By KAITLYN NAPLES
There might still be some snow on the ground but that is not expected to hinder the 2,200 to 2,600 runners and walkers who are expected to participate in the 12th annual Shamrock Run and Walk on Saturday, March 22.
The annual event has been a fun and safe community event while benefitting local charities, primarily the St. Vincent DePaul Mission.
“Since early on, the primary purpose of the run was to put on a great community event,” not necessarily make a ton of money, said Patrick Collins, event director. He said due to all of the work the mission does for the community, Collins said the organizers of the Shamrock Run and Walk decided it was an ideal place to donate.
“They do great work and they’re always so appreciative,” Collins said, adding that over the last 12 years the run has generated over $120,000 to be donated to St. Vincent DePaul Mission. The mission is a non-profit organization that provides shelter, food, counseling and referral services for men and women in the community. Also this year, the event will be making a $1,000 contribution to The Cove, a non-profit organization for children and families who are grieving.
The primary sponsor this year is Bristol Hospital, which Collins said is a great fit with the event. This year’s Honorary Chair Group is Bristol CERT (Bristol Community Emergency Response Team).
“They (CERT) are such a big contributor to the local community and help put together local events like ours,” Collins said. “They are a very unselfish group and are always giving back to the community.”
Even though there has been several inches of snow on the ground, Collins said he expects thawing to have begun over the past weekend, and added that the city’s Parks and Public Works departments have been helpful in clearing side streets so that they are safe for the runners and walkers.
The Shamrock Run and Walk kicks off at Chippens Hill Middle School, 551 Peacedale St., and includes a five- and two-mile race, a two-mile fitness walk, and a Kids Fun Run. Participants are encouraged to register for the race by March 17. However, registration goes until the day of the race. 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 15. There are free t-shirts for the first 3,000 pre-registered participants up until March 17.
The day before the race on Friday, March 21 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 are free. Packet pick-up and registration can occur during this time as well. The pasta dinner is prepared by Emily’s Catering and tickets are sold at the door.
The Shamrock Run and Walk also has 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 gently used footwear 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 Run and Walk will also benefit local charitable organizations with smaller contributions.
The event, Collins said, brings out participants from many Connecticut towns, as well as individuals from other surrounding states. He said participants enjoy the route of the event, and added last year’s oldest runner was a 77-year-old woman who has signed up already for this year’s event.
For more information visit www.ctshamrock run.com.