YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Runners from all over laced up their shoes and braved the chilly weather for the 49th annual Youngstown Peace Race.

Over 800 pairs of running shoes hit the pavement beginning at Kirkmere School. The historic race began 49 years ago when local running enthusiast Jack Cessna had the idea to unite people peacefully through running.

“He would bring in international runners, and my understanding is he got the idea by observing another race in another country,” said Joe Lucci, a member of the Youngstown Peace Race board. “Over the course of the years, we have had some of the best runners literally in the world — without exaggeration.”

The chilly October air seemed to play in favor of many of the runners.

“I like to run in the cold, so it really helps with my muscles and all of that stuff,” said Sara Reyes, a runner from Canfield.

“I’m prepared to battle the cold rather than be overclothed out there. I’m taking my chances,” said Tom Bresko, runner and former president of Peace Race.

Next year will be a huge 50-year milestone for the race.

“You see Mill Creek Park and the beauty of the park and the enthusiasm of the runners, you forget all the negatives,” Lucci said. “The overarching theme of the peace race is to promote running, promote excercise and, more importantly, promote peace.”