Kingston’s Shamrock runners attempt Guinness World Record for largest kilt race

shamrock-@What is flat, fast and always first-class? The annual Shamrock Run, a two-mile “fun run” through Kingston, will once again usher in spring (we hope) on Sunday, March 15. Set to start at exactly 12:50 p.m. at Academy Green, across from the Governor Clinton Apartments on Albany Avenue, runners will hoof it down Broadway and into the Rondout District. There, at the Rondout Neighborhood Center, the traditional Post-Race Party will welcome them with shamrock cookies, green bagels and beverages (ID required).

As always, runners will not be timed, and all participants will be entered into a drawing to win the Grand Prize of two round-trip tickets to Ireland or a second-place prize of a one-year membership to Mac Fitness. (Wishful participants must have a race number and be present to win.) Also, a trophy will be presented to the school with the largest number of preregistered entrants in the Run.

This year, the Run is being held, rain or shine, in memory of Tom Casey, and part of the proceeds will go to benefit the Caring Hands Soup Kitchen. Race organizers hope to make a big donation to keep this vital charity going. In conjunction with the Ulster County Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), Team Ireland, a committee of the Irish Cultural Center of the Hudson Valley, has also posed a new challenge for the community: that of surpassing the Guinness World Record for the largest kilt race! To date, this illustrious record is held by the Perth Running Goats Club of Ontario, Canada, boasting a whopping total of 1,764 kilt-wearing runners in one race.

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Just picture that: thousands of bobbing knees under kilts swinging in the breeze, as the brave wearers trot down Broadway. With a goal of registering at least 5,000 runners, Team Ireland is sure that a couple of thousand of them will be willing to don official Guinness Record-approved kilts, available for purchase on the Run’s website for $30. These lightweight running kilts come in a variety of styles for both men and women. Imagine blue-faced Highlanders valiantly defending their independence from the UK; then think of winning the honor of a Guinness World Record for Ulster County! The glory of it is almost palpable.

So, who’s in? Kilted or not, participants can register to run for $15 before March 1 and $25 after that date. A long-sleeved tee-shirt will be given to the first 3,000 entrants, which can be picked up on Saturday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the foot of Broadway along the Rondout Creek. Race Day check-in and registration take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Governor Clinton Apartments.

Started in 1988, the Shamrock Run has always preceded Kingston’s AOH-co-sponsored St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is now celebrating its 28th year with Kieran Devlin as Grand Marshal, Beth Hanigan as Mayor of the Day, Claire Hannah Ryan as Irish Princess and Evan Jackson as the Bearer of St. Patrick. Touted to be the biggest parade of its kind from here to New York City, it gathers at Kingston Plaza in Uptown and steps off at 1 p.m. to follow the runners to the Rondout.

AOH Halls across the US work to contribute to their local communities through charitable donations and services. They also serve to welcome and support new immigrants, and to foster and preserve Irish culture for immigrant descendents. It is a mission well-realized, as on St. Paddy’s Day, everyone is a bit Irish.

 

Shamrock Run 2015, Sunday, March 15, 12:50 p.m., Academy Green, Albany Avenue, Kingston; https://shamrockrun.org/index.html.

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