SAN FRANCISCO - The 44th annual Lunar New Year Run and Festival happened Sunday morning in the heart of Chinatown.
The 5K and 10K race was hosted by the YMCA branch in Chinatown.
The race kicked off with lion dancers, music and firecrackers to celebrate the year of the tiger.
"Runners in general have that spirit of the tiger in them and so coming out and celebrating that this year seems appropriate," said runner Josh Harris.
After doing an all virtual run last year, the YMCA was happy to see people filling the streets of Chinatown again this year.
"It’s so great to be back. We did a hybrid, virtual and in-person. But we ended up having like 1,300 folks sign up, we ran out of t-shirts, we ran out of medals," said Kari Lee, Executive Director of the YMCA's Chinatown branch. "It’s one of the last runs in the city that’s still on city streets."
For some, this was an opportunity to come back home.
"This is my own neighborhood. I live in Millbrae now, so it’s nice to see that there’s a running event in Chinatown," said runner Kim Giang. "It’s going to bring back some memories, especially running through our streets here."
One couple participating had moved to San Francisco from Italy right before the pandemic. For them, the run was rounding out their first big Lunar New Year celebration in the city.
"We spent a couple of nights here for the parade, the Chinese parade and everything so we like it and we decided also to run the race," said Marco Tenconi.
"It’s good for the neighborhood because it’s maybe the most one that was hit by COVID. So I think it’s a good way to celebrate with everyone," said Camilla Molteni.
Money raised from the run stays in the neighborhood, supporting Chinatown YMCA's community and youth services.