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Participants get their Irish up at St. Patrick's Day 5K

March 12, 2011|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alician@herald-mail.com
  • The starting line of the the Washington County Recreation Department's St. Patrick's Day 5K Run/Walk at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park in Halfway.
By Chris Tilley, Staff Photographer

HALFWAY — It was a 5K run/walk with a decidedly Irish twist.

A leprechaun appeared from time to time Saturday morning as runners made their way across the grassy hills in the bright morning sun. Clad in a bright green derby, breeches and stockings, the bearded sprite bid runners well and cheered them along the course.

His spirited spurring seemed to amuse most of the roughly 200 participants in the Washington County Recreation Department's St. Patrick's Day 5K Run/Walk at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park in Halfway.

Recreation Director Jaime Dick said the 5K was "as much a community event as a race."

"There are a lot of nontraditional runners and walkers here who have never done something like this before," Dick said. "A lot of people said they are Irish and St. Patrick's Day is their favorite holiday. They thought it would be a fun thing to do. Everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day."

The first 200 participants received green T-shirts. Some sported whimsical apparel like shamrock socks or green headbands. When runners and walkers crossed the finish line, recreation department workers placed green metallic shamrock beads around their necks.

"It was like the St. Patrick's Day version of the runner's medal," Dick said.

The Erbs — John, 35, and Jennifer, 41 — of Fairplay said they are serious runners who enjoyed the holiday twist on the race.

"I like that it was a St. Patrick's Day event. It was a fun race coming out of winter, heading into spring," Jennifer Erb said.

Ann Rotz, 33, of Hagerstown, said the 5K was her first run. A number of friends joined her, each of them wearing festive green garb.

"We thought since it was a St. Patrick's Day theme, we'd make it fun with the green socks, shirts, headbands," Rotz said.

Rotz said she was "very happy" with her finish time of about 30 minutes.

Evan Hardy, 17, of Williamsport, took first place in the race. He ran with a group of friends from his Williamsport Area High School cross country team. He was nonchalant about his win, saying his time was "17 something."

Seasoned runner George Michael, 65, of Williamsport, said he was happy to get off the treadmill and get outdoors to run and finish with a "pretty decent" time of 27 minutes, 30 seconds. He recruited his son, Daniel Michael, 23, also of Williamsport, to run along with him.

"The treadmill gets tiresome," George Michael said. "This is a good sunny day, the weather is cool. It's a great way to start the (racing) year."

Daniel Michael said the event was his first race.

"I got across the finish line and I didn't have to crawl in," he said. "I'm happy."

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