Thirty-five years ago, Sean Gilbert remembers his cousin asking him to run the first-ever Run the Rails race around the City of Buford. He ran long distance, so he participated due to the great appeal.

During those moments in 1989, Gilbert — now a longtime coach and teacher within the Buford City Schools — immediately realized the tradition within the event.

“It has always been a great place to see the community come out,” Gilbert said. “It’s also a sign that summer is here and time to enjoy the break.”

Year after year, the 5K and 10K race has been a popular race across Buford. The 2023 iteration of the event had a maximum of 500 runners. Ahead of the 2024 race, however, Buford has a lower number of registered runners.

Gilbert has helped with the race since first becoming a Buford employee in 2001. He serves as a teacher, head flag football coach and the Buford football director of operations. He has organized the race, received sponsorships, promoted participation and staffed volunteers for the first time in 2024.

“All sports are funded from the profits of this race,” Gilbert said. “It is an important part of our funding. It is also a great showcase for our city and what has made Buford special for so long.”

While numbers are down, Gilbert hopes for a surge in coming days. The event has waived the late sign-up fee due to the decreased number of registered runners, so the cost for the event remains $35. The race welcomes walk-up registration.

The event begins at 7:30 a.m. on May 18. It begins at the Buford Amphitheatre in Historic Buford.

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