You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I’m about as Irish as they come. For whatever reason, my sister got the red hair, then I gave up my maiden name, and unless you are my husband, my “Irish temper” stays under wraps the majority of the time. However, whene March 17 rolls around, I take that time to embrace my lineage that makes me who I am. It used to only mean wearing green. Then I became a runner and the day took on a whole new celebration. Now, most of my celebrations include a race and some of the best food the world has to offer!
There are fun runs, shorter races, long miles, and everything in between when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day race options. Some are clever and offer a 17K or Lucky 7K. Many others like The Leprechaun Lope in Salt Lake City, Utah offer some seriously silly awards for best Irish costume or fastest centipede, which is four runners linked together by a common costume. Not to mention the various distances from 2 mile to 10K have hidden leprechauns along the course for you to spot.
Another common theme among St. Pat’s races is green drinks. In most cases, runners that are of age will be offered green beer to recover with and to celebrate their finish. Some races take this tradition to a whole other level. The Shamrock Shuffle in Harmony, Pennsylvania has found a way to make a race into a party. The half marathon course has a massive hill to climb about six miles in and once the runners get to the top they’re offered keg-stands and jello shots to carry them home to the finish. Very non-traditional in the running world, but it seems appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day.
Another event that has found a really creative way to bring Ireland to the racecourse is Color Ye Irish 5K in Temecula, California. Runners will be splashed with the colors of the Irish flag (orange, green, white) as they cover the 3.1 mile course. This sounds like a great event for the whole family.
On the other side of the country, runners can join in a long-standing tradition. Philadelphia will be hosting the 28th annual Leprechaun Run, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. The five mile course offers an incredible view as runners race through the Navy Yard.
If runners are really fast and savvy, they can finish the Philly Leprechaun Run and then head over for a running tour of the city in the Running the Yards 5K Beer Run. The local running tour company and brewery have designed a way for runners to get a run with their St. Pat’s beer. The tour hits hot spots such as the Liberty Bell, Colonial Philadelphia, the Delaware River, and even Benjamin Franklin’s grave site. After the run, the drink of the day, beer, will be offered at Yards Brewery.
Some of the best runs in the country are held on or in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. I run them to enjoy my corned beef and cabbage or my beloved Irish Stew. Most races host an after party, as it wouldn’t be St. Pat’s without some camaraderie and celebration.
Pull out your green racing singlets, carb up with a Shepherd’s Pie, load The Dropkick Murphys on your MP3 player, and give a run a go this St. Patrick’s Day.