by Max Marbut
Since it was installed March 2, 2002, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Gate River Run, the life-size bronze statue of a running man installed on the Northbank Riverwalk near the Hyatt Downtown has been a solitary figure.
That changed Monday morning with the unveiling of a second statue depicting a female runner.
Sculptor Derby Ulloa and Mayor John Peyton lifted the cover from the new bronze image, which is a stride behind the original. Ulloa created the male figure eight years ago.
Both statues are a gift to the people of Jacksonville from JTC Running, formerly the Jacksonville Track Club. The statues are at the starting line for the inaugural River Run on April 1, 1978.
“It’s extraordinary for the track club to donate this public art,” said Peyton.
“The Gate River Run is the largest participatory event in Jacksonville and it’s a wonderful way to showcase the city. Downtown has a lot of promise and this kind of investment makes it even more valuable,” he said.
Peyton’s father, Herbert Peyton, is the founder of Gate Petroleum Co., the name sponsor of the run.
The 34th annual Gate River Run is scheduled March 12. Last year, more than 19,000 runners and walkers took part. The 15K is the main event, with more than 15,000 runners.
It’s the largest 15K in the country and will again serve as the USA 15K Championship.