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Saturday, March 11, 2000 -- Philadelphia, PA
Leprechaun Run 5 Miler
Story and photos by Julie Bertsch

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]

Emerald Society Leprechaun Run
Irish eyes were smiling!
The nippy weather on Saturday, March 11th didn't scare over 350 runners away from racing for an important reason. The Emerald Society Leprechaun Run was held in the historic city of Philadelphia, PA as it has been for last 15 years. What made this race so special was not just the "Irish spirit" that could be seen everywhere, as green hats and shamrock shorts flocked to the registration table by the hundreds. This event's special purpose has always been to benefit the Special Olympics.

Dressed to the "hilt" in a green suit and leprechaun shoes, Jacky Warren got the runners in the St. Patty's Day spirit. "I'll be wearing a crushed velvet, green suit in the St. Patty's Day Parade and I'll have my pot O' gold." said Jacky with a big smile, "I can't wear the same suit twice!"

Emerald Society Leprechaun Run
The 5 mile race starts
Race Director, Kevin MacKenzie lined up "the troops." Not only did the Philadelphia Police Commissioner, John F. Timoney start the race, but he also ran in it along with many other Philadelphia Policemen. The course was run along the beautiful, Boat House Row paved trail. The 5 mile course was flat, fast, and out & back. Many of the participants were members of the local crew teams, and Philadelphia Universities as well.

The weather took a turn for the worse after the race was started, and some rain clouds began to roll in as the wind blew colder, and colder. One lone runner emerged, around the corner at full sprint in the last 1/2 mile. That runner was 20 year old, Dan Dix. Dix kept a fast pace to the very end to finish 1st overall with a time of 27:28.

Emerald Society Leprechaun Run
Suzanne Gaynor sprints hard to the finish line
A little more than a minute behind Dix was Joshua Finger (28:45), who took the 2nd place overall trophy home with his time. Thirty nine year old, Jim Miles, finished strong in 29 minutes flat to take 3rd.

In the women's race for 1st place Suzanne Gaynor, who used to race Nationals, picked up the pace to a high-stepping, fast sprint when she saw the finish line ahead. Gaynor's speed earned her the 1st place overall women's spot with a time of 32:43. "I'm still recovering from an injured achilles tendon." explained Gaynor, "I'm not happy with my time today." Despite the fact that this race was not Gaynor's personal best, her sprint to the finish on an injured tendon was more than impressive. Kathleen Ford (32:58), finished strong and took 2nd for the women. Debra Flanigan ran her own race for 3rd and finished with a time of 34:36.

Emerald Society Leprechaun Run
The 2 mile fun walk was a family affair
After the race was over the rain finally started to fall, but runners were prepared with umbrellas for the awards ceremony and post-race celebrations. Beautiful trophies and medals were awarded to the race winners, and sleek, long sleeve race shirts were available to everyone. The OutsideWV staff hopes to get back to the Philadelphia area for more exciting events! Check out our PA Run Schedule for more races in your area!
Special Thanks: To the Runner's Advocate for race results. To Race Director - Kevin Mackenzie, The Philadelphia Emerald Society, & race sponsors: Coors Brewing Comp., Hialeah Motel, Compass Motel, Bristol Motel, & Paddy's Pub for making this event an ongoing success.