The 42nd annual Shamrock Run us upon us. That means that thousands of runners will be taking to the streets, running in some of their finest athletic attire (as you can plainly see). This Buffalo-esque run is not only a celebration of Irish culture, it also marks that spring is upon us. It’s time to shed layers, toast to the warm weather ahead, and… run!
“It’s exciting to see the neighborhood swell each March as people from across WNY come here to celebrate Irish culture,” said Patrick Gormley, Executive Director Old First Ward Community Association – the organization that puts on the run. “Events like the Shamrock Run are important to showcasing our community and the work we do to better the neighborhood; it’s opening our world to everyone else for a day. Whether I am at the grocery store down the street or passing through an airport 1000 miles away, it’s exciting to see the iconic embroidery of the Shamrock Run on someone’s shirt or jacket. It’s humbling to know that this event reaches so far beyond our modest community.”
- The 8k road race leads runners through the OFW and Larkin neighborhoods and has always been a showcase of Buffalo’s industrial past and how it shaped the OFW Neighborhood.
- The course is certified through USA Track & Field and attracts dozens of competitive runners. For the overwhelming majority, though, it’s about a fun race with an iconic jacket and a raucous beer tent at the finish line.
- The run averages about 4,700 a year. A big year would be just over 5,000 runners. Last year we were hit with snow on race day and only had 4,400. This year will be right around the 4,700 mark, or slightly over.
- The first Run in 1978 had about 200 registered runners. The cost was $2 a person.
- The 2020 Run is presented by Labatt Blue Citra. Labatt USA has been a tremendous supporter to the OFW Center throughout the year. Not hyperbole, Labatt has really made a concerted effort to assist agencies like ours with additional resources that go beyond just funding.
- The funds generated from this event are what keeps the OFW Community Center open. We currently have a free after school program, a daytime senior program, a housing assistance office, food pantry, gymnasium and weight room, and operate a community garden here in the neighborhood.
As for this year’s presenting sponsor – Labatt Blue Citra – Labatt USA moved its headquarters to the Cobblestone District in September 2018. Now the brewery is:
- Sponsoring the Shamrock Run for the first time;
- Investing in the St. Patrick’s Day Old Neighborhood parade for the second year;
- Providing micro grants to the Valley Community Association and Old First Ward Community Center;
- And volunteering on various projects.
“It’s important to us to be involved with our community. We focus on making the most impact by investing both our time and money to help the area at a grassroots level. We can roll up our sleeves and assist in projects that are meaningful to residents. And we can provide small grants to help with funding needs,” said Mary Beth Popp, vice president of Labatt corporate relations. “Whenever we can, we want our employees building relationships and pitching in. This is our hometown and the community we love.”
Blue Citra, a beer that was concepted at the Labatt Brew House innovation brewery just a mile away, will be showcased at a premier event in the neighborhood.
The Shamrock Run is open to runners of all ages and abilities. It’s a great way to get to know the lay of the land, meet other runners, party, dress up, get healthy, get outdoors, and celebrate the coming of spring.
The 42nd Annual Shamrock Run
Saturday, March 7, 2020
9 AM – 3 PM
9:00am – OFW Community Center Opens, Registration & Packet Pick Up begins
11:40am – Honorees & Pre-Run Announcements
**12:00pm – Race begins from Louisiana & O’Connell St**
1:30pm – Awards Ceremony begins in OFWCC Gymnasium