By KAITLYN NAPLES
Runners and walkers are gearing up for the 11th annual Shamrock Run and Walk next weekend, which is a fundraiser for three causes this year.
For the last 11 years, the run has donated over $100,000 to the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Patrick Collins, event director, said. St. Vincent DePaul is a non-profit organization that provides shelter, food, counseling and referral services for men and women in the community. It operates a 25-bed homeless shelter, a 10-family Women with Children Transitional Center, and a 13-unit transitional living center for single men. Last year, the Shamrock Run and Walk had about 2,200 participants, Collins said, and donated $13,000 to St. Vincent DePaul.
This year’s event also will be supporting The Cove, a non-profit organization for children and families that are grieving, and also The Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization that was initiated after the shooting in Newtown in December with the mission to promote dialogue on areas like gun responsibility, mental health and school safety.
Collins said the Shamrock Run and Walk has turned into a family and friend event, and has brought out many spectators over the years as well.
“Every year, we continue to grow,” in regards to both sponsors and participants, Collins said. This year, the primary sponsor of the event is Bristol Hospital, which Collins said is the “ideal group to be aligned with” for the event.
The Shamrock Run and Walk will be held on March 23, and includes a five- and two-mile race, a two-mile fitness walk and a Kids Fun Run.
This year’s Honorary Chair is Ron Burns, director of Outreach Services at the Bristol Boys and Girls Club and Family Center. Burns, according to the Shamrock Run’s magazine, has made a positive impact on the community in many ways, in addition to his efforts at the boys and girls club.
The day before the race on March 22, there will be a pasta dinner at St. Gregory’s CCD Center, 1043 Stafford Ave., from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are sold at the door and at $8 per adult; $6 for children ages 6 to 12; and children under the age of 5 eat for free. Packet pick-up and registration can occur during this time as well.
Participants are encouraged to register for the race by March 17, however registration goes until the day of the race, and will begin at 7 a.m. on March 23 at Chippens Hill Middle School, 551 Peacedale St.
Registration is $22 for the two- and five-mile run, and the two-mile walk, and registration for the children’s fun run is $5. The fee changes to $25 after March 17. There are free t-shirts for the first 3,000 pre-registered participants.
The Shamrock Run and Walk has also partnered up again this year with Soles4Souls, a nonprofit organization that collects shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and people. Participants are encouraged to bring old running shoes to the race to donate.
“Soles4Souls distributes these shoes, free of charge to people in need around the world. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 7 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes,” the Shamrock Run and Walk website said. “The shoes have been distributed in 125 countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and the Unites States.”
During the month of March, anyone can also drop off “gently worn” footwear at Oscars Formal Wear, 123 Farmington Ave.
For more information on the race regarding start times, parking and more, visit www. ctshamrockrun.com.