Lucky Leprechaun Race to return to Utica in March

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby-Utica News | Published January 10, 2024

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UTICA — The Lucky Leprechaun Race will be returning to downtown Utica once again with a chance for people to check off a new year’s fitness goal that they might have set.

Rob Prough, the president of the Utica Lions Club, said the Lucky Leprechaun Race started in 2012 as a way to support the downtown businesses and raise funds for the Utica Lions.

“Due to COVID, we missed two years and last year we were able to bring the event back to downtown Utica. The event is held on the Saturday before St. Patty’s Day. This year it will be on March 16. The Utica Lions helps host this event by helping plan and get the volunteers to cover the streets during the run,” he said.

He said the event is for everyone from great runners to those who just want to walk a 5-kilometer route.

“The families and friends dress up and everyone has a great time. Last year there was a great DJ and we had people dancing in the streets. The event also helps charities like Leader Dogs for the Blind, Friends of Foster Kids and so much more,” said Prough.

The race will start at Shamrock Irish Pub in Utica, and the finish line and race day packet pickup will be at UAW Ford Local 2280, 45116 Cass Ave. in Utica.

Early packet pickup will be from noon to 7 p.m. March 15. Race day will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon March 16, and race day packet pickup will be from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

There will be a 5K run or walk, a “Green Mile” run or walk, and a virtual 5K or Green Mile run or walk.

After the race, there will be an awards presentation. Virtual runners will receive a shirt and a medal for completing the race, which will be mailed to runners. The prices for the 5K run or walk, the Green Mile run or walk and the virtual 5K or Green Mile are $30, $20 and $45, respectively. The prices for the 5K run or walk and the Green Mile run or walk will increase after Jan. 15.

There will be a costume contest at 10:15 a.m. on race day.

After starting at the Shamrock Irish Pub, runners will cross over the Clinton River, run past Jimmy John’s Field and make a left to cross over M-59 and onto Utica Road. Next, they will pass by St. Lawrence Parish before heading back toward downtown Utica. Runners will cross over the Clinton River again and make their way through the tunnel under M-59. Runners will head north past Eppler Junior High School and a turnaround point on Cass Avenue. The final straightaway on Cass Avenue will take runners past historic homes and to the finish line at Cass Avenue and Auburn Road.

Water and snacks will be provided at the finish line.

Utica Mayor Gus Calandrino said the Lucky Leprechaun Race is a fun and festive tradition in downtown Utica.

“The runners and spectators come dressed for the event in green costumes, fitting for the theme of St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you want to participate in the run or walk, or simply be a spectator, it’s always a fun way to get into the spirit of the holiday,” he said.

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