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Retrace 1996 Olympics footsteps in Porch to Torch 5K and Fun Run
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John Simpson, right, runs alongside Philip Wilheit in 1996 as a torch run escort as the Olympic torch made its way through Gainesville.

Gainesville’s Porch to Torch 5K and Fun Run invites people to take a trip down memory lane in honor of the 25th anniversary of the ‘96 Olympic Games.

Hosted by Lake Lanier Olympic Park Foundation, the run will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, and guide participants along parts of the torch bearer route in Gainesville. The starting point is at City Park, and the path moves south around Brenau University's campus and loops back on Park Street near Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

For more information and to register, visit

Katie Dubnik, chair of the event’s committee, said all of Hall County’s Olympic torch bearers — with the exception of Doug and Kay Ivester — will ride on a Gainesville trolly ahead of the runners.

From 8-10 a.m., families are encouraged to visit City Park and partake in the free kid-friendly activities and learn about the history of the Olympic Games in Gainesville.

Children will have the chance to compete in a series of events, including a hula-hooping contest and a 80-yard dash around the baseball field. The winners will receive a stainless steel cup decorated to look like an Olympic torch. The park will have bubbles for kids, a misting machine and a station for making paper Olympic torches.

Dubnik said RK Whitehead, president of Whitehead Die Casting, will speak at the event and allow people to view an original torch from the games. His company helped produce the parts used to make the torches in the ‘96 Olympics. 

Attendees will also be able to look at Olympic memorabilia linked to Gainesville, watch a video of Hall torch bearers recounting their memories and snap photos on a replica of an Olympic podium.

“There’s so much to celebrate,” Dubnik said. “We want to bring that story (‘96 Olympics) to a new generation and the community at large.”

Porch to Torch 5K and Fun Run

What: Event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Olympic torch run in Gainesville

When: 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7

Where: City Park, 549 Glenwood Drive NE, Gainesville 

How much: $30 adults, $20 children under 18

Registration deadline: Thursday, Aug. 5

Register/more info: