The St. Patrick’s Day races began this past weekend and what better way to kick off the green-clad madness than the with the Leprechaun Leap 5K/8K Run/Walk in Lincoln Park. The race, previously known as the St. Paddy’s Day 5k/8k, is in its 15th year in Chicago and benefits the Greater Chicago Food Depository. With the option of a 5K or an 8K, you can make it a fun run/walk or add it to your Saturday morning marathon training.
Beginning at Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive, the race stepped off at 9:30 a.m. with approximately 700 race participants ready to take on the cloudy and breezy course. The start line was a sea of emerald runners, joined by all the eclectic green costumes, sunglasses and wigs you can imagine. Even the race shirt, given to all participants, was a bright green long sleeve with the race logo. After some words of encouragement from the gentleman on the microphone, it was time to run, with 8K runners heading out before 5K participants. Each run headed northbound by Diversey Harbor and continued under the viaduct at Barry Avenue. From there, the 5K runners turned south, while the 8K runners went north on the Lakefront Trail. Plenty of volunteers helped, handing out water at mile markers. As the runners came in to the finish line, spectators cheered and almost every runner received a shout out.
Runners could choose from bananas, KIND bars, protein shakes and water at the post-race table. The post-race event had people shamrockin’ away with their free beer and music by 101.9, with 104.3, David’s Tea, Sam Adams and the Chicago Food Depository on hand as well. Whether it was the beer ticket or those post-race endorphins that brought the smiles of joy, this was definitely a great way to kick of spring races.
Ashley Nolan is a Chicago Athlete Magazine ambassador. To read more of her athletic adventures, visit ashleymarienolan.com.