A couple hundred people raced through downtown Erie Saturday to Beat Beethoven.

The goal was to cross the finish line before the musicians of the Erie Philharmonic finished playing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony as part of a free concert in Perry Square.

Everyone who finished the 5K run or one-mile walk in time earned free concert tickets for the upcoming season.

Philharmonic officials have crossed a finish line as well. They just wrapped up negotiations with musicians in the orchestra, who signed a new, five-year contract to keep making music in Erie.

"They don't get much better," said Howard Joint, Erie resident. "I try to attend as many shows as I can, and I'm never disappointed. We're really fortunate to have the Philharmonic here in Erie."

"We understand first hand how important the musicians are to the Philharmonic," said Steve Weiser, executive director of the Erie Philharmonic. "Without the musicians, we don't have an orchestra, and that mutual respect back and forth I think is key to making this relationship work so well."

This was the second year Beat Beethoven included local vendors and food trucks in Perry Square.