O’Kramer for a Day

I’ve always been a fan of St. Patty’s Day.

Back in the day it was all about drinking…..I would hit up every St. Patty’s parade, spend the day at the bar enjoying green beer, and acted like a complete foolish leprechaun. I’m not Irish….not one bit….but I was on March 17th!

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The Old St Patty’s Day Katie

These days St. Patty’s Day is totally different, and I couldn’t be happier! The holiday for me is all about one big event that I am in charge of, the Shamrock 5k and 15k race, which is put on by my running club, Summit Athletic Running Club. I still get to rock green and put an “O” before my last name so others think I have a little Irish in my blood….so I am a happy camper.

This year the race was a little bit earlier in the month of March and took place this past weekend. Thank heavens! Originally it was scheduled to take place when I was scheduled to be in Jamaica, so I was happy we could move the date around and I could be there.

I’ve talked about my running club before, and I can guarantee I will talk about it again. It is a club that I am very proud to be a part of, not only as a runner, but as their Membership Director. Of course I think everyone should join us! We are fabulous! If you ever want to come to a meeting, let me know….I’d love for you to be my guest! (P.S. We serve pizza at the meetings…..we all know how I feel about that).

The Shamrock 5k and 15k is a race that has a very special place in my heart, so I was thrilled when I was asked to take over it prior to it taking place last year. Back in January 2013 I attended my very first SARC meeting, attending with major nerves since I knew absolutely no one and did not know what to expect from the club. All I knew is that I was relatively new to the area and wanted to find some people who shared my love of running. I also had a very lofty goal that year to run 31 races (you can read about that here ), and I was hell bent on achieving it.

The very first race I ran that year was the Shamrock 5k and 15k. Not only was it my first race of the year, but my first race as a SARC member and my first SARC race. Of course I rocked a tiny hat and some green! Since I was just returning to the world of running, I knew that I would be slow and was worried about the cold weather, and I was happy when one of my BFFs, Whitney, agreed to run with me. Fortunately for us, my two biggest cheerleaders, my mom and dad, drove up to brave the cold and support us, even making signs. It meant the world to me.

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During my red hair days

Fast forward to this year, which was my first year running the race completely by myself (Last year I Co-Directed with a fellow SARC member who was retiring, which helped me get my feet wet with directing a running event.) I had a lot of emotions with the race this year, mostly because I knew my dad would not be there physically to support me. Anything involving running gets me emotional…that was our thing. He is so missed.

Race directing is so much more involved than a lot of people think. Last week I felt like I was living, breathing, and eating Shamrock, and my friends and family can attest to that….I was MIA! Following up on permits, police officers, porta potties, food sponsorship, bobble heads for the award winners, volunteers…….there is a lot involved to make sure the day goes off without a hitch!

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Our bagpiper was phenomenal!

I decided to bypass my complete leprechaun costume this year (yes, I have one) to pay homage to my original Shamrock getup, a tiny hat and faux leprechaun tuxedo. Something about doing so just made me feel a little bit better, which may sound a little weird, but it’s true. I found an amazing faux leprechaun tuxedo that was perfect for the day….several people actually thought it was a real tuxedo! I also contacted my favorite hat maker, ChikiBird, who has made several custom hats for me in the past, and purchased a special little St. Patty’s Day leprechaun hat. Look how cute it was……..

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Our crowd this year was awesome! We had 665+ runners join us at Woodridge High School in Cuyahoga Falls to run the 5k or 15k, and I’d like to give a shout out to the weather for being so kind to us….it was perfect running weather! I couldn’t have been happier with how the event with, and I think everyone had a great time! I was super proud of Whitney for running her first 5k since having Baby L….she did great!

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Whit and I before the race

These events could not be the success they are without the many amazing volunteers who help behind the scenes. Many were up before the sun came up to help get things set up on the course, and some were with me until the very end of the day, which was about 5pm…..a long, long, long day. I had two very special volunteers assist me this year….my mother in law, Diane, and my incredible mother, Sherrin. It was wonderful having them both there to see the behind the scenes activity, and I was so happy my mom could be with me to help me if I had an emotional moment or struggled.

Thank you to everyone who ran, volunteered, donated and supported not only me in this event, but SARC. Your kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm for running is so greatly appreciated! I have to give a special shout out to Earthfare, who donated food for the event (and happens to be one of my go-to favorite grocery stores), Eat N Park…who provided their signature Shamrock cookies and coupons for the runners, Acme Fresh Market, who hooked us up with water for the runners, Giant Eagle for the bananas, Winking Lizard for their delicious soup, and Bumble Bar, who provided their gluten free bars for those who aren’t fans of the gluten. Our event couldn’t have been possible without you!

I know my dad was with us in spirit Sunday….. I like thinking that….it definitely helps me get though the difficult moments. Dad, I hope you had fun cracking jokes about my outfit….because I know you had them.

Mark your calendars now….next March you have a date with me to run the Shamrock 5k and 15k!

I’m off to get ready for Jamaica! Keep sparkling, my friends.

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Yes, I’m just really tall. 

 

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