CommUNITY Rainbow Run kicks off Pulse Remembrance Week

Saturday begins a week of events to remember the Pulse nightclub tragedy five years later. 

More than 2,000 runners hit the pavement in downtown Orlando for the fifth annual Rainbow Run, Saturday morning.

"This is always an amazing event and it's the community giving back to the community, as well," said Orlando Police Deputy Chief James Young, who ran in the event.

More than 800 people also competed virtually from around the world. Organizers setting up for the event early Saturday morning said it was good to be back in-person, especially on the 5-year anniversary of the Pulse tragedy. 

Organizers hope to raise $300,000 from the race. All proceeds go to the onePULSE Foundation.

"It feels great, because I think everyone, after the year that we had, has this craving to be together physically, and this word 'unity' keeps coming up. And the word 'love,' that you can see on all the T-shirts today, so I think everyone wants to be back together," said Scott Bowman from the onePULSE Foundation.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina blew the horn to start the race at 8 a.m. before joining in himself. 

RELATED: Leaving messages of love for those touched by the Pulse massacre

"This year, we mark five years since we lost 49 beautiful souls at #Pulse. We will never forget," the sheriff's office tweeted. 

Instead of running a 5k, these runners did 4.9k to honor the 49 lives lost in the deadly attack that happened at the Pulse Nightclub five years ago. The race is the first event of a weeklong commemoration to honor the victims. 

Runners say it's great showing their support together.

"I think for all of us the past year has been screen-time, screen-time, but when you get in there it's more immersive and you can just feel that love all around you," said runner Amanda Conforth. "Look how amazing everybody looks and all the families are coming out here today. It's just more impactful."

RELATED: 5 years later: Pulse Remembrance Week activities announced

It was on June 12, 2016 that 49 people were killed in a mass shooting at Pulse nightclub on Orange Avenue. A full week of activities are planned leading up to the Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Ceremony on Saturday, June 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. You can find the full schedule HERE. 

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