Brian’s Run began in 1978 as a one-time fund raising event to benefit Brian Bratcher, a West Chester Henderson High School football player who sustained a life-challenging spinal cord injury at the age of 15 during a scrimmage.BR 1978 StartBrian PhilliesBrian 1978


Brian was paralyzed that year, and his friends, their parents and the community as a whole wanted to help.

They organized a race and hoped to raise $500. That first year, 2,000 runners participated and the effort raised $20,000 to help Brian with his expenses. After 1979, Brian felt he had benefited enough from the proceeds and asked to have others benefit from the annual event.


The race for years has raised funds for disabled people from the community who need help with physical mobility, seeing and communication.

In 2009, the race changed from a 10k to a 5 mile lop. The course is a challenging out and back through West Chester, starting and ending at Henderson High Schiool, Brian’s alma mater.

Each year, the race has attracted thousands of runners – ranging from locals to nationals and international participants — and has been called one of the “100 Great Races” by Runner’s World and “Top 12 Essential Philly Runs” by Philadelphia Magazine. In recent years, the race-day activities have drawn about 3,000 participants and many spectators who spend the day volunteering and cheering on the runners.

Other Press- Patch, Daily Local, Inquirer, Inquirer, Runner Gazatte, 2002 Daily Local, Examiner, Back on my Feet, West Chester Rotary


Dennis Haggerty, a 20+ year runner of Brian’s Run, who loved Brian’s Run and loved West Chester will be missed by his family and friends, but will not be forgotten.