Popcorn Panic 2020

With the cancellation of the 2020 Popcorn Festival we will not be able to host the Popcorn Panic with our traditional format.  Without the festival support of road closures, police, EMS and other vital resources, we will need to change the look of the Panic this year. Despite these challenges, Valpo Parks is dedicated to keeping the tradition of the Popcorn Panic alive in 2020!

Changes for 2020:

The goal of the event is to provide a truly competitive racing experience for all participants while adhering to the CDC social distancing and safety guidelines. In order to do this, the following safety precautions will be implemented:

New Race Course – A new race course has been created to minimize traffic disruption in the downtown area and on heavily trafficked streets. Due to course restrictions and limit to the number of participating athletes, there will no longer be a 5 mile race. The new course map is posted below.

Limited Participants – The total number of participants for this event has been lowered to 400 to allow for rolling starts and social distancing.

Rolling Start Times – A rolling start will be utilized for the 5K race. This will allow runners to start individually or in small groups of associated participants (family member or participants that live together) during designated times between 7:30am-8:30am. When registering, participants will be asked to select a 15-minute starting time slot. Participants may begin their race anytime during the selected time slot. There is a limit of 100 starting positions available for each starting time slot and they are available on a first come, first serve basis. In order to maintain safe distancing and traffic control on the race course, participants must start during their selected starting time slot. If a particular starting time is not available, that time slot has reached the maximum number of participants. Please do not ask us to make any exceptions, because we will not.  The race course will remain open until 9:30am.

Team Competition – 5K participants are encouraged to form teams! Teams must have at least 4 finishers to be eligible for team award. Winner is determined by computer analysis of the overall place of the top 4 team members. Team members are also eligible for individual awards. 

Packet Pick-Up:

There will be no on-site registration. All participants must pre-register online. Online registration will remain open on race morning until 7:30am or until the cap of 400 participants has been reached.

  • Pre-Race Packet Pick Up will be available Wednesday, September 9th thru Friday, September 11th from 11am to 6pm at the Extra Mile Fitness Company, 1330 E Lincolnway, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383.
  • Onsite packet pick-up will be available on race morning beginning at 6:30am
  • Participants are asked to not arrive at the race site any earlier than 20 minutes before their designated starting time.  
  • Parking will be available throughout downtown as marked.

Awards (Based on start time)

Each participant’s start time will be recorded as they cross the starting line. As participants finish, they will receive a text message and/or email with their finishing time. A list of overall finishing times for all competitors will be continually updated at www.thtiming.com while the race is in progress. Shortly after 10:00am the final race results along with the Overall, Masters, and Age Group awards will be posted. Award winners will be able to pick up their awards on site from 9:30am-10:00am or at The Extra Mile Fitness Company after 11:00AM continuing during regular business hours for the following two weeks.

Overall & Age Group Awards – Top Overall Male & Top Overall Female, Top Masters Male & Top Masters Female, Top 3 Male and Female in the following age groups: 14 & under,15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70 and up.

Please note, Popcorn Panic has a non-duplication of awards policy.  A participant who finishes in the top 3 overall in the 5K event does not qualify to win an individual age group plaque.

Additional Requirements:

  • Participants are required to be completely self-sufficient.  No water stops, refreshments, or medical assistance will be provided.
  • Participants must follow all CDC safe distancing guidelines.
  • Participants must be in good health and symptom free from any illness for at least 2 weeks prior to the event.
  • After picking up their race number and upon approaching the starting line participants are required to immediately begin their race.  Participants will not be allowed to congregate or conduct any race preparation (warm-ups, stretching, adjusting or changing apparel, etc.) in the starting area.  Participants should approach the starting line ready to run.
  • Participants passing one another on the course must adhere to “no drafting” rules which include being no closer than 10 feet behind or in front of, or 6 feet beside other competitors at any time.
  • Participants must follow all instructions of the course volunteers. Failure to adhere to course volunteer instructions will result in an immediate disqualification.
  • Participant must continue moving towards the exit of the finish area upon completing the 5K run.

Thank you for your understanding regarding the changes we have had to implement to the event this year.  We hope to be able to bring back the Popcorn Panic in its traditional format in 2021!


  1. Dan Lukes

    Adult Program Director
    Phone: 219-462-5144, ext. 6311

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