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Leprechaun Chase 10K Run


The Leprechaun Chase 10K Run will debut in Iowa in Des Moines on Saturday, March 16 at 9 a.m. and will end just before noon with a toast at the finish line.

The Leprechaun Chase 10K Run will debut in Iowa in Des Moines on Saturday, March 16 at 9 a.m. and will end just before noon with a toast at the finish line.

Waking up for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations might be a little different this year. Most notably, Des Moines will be toasting the holiday the Saturday before, on March 16, with its usual downtown festivities and parade. After loading up on the traditional Irish breakfast of bacon rashers, fried eggs, sausages, white and black pudding, toast and a fried tomato, why not try to get a little exercise in before the day becomes little more than a green haze?

The Leprechaun Chase 10K is a St. Patty’s Day run with a slight twist. Remember playing Boys Chase Girls at recess in elementary school? Well, that’s almost how it works. Starting in the first wave — the “runners’ wave” — the ladies will get a 5.5-minute head start before the guys’ “chaser wave” begins. The lasses and lads run through a varied 10K course that starts and finishes at Principal Park. The scenic course will traverse roads, trails and bridges as well as taking in a loop around Gray’s Lake. The race will be chip timed. Miles will be marked, and there will be two water stations.

If you don’t fancy yourself the running type, that’s OK. Come out and enjoy the party. Spectators are encouraged to cheer on friends, family and complete strangers in the spirit of Irish pride. Bring cowbells, air horns and other noise-makers and let the brave runners know the celebration that awaits them at the finish line. There will be a few places marked off for spectators: the starting and finishing line at Principal Park, along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Gray’s Lake.

For those who may look at this event and the idea of a cavalcade of laddies barreling after the lassies as a little strange, there is some reasoning behind it. According to the Leprechaun Chase 10K website, “Based upon several 10Ks, it is a time that will allow both lads and lasses to be competitive.” This is the first time this event has been held in Des Moines, but according to the records from Nebraska events, the lassies have won the last two out of three races. Can the ladies of Des Moines add another talley to the wins column?


How exactly do you win? Well, if you happen to be the first person across the finish line, that’s a pretty clear sign you’ve won. There will be prizes awarded to individuals — $100 cash for the overall winner — but it is really about the battle of the sexes. If a lassie wins, then she will claim victory for every woman, and they all shall share the spoils of a green beer after completing the race. If a lad wins, the men will claim the green beer. As of Jan. 30, there were 80 men registered and 227 women, and at the time of this writing the event was at 90 percent capacity.

St. Patty’s Day will be an all-day event for many Des Moinesians. Instead of making your first stop at a pub, why not get out and make some new friends, and start a new tradition at the Leprechaun Chase 10K? You don’t have to be the fastest; just make sure you’re grinning in green. CV

Start time is 9 a.m. for the lasses; 9:05:30 for the lads. This event is nearly booked, so if you’re interested, get registered online before March 15. The cost is $40. Packet pick-up will be available on race day at Principal Park through Gate A. However, it is strongly encouraged that you pick it up in advance. After all, why stand in line when you could be showing off your Irish céilí dance moves? Race day packet pick-up begins at 7 a.m. Arrive at least one hour early to pick up packets on race day. Come decked out in your finest greens.

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