By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Whether snow piles still linger on the ground or Mother Nature brings a few raindrops, more people seem to come out every March to the Shamrock Run & Walk.
When the run kicked off for the first time in 2003, event organizer Patrick Collins said the event committee was thrilled to see 150 to 175 participants. Since then, the participation level has grown—despite what the weather has in store.
“We get a little over 1,300 walkers and runners, but when you couple the volunteers and spectators, we usually have about 1,500 people at the event,” said Collins, adding how community sponsors also have embraced the tradition. “It’s such a high-spirited, fun community event.”
The 15th Annual Shamrock Run & Walk will kick off on Saturday, March 18, 9:15 a.m. at Chippens Hill Middle School. From the five-mile and two-mile run to the two-mile fitness walk to the Kids Fun Run, the event features festivities for the whole family. Participants are welcome to come decked out in St. Patrick’s Day attire and green shirts, as they walk or run the course that will feature traditional Irish music. When they make it to the finish line, participants can take part in the event’s Irish-themed “after party,” which will include hot dogs, fruit, and more.
“It has become such a family tradition, people recognize the third Saturday of March as the Shamrock Run,” said Collins.
Proceeds from both the run and the pasta dinner support St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Bristol. The run also will benefit The Cove, a non-profit organization for children and families who are grieving.
After the Shamrock Run last year, the event committee presented a $14,000 check to the shelter.
Since its inception, the race has raised over $160,000 for St. Vincent DePaul.
“It’s a great organization that strives very hard to do the right thing for those less fortunate,” said Collins.
The Shamrock Run and Walk takes place on Saturday, March 18 at Chippens Hill Middle School, 551 Peacedale St., Bristol. The event includes a five- and two-mile race, a two-mile fitness walk, and a Kids Fun Run. Registration is available online until the day of the race. Registration is $22 for the two and five-mile run and for the two-mile walk. After March 11, registration is $25.
The registration fee for the Kids Fun Run is $5.
A day before the race (Friday, March 17), an “All You Can Eat” pasta dinner sponsored by Emily’s Catering Group will take place from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at St. Gregory Church’s CCD Center, 1043 Stafford Ave., Bristol. Registration will take place there, and registered participants can pick up their packets at that time. Tickets are sold at the door, and cost $8 for adults and $6 for children. Admission is free for children age five and under.
For more information or to register for the race, visit bristolct.net/roadraces/ShamrockRun.aspx.