The St. Patrick’s Day celebrations began this past weekend and what better way to kick off than with some green-clad madness at The Leprechaun Leap 5k/8k Run/Walk in Lincoln Park.  

This race is in it’s 16th year in Chicago and benefits the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Beginning at Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive (right across from the Peggy Notebaert Museum), the race began at 9:30 a.m. The start of the Leprechaun Leap always brings the excitement; at the gear check, there are plenty of sponsors, like David’s Tea, and entertainment to keep your mind off the cold, bone chilling wind.

As the race got underway this past Saturday morning, approximately 500 race participants were ready to take on the windy, but blue sky, sunny day.  The start line was a sea of emerald runners, joined by all the eclectic green costumes, sunglasses and wigs you can imagine.

The 8k began just ahead of the 5k.  Each run takes you northbound on the trail, past Diversey Harbor and continues under the viaduct at Barry Avenue. From there, the 5k runners head south, while the 8k runners head north on the Lakefront Path.

Plenty of volunteers helped to hand out water and direct you on the path at each mile marker. Scenic views of Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park, fill the 5k and 8k course; each race is an out and back. As an 8k runner heading north, we quickly felt the ice cold wind whipping furiously on our cheeks. At the 2.5 mile mark, we were met by orange cones at the turnaround. Heading south now, it was gloriously sunny and we quickly warmed back up.

One of the benefits of being on the Lakefront Path is having the option to run on the pavement or the gravel trail to the right, which is always a little nicer on the knees. As the race came to an end and we made our way back under the viaduct at Barry, soon passing Diversey Harbor, spectators cheered and encouraged all the participants as they crossed the finish.

Just passed the finish shoot, we had the choice of water, bananas and KIND bars at the post race table. And, you couldn’t miss the convenience of the finisher tickets at the at the end of the line — here you could punch in your number and immediately receive all the results from your race. Back at the registration area, sponsors (including Illinois Lottery, Road Runner Sports, Chiro One Wellness Centers, Sam Adams, Bai Brands and Krave Jerky) continued to hand out post race goodies.

The post race excitement didn’t end there! All participants were invited to Select Steak House off Halsted for a post-run celebration party — afterall, you can’t complete a St. Patrick’s Day run without that free beer ticket cashed in. Participants also had the option of purchasing a traditional Irish plate of corned beef and cabbage; a wonderful way to cap off a nice race in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day!

5K Race Results:

Overall Female 5K Results:

  1. Kati Petry, 21:00
  2. Nataly Medina, 22:27
  3. Jessica Bene, 23:50

Overall Male 5K Results:

  1. Thomas Talhelm, 18:43
  2. David Yonamine, 18:52
  3. Clinton Piper, 19:00

8K Race Results:

Overall Female 8K Results:

  1. Kristen Kelpsch, 32:41
  2. Kelly Johnson, 33:12
  3. Kelly Walsh, 34:44

Overall Male 8K Results:

  1. Jeff Hojnacki, 27:46
  2. Jack Siragusa, 30:02
  3. Maxim Novitsky, 31:04


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