A New Type of St. Patrick’s Day Parade – The Races

By Brenna Kehew Sculley

by ELYSIAN Magazine

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, many women are looking for a different form of exercise than hoisting a green beer. Celebrating Irish pride is always a lot of fun. From shamrock shakes to bagpipes, step dancing to corned beef and cabbage, Irish heritage runs strong across America.

These days, though, any holiday is an excuse for a 5K or race, and families and fitness-minded individuals everywhere are loving the opportunity to celebrate in a heathy way. According to a 2020 report from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, about 50 million Americans (or 15 percent of the U.S. population) participate in some form of running or jogging. While the number of race runners each year is not quite back up to the 1 million-plus pre-COVID numbers, hundreds and thousands of Americans are taking on the challenge. 

Since 1883, Chicago, Illinois, has celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a parade that now has more than 2 million spectators. For the more health conscious who still want to have fun on the day of the parade, there is a St. Paddy’s Day 5K. And for those who want to repeat the process, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, an 8K road race on March 26, is the best way to marry fun and wellness. 

Similarly, in Boston, another iconic location known for St. Patrick’s Day fun, you can run a 5K on parade day as part of a fundraiser for Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club’s youth development and teen programs. Of course, just a month later on April 17 is the iconic Boston Marathon for those even more dedicated to their running goals. 

Another particularly famous race in Massachusetts is the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Road Race. This race attracts 7,000-plus registered runners and has been a popular and fun event since 1976, and thousands more line the course on race day to watch.

Savannah, Georgia, also hosts an iconic St. Patrick’s Day Parade, with almost 400,000 yearly celebrators in attendance, and you can find a 5K there, too! Fundraising for the March of Dimes, the Shamrock Run is an event where costumes are encourages, and fun is sure to be had.

On the West Coast, San Francisco boasts the oldest and biggest parade west of the Mississippi. There you can also find a fun 5K to get in on the action. 

Racers are encouraged to wear green and get ready to enjoy a beautiful morning run, with hundreds of runners for the Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam St. Patrick’s Day Run. It takes place at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which is approximately 18 miles from Las Vegas and boasts amazing views as the largest manmade lake in the United States. During the race, runners will follow the Historic Railroad Trail, part of the Rail-to-Trails Conservancy and National Park. 

Portland, Oregon, hosts its own Shamrock Run, which includes a half marathon, 15K, 5K, and more. This big event showcases the best of downtown Portland and is celebrating 45 years running in 2023.

If you have a reason to celebrate, you can find a race anywhere. Where there is a will there is a way, and where there is a desire to run a race, there will be a 5K! Check out RunSignUp, a site that aggregates races sign up information from across the country, to find your St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

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