Florence Forth



Florence Forth 2021 

On Saturday, March 6, 2021, AE Alliance will organize the 9th annual Florence Forth road race in Durham, NC, and kick off the first virtual Florence Forth run/walk!


Will and Leslie McDow started the Florence Forth run/walk to commemorate the day that their six-year-old daughter Florence died from complications of autoimmune encephalitis. Every year they run this race for Florence. 

We invite you to join us either in NC or virtual and run with us, to honor your loved one: Who are you running for?

To give a face to all those affected by autoimmune encephalitis, we ask that after you finish your run, you take a photo of yourself or your group, and let us know who you ran for, by posting to your social media, using the hashtag: #CapeMomentsAE #FlorenceForth


Race Information – In-person (Durham)

A 5K and 10K run/walk with chipped start and finish on a closed 5K course near downtown Durham. Click here for the course map. Note, the NEW location with start/finish at Bull City Running Company’s downtown store. Runners who want to complete the 10K will run the 5K twice. Due to COVID-19 we will have restrictions in place to ensure everyone’s safety. 

Start time: 8 AM (starting in waves of 20 runners to ensure social distancing)

Start Location: 501 Washington St, Durham NC 27701

Race Information – Virtual

A virtual race is a race that can be run (or walked) from any location you choose. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, on the trail, on the treadmill, at the gym, or on the track. You get to run your own 5K or 10K race, at your own pace, and time it yourself. Or, run safely with family or friends in your neighborhood. 

Start time: anytime from Friday, March 5 – Sunday, March 7



Check out the online shop,

and get your race day gear today!





If you, or your organization want to sponsor the Florence Forth race, please contact us at [email protected]

A big thank you to our 2021 sponsors



Our volunteers help make Florence Forth a great success!  We need volunteers to regulate parking, help with set-up and take-down, or be a course marshal and make sure that runners stay on track. 

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About Florence Forth

Florence Forth was started by Leslie and Will McDow who lost their daughter Florence on March 4th, 2012 after a long battle with autoimmune encephalitis.  Florence was a healthy, vibrant 2-year-old when the first symptoms of AE emerged. 

Over the next four years, the disease caused neurological complications and developmental delays, which ultimately led to her passing.  Along with Florence’s sister Laura, the McDow’s launched the Florence Forth run/walk to commemorate the day that six-year-old Florence died – March Fourth. Every year, the AE Alliance organizes the Florence Forth run/walk in honor of Florence McDow.