Running 500 Miles—Star Wars style

The country’s only lightsaber relay race returns just in time for Comic-Con—and raises money along the way

If you see a cadre of menacing, white-helmeted storm troopers racing down the street, don’t panic or rush to your Millennium Falcon. It’s just participants in the Star Wars: Course of the Force lightsaber relay. After last year’s debut, the race in which participants dressed like their favorite Star Wars characters run from Skywalker Ranch in Marin County to Comic-Con in San Diego over the course of eight days, makes a triumphant return to the annual comic book convention.

Nerdist Industries founder and AMC TV’s The Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick will once again host the charity event, which raises money for Make-A-Wish. (100% of proceeds go to the organization, which helps children with life-threatening diseases.)

Joggers compete in teams, passing along lightsaber batons every quarter mile. Along the way, “Conival” celebrations with expo booths, competitions, live music, and entertainment are open to the public.

Hardwick and a team of Saturday Night Live writers have also created a series of web videos, the first of which recently premiered on Youtube. This year’s theme: The Course of the Force lightsaber has gone missing and must be retrieved in time for the race.

If you want to catch the ad hoc athletes in Los Angeles, look for runners from July 9th to 16th along the Pacific Highway from the Santa Monica Pier down to Redondo Beach. If you haven’t already started training, donations are always welcomed.