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Chester County Press

Kennett Run 2024: Bringing the people to the people’s race

04/04/2024 01:28PM ● By Richard Gaw

On the first Saturday of every May in the Borough of Kennett Square, a semi-formal invitation extends itself to every neighbor, friend, business and organization in southern Chester County to join in the celebration of what is becoming among the largest block parties in southern Chester County. 

It has been this way since the Kennett Run first kicked off in 1989, and as the finishing touches are applied to this year’s race on May 4, there is already reason to believe that this year’s event will unfurl that same welcome carpet to what has become the people’s race – only bigger.

In what has become a new tradition, more than 900 runners and walkers will kick off this year’s Kennett Run at 9 a.m. in Anson B. Nixon Park before hundreds of supporters, and then navigate their way through the borough along State Street before heading their way back to the park. After all competitors cross the finish line – from 10K runners to youngsters completing a Kids Pond run – this year’s Party in the Park will be extended to include award ceremonies, musical performances, children’s activities, vendor booths and:

  • Performances by pep bands from Avon Grove, Kennett, Oxford and Unionville high schools, who will not only play in the park but along the race route through the borough
  • A local high school mascot sprint race featuring the Red Devil from Avon Grove, the Blue Demon from Kennett, the Hornet from Oxford and the Longhorn from Unionville
  • Musical performances provided by Pollock Music Lessons in Kennett Square, featuring New Jersey musician Matt DeFilippo and 
  • Employee areas sponsored by CQ Medical and Chatham Financial

The annual Party in the Park serves as a deferential wave of a hand that says to area residents, “This is your race, and we invite you to take part in it.”

“We’re confident that these new additions will help draw even more people to the park,” said Bob Merkle, Kennett Charities president. “When the Kennett Run began, we started it along North Union Street, but largely the course avoided downtown Kennett Square. We made the decision a few years ago to run through downtown, as a way of involving so many of our partners and businesses our competitors run past.

“Our intention has always been – and will always be -- to then lead the race’s supporters who line the streets to follow the runners back to the park and join the party. Perhaps more than any other year, the 2024 post-race celebration will have something for all generations to enjoy.”

The race organizers’ decision to lengthen this year’s Party in the Park also brings two Kennett Square traditions together. After the Party in the Park concludes at 1 p.m., those in attendance will be able to join Casa Guanajuato at its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration along State Street, an annual event that celebrates and honors the vibrant Hispanic culture in Chester County with a day of music, traditional dances, Hispanic food and community unity.

“We’re advertising this collaboration as a Day in Kennett,” Merkle said. “This will be an opportunity for everyone to bring their friends and family and have a good time. ‘Small Town, Big Race, Strong Community’ has been our slogan for many years, and we have been slowly working toward increasing the community’s attendance with each passing race. 

“We’re always reinventing the Kennett Run, changing the pattern in order to add different components, but our focus has always been on our community and the area where we all live.”

This year’s Kennett Run will begin at 9 a.m. and its Party in the Park will conclude at 1 p.m., which will be followed by the Cinco de Mayo celebration, which will take place from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. along State Street. To learn more about the 2024 Kennett Run and to register for the 5K Run/Walk, 10K Run, 5K or 10K PoweRun, 1-mile Run/Walk or Kids Fun Run, visit

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].