Race Report: 100% Irish For A Day 10-Miler
In America, everyone becomes Irish on March 17th. The irony of that in the context of our nation’s history is not the topic of this post. However, I truly am 50% Irish, and love this time of year. Aside from the excuse to eat delicious food and drink delicious beer, it also seems to mark the start of the race season in the Midwest. The weather is finally nice enough and organizers can convince enough people to come out to run and enjoy the weather and the road.
I’ve been running outside all winter with some wonderful intrepid friends who continue to brave the winds and cold of Iowa so this race ended up being quite the change. We were on our way out East for vacation and flying out of Minneapolis, which just happens to be one of my favorite places to run. As luck would have it, the 100% Irish For A Day 10-Miler was scheduled for Saturday with a fantastic route around the Minneapolis lakes. Needless to say, it was a perfect first race of the season for me!
I needed 3 hours of running (for my previously mentioned ultra-marathon), and our hotel was only 4.5 miles away from the start of the race, so I decided to run to the starting line, which turned out to be a great choice. It was already 45 degrees and sunny when I walked outside, and the quiet city streets of downtown Minneapolis made for a wonderful warmup run. I arrived early at the start, and the festivities at the Lake Harriet Bandshell were well under way. They had hot cider, water, and fire pits to greet runners and guests prior to the start, and the energy of excitement was in the air. Minneapolis has a fantastic and committed running community, and it was wonderful to see such a wonderful turnout for the race. By the time the gun went off and I crossed the timing pad, I had already logged 7 miles, and my legs felt great.
The route took us around the lakes on closed off roads, with water/gatorade stops @ miles 3.5 and 7. The volunteers along the way were energetic and encouraging, and the crowd of runners spread out nicely as the race progressed. The route wasn’t overly hilly, but still provided a nice challenge at times. As has been the case in Iowa, the winter in Minnesota has been unseasonably warm, so there was no snow to speak of along the route, and the roads were uncharacteristically free of potholes (give the weather time!).
I ended up finishing right around 1:30 as the announcer called out my name as I crossed the finish line (thanks to a timing pad a few hundred feet before the finish tagging my chip), and I headed back for some snacks and water. Now, it was an Irish race, and would not have been complete without a cold pint. Finnegan’s Irish Ale was there to help! Any race that ends with free beer is a good race in my estimation! The race was USATF-certified, and they had each mile marked, as well as several timing clocks.
As I headed back to the hotel to shower, and head to the airport, the sun shining on my face and sweat building up, I was fully content with a great start to the race season. If this race is any indication, it’s going to be a great year!