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Chinatown's Year Of The Tiger Firecracker Run Will Be DIY

A large gathering of runners at the start of a charity run with Los Angeles City Hall in the background. A red banner that reads START in white letters stretches across the width of the street
Participants in the 2020 Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 10K run.
(Courtesy of Firecracker L.A.)
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Be it the Year of the Rat, Dog, Ox, Dragon or Snake, Angelenos love celebrating the Lunar New Year by running in the Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 5K/10K Run. But in this Year of the Tiger, the streets of Chinatown will be empty of runners, walkers and cyclists.

The pandemic and increasing hospitalizations due to the omicron variant of the coronavirus led organizers of one of the biggest events on the local running calendar to go virtual this year.

That means participants pay money to enter an event, cover the distance independently, and receive race swag such as a souvenir t-shirt and goody bag of treats and discount coupons by mail.

This year marks the 44th Annual Firecracker 10K race, one of multiple events that had been scheduled for Feb.19 and 20. If you’re already signed up, you can roll the registration over to next year's 45th annual event if you prefer to race in a crowd, or request a refund.

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People who register for the virtual run have a few weeks to do their run/walk/cycling.

Firecracker Run volunteer Raymond Su said moving the race to virtual status for the second consecutive year was in line with the group’s mission to promote good health and fitness. Also, the Chinatown community has a large population of older people who might be at higher risk of getting infected if thousands of runners showed up on the streets. In a non-pandemic year, the weekend of events draw more than 9,000 participants.

Proceeds from this year's running, walking, dog-walking and bicycling events will go to help four local elementary schools and several nonprofit organizations.