Best Way to Kick Off Race Season: Under Armour Kelly Benefits St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K!

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

By: Billy Ornold, Senior Events Coordinator

Running and racing are very seasonal. While you may run a race or two during the cold winter months or during the dog days of summer, most racing (at least here in the Mid-Atlantic) takes place in the Spring and Fall. I love the seasonal aspect, and here at Charm City Run Events, it keeps our job interesting as our focus shifts during the “off season”.

While we may not be out every weekend, we are certainly not slow since much of the preparation for the upcoming races takes place during this time. Side note: I actually do most of my racing during the off months as those are the only times I am not working races.

For Charm City Run Events, the festivities begin with the arrival of March and the Under Armour Kelly Benefits St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K. I can’t imagine any better way to kick off the racing season than with the first race of the B3 Distance Series. The Shamrock 5K is one of the most celebrated annual Baltimore City events with support from thousands of city residents who, despite road closures and other logistic challenges, not only accept it, but embrace it!  This can be seen by the large crowds that show up to cheer participants and celebrate Irish heritage. Shamrock is an absolute blast for everyone involved and having the ability to hold the race in person after two years of virtual events adds to the excitement. It’s the precursor to the warmer days of Spring around the corner and a calendar of amazing running Events. 

Let’s talk about what it takes to put on the Shamrock 5K each year. We coordinate with multiple city departments and agencies months in advance, including police, Department of Transportation (DOT), city permitting and traffic control to safely shut down over 30 major city intersections. Over 100 city personnel, 90 volunteers and 20 Charm City Run employees ensure that participants safely make their way from start to finish, receive their race materials, and have a great time before, during, and after the race. A few Shamrock 5K stats:

  • 21 hours of Packet Pickups to pass out approximately 5,000 race packets

  • 40 port a pots

  • 6,000-ish beers

  • 6,000 bottles of water at the finish line

  • 125 gallons of water on the course.

I have been behind the scenes on race day for 10 years now. I cannot even begin to describe the amazing feeling I get seeing 5,000 Shamrock themed runners heading down Charles Street. I seem to get a different view every year. I have zoomed down Charles Street in a lead vehicle escorted by motorcycle police. I have directed runners into their proper starting corrals. I have manned the timing equipment, double checking that everything is good to go. No matter what I am doing that Sea of Green, and the energy that comes along with it, always takes my breath away.

THE RACE: The course is fast! Downhill and then around the Inner Harbor to finish at Power Plant Live! Many runners sport PR’s from the Shamrock 5K. I am a bit jealous that I have never been able to run the race, but the sacrifice (not sure I even would call it a sacrifice) is worth it to see the smiling faces crossing the finish line and receiving Finisher’s medals.

THE PARTY: There is nothing quite like Shamrock 5K’s After Party. After re-fueling on a variety of popular post-race snacks including chips, bananas, pretzels, and granola bars, the party continues with a live band on the main stage, complemented by local fare at restaurants and bars that open early to join in the fun. For racers 21 and over, don’t forget the FREE BEER!  Finally, to end the morning, an Award Ceremony to acknowledge those speedy runners. The St. Patrick’s Day spirit is in full view and the party really doesn’t stop there. It’s a full day celebration with family and friends making memories. 

When all is said and done, I am usually exhausted, but in a good way. I realize that this is why I do what I do. I love what I do and I am so lucky to work for Charm City Run Events. It truly is rewarding to bring happiness to people and to see people reach their goals whatever that may be. In 2022, I’ll be there and I hope you will join me!


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

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