The Pilgrimage Run: A Run with A Focus on Giving Thanks


The chalkboard of gratitude at the finish line

Joe Green, Staff Writer

 The Pilgrimage Run is a Thanksgiving tradition that the Erie community wakes up early to participate in every year. The course travels through Erie’s streets and paths. It includes three runs; the 2 mile, the 4 mile, and the Kids Run. The run is for serious runners, joggers, walkers, and even strollers. 


We like to keep it focused on the purpose ‘giving thanks’, having a ton of fun, making the run a great experience, and less about competition,” the race website says. 


Joey Greene, one of several Erie cross country athletes who were running the race on Thanksgiving morning, says, “There were so many people there that were a part of it even if they were just walking and talking with a friend.” 


The Pilgrimage Run is different from most runs because it gives away the “Hardship Gift.” The Run website says, “Proceeds from each year are given to a nominated family or person in the community who is facing hardship.” About 20 different nominations for the gift this year were received. In the end, the gift was given to Kamden Jones, a 5-year-old suffering from medulloblastoma: a brain tumor that affects his spine. He will be receiving $1,000 along with any extra donations received. 


The money will go towards expensive health care costs that, “…are astronomical, even with insurance,” says the Pilgrimage Run website. The money can also help with gas and other basic expenses so that it is easier for the family to have enough money to care for Jones.    


The run had a theme of charity, friends, family, and being grateful. A chalkboard at the finish line was a place where people could show what they were grateful for. 


There is no award for winning the 4 Mile run to keep a focus less on winning and more on the togetherness theme of the run. Greene says, “[In] some of the other races that I’ve run you can tell that the people are just there to win it, or do really well, which is fine. But this race was just fun, and people were just there to have fun.” He also says, “Seeing the people there and the happiness was definitely a good start to Thanksgiving for me.”