Run Through History: 5k & 1-Mile Walk

WHEN: Friday, August 20 through Sunday, August 22

A self-directed adventure, HWF’s Run Through History 5k & 1-Mile Walk will guide you past lesser-known locales and some of Wilmington’s most legendary places. As you sprint, saunter, or stroll (we don’t judge, we’re just glad you’re participating!), you’ll see houses saved by the Historic Wilmington Foundation, buildings bearing HWF plaques, and structures that HWF is advocating for every day. As part of HWF’s commitment to honor and share our community’s complete, diverse past, half of our maps’ featured sites are related to local Black history. 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, raise funds to support HWF, then complete the route(s) anytime between the morning of Friday, August 20 and the evening of Sunday, August 22! Be sure to take pictures in your super-awesome commemorative t-shirt and tag #HWFrunthroughhistory!

The Afterparty

On Monday, August 23, Run Through History registrants and their families are invited to a post-race party at End of Days Distillery from 5:30-7:30PM! The Wheelz Pizza food truck will be on scene, and the talented bartenders of EOD Distillery have promised to whip up some custom cocktails for the occasion. Plus, we’ve got tempting raffle prizes from generous local businesses! At 7 o’clock, Executive Director Travis Gilbert will announce our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Run Through History winners!


Early bird registration ($25) begins on July 6 and ends on July 20. After July 20, registration costs $30. 

Registrants will receive route maps—complete with details on highlighted sites and neighborhoods!—as well as a a drawstring bag, stuffed with treats from local businesses.



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 the 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 noon on Monday, August 23.

A Bird’s Eye View of All We Do

The featured locations along each Run Through History route demonstrate all of the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s 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! 
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, the 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 such as the Borst Building, Giblem Mason Lodge No. 2, and more.
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 the Historic Wilmington Foundation and its mission to preserve and protect the irreplaceable historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.

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! (Did you participate in last year’s Run Through History? Our maps are new and improved in 2021, with updated sites and stories!)

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.

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, July 29 at noon.

Corinthian Sponsors

Doric Sponsors


Do I have to complete the Run Through History route on the specified weekend (August 20-22)?

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 August 23rd!

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 will be held at Historic Wilmington Foundation’s headquarters (211 Orange Street) on the week prior to the Run Through History. More details to come!

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 HWF at our Run Through History Afterparty (Monday, August 23 from 5:30-7:30PM at End of Days Distillery, 1815 Castle Street). Our staff would love to chat with you about the featured locations! 

How do I create my fundraising page for the HWF 2021 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 2021 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.