run Through History 5k & 1-Mile Walk will not be timed, we’re awarding 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes to participants who raise the most funds for Historic Wilmington Foundation! We’ve made it a snap for friends and family to donate toward your “race.” Here’s how to get ahead on your fundraising (or should we call it fund-racing?):

      1. Start off your 5k campaign with a bang! Donate a little extra when you register.

      2. Create a campaign page for your “race” so friends and family can donate to support you (and HWF)! 

      3. If one of your supporters would prefer to cheer you on with cash or check, turn in these donations by 4:00pm on Friday, October 23.

1st Place Prize:
$75 gift card (provided by Uhl, Inc.) to Savorez, $75 gift card to Gravity Records, “Lunch for 2” at the new Pravda Cafe (appetizer, salads and a bottle of wine!), gift basket from River Organics ($75 value), face mask from Swahili Coast, as well as a shirt, hat and 2 pint glasses from Wrightsville Beach Brewery!

2nd Place Prize: $50 gift card (provided by Uhl, Inc.) to Platypus & Gnome, $50 gift card to Gravity Records, gift basket from River Organics ($50 value), face mask from Swahili Coast, as well as a shirt and pint glass from Wrightsville Beach Brewery!

3rd Place Prize: $25 gift card (provided by Uhl, Inc.) to Capricho, $25 gift card to Gravity Records, gift basket from River Organics ($25 value), face mask from Swahili Coast, as well as 2 pint glasses from Wrightsville Beach Brewery!

5k Routes: You’ve got options!

To encompass a broader map of Wilmington’s built history, we’ve created not just one, but FOUR maps!

The Northside route is a full 5k, with the other routes (Southside, Wilmington’s Cemeteries and Forest Hills) each one-mile in length. You can choose to walk one, two, or three! (If you do all three, it adds up to approximately one 5k!)

  • 5k (Northside): This 5k route starts and ends at 1898 Memorial Park. You’ll pass by St. Stephen AME Church (a 2020 Preservation Award winner!), the former and present location of 310 Bladen (saved by HWF!) and Snipes-Taylor House (preserved after Hurricane Florence, thanks to a Florence Fix-It grant from HWF, and former home of Robert Robinson Taylor, the first Black student enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the first accredited Black architect when he graduated in 1892). 

  • 1-Mile Walk (Forest Hills): Follow our route through Forest Hills, starting and ending at Colonial Drive. The Nir Family YMCA is graciously allowing participants to park in their front parking lot.

  • 1-Mile Walk (Southside): Explore the Southside of downtown by traversing this path, starting south of Market Street and ending north of Wooster.

  • 1-Mile Walk (Wilmington’s Cemeteries): This reflective stroll will guide you to five Wilmington cemeteries, starting at Wilmington National Cemetery and ending at Oakdale.


On Tuesday, October 27, grab your running buddy, get your Run Through History treats (thanks, local businesses!) ready, and have your comments/questions on hand when you tune in at 5:00pm to HWF’s Facebook Live event at 5:00PM! Executive Director Beth Rutledge and HWF staff will name our three winners, answer your questions and share our love of this city’s incredible, irreplaceable built history. In the live stream’s comment section, viewers are encouraged to share their favorite spots along the journey and ask questions about the neighborhoods, highlighted buildings and Wilmington’s history. We look forward to celebrating our inaugural 5k & 1-Mile Walk, answering your questions and connecting with our history-loving community! After the live event ends, we will post the video on our webpage and it will be saved on Facebook for future viewing. 

Thank you to our valued sponsors!

Our sponsors allow us to carry out a vital mission that began in 1966 and is still going strong. We are grateful to each and every one! 

To sponsor this HWF’s Run Through History 5k, contact Isabelle Shepherd, Outreach & Development Coordinator: Sponsors will be finalized on Thursday, October 1 at noon.

Corinthian Sponsors

Doric Sponsors

Run Through History Sponsors


Do I have to complete the Run Through History route on the specified weekend (October 24-26)?

Nope! If you’d prefer to register and then enjoy the historic routes on your own personal time later, that is 100% fine. You are still eligible to win a prize if you raise funds before October 24th!

How do I get the Run Through History maps?

Once you register, you will be emailed a detailed map of all four routes. Paper copies will be provided at packet pickup.

When and where is packet pickup?

Packet pickup is at Historic Wilmington Foundation’s headquarters (211 Orange Street). Packets may be picked up on Thursday, October 22 from 10:00am-1:00pm, or on Friday, October 23, from 12:00-4:00pm.

Can I send someone to packet pickup to get my packet for me?

Sure! All we need is a registered name to retrieve your packet, so if you want to pick up some for your (already registered) friends or if your mom is willing to pick yours up for you, that’s all just fine!

How do I find out more about the sites along the routes?

You can join us for the Facebook Live post-run wrap-up on Tuesday, October 27th at 5:00pm. During the live stream, you can ask your questions in the comments!

How do I create my fundraising page for the HWF 2020 Run Through History?

Step 1: CLICK HERE to create an account in our system and set up your fundraising page. (Before you start, find a photograph of yourself to put on your fundraiser page!)

Step 2: When you reach the log-in screen, you will see 3 options: create a new account, sign in to an existing account, reset your password.

  • If you are new to HWF (or not sure whether or not you have an account), click on Create New Account.
  • If you already have your username and password, click Sign In To An Existing Account to log in.
  • If you know you have an account but forget your password, use the Reset Your Password link.

Step 3: Once you’ve logged into your (existing or new) account, you will see 2020 Run Through History in the drop down menu. Click on Create Page

Step 4: Set up your page! Make sure you:

  • Decide whether you want to give your fundraising page a name other than your name, which is selected by default;
  • Set up your personal goal;
  • Upload a picture;
  • Add 2-3 sentences about why you are participating and what Historic Wilmington Foundation means to you;
  • Click Save!

Step 5: Go to the Share My Page option and copy the email to send out to your friends and family. If you would like to post on social media, please use the social media links at the bottom! Be sure to tag #HWFrunthroughhistory.

How do I donate to the campaign of a Run Through History participant?

CLICK HERE to search for any Run Through History participant’s fundraising campaign and easily donate to support them in their “race” to the Winner’s Circle!

May I go into the buildings featured in the Run Through History maps?

No, the structures are for exterior viewing only, except in cases of public spaces which have listed hours. Please be respectful of private property.

Can I bring my kids? My dog?

It’s up to you to decide who accompanies you on the run/walk. We’ve made every effort to make the routes safe for pedestrians. All the routes are entirely outdoors, so we encourage you to hydrate, use sun protection, and stay safe when crossing streets.

How do I get my post-run treats?

In your swag bag, there will be coupons for goodies! Follow the instructions on the coupons to redeem them and enjoy some treats from HWF’s partners. We encourage you to get the treats ready to eat and/or drink during the post-run wrapup on Tuesday, October 27th at 5:00pm!