Utica’s fourth annual Lucky Leprechaun Race will take place March 12

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published March 7, 2016


UTICA — For the first time, the sound of bagpipes will accompany runners as they dash through the starting line in front of Shamrock Irish Pub during Utica’s fourth annual Lucky Leprechaun Race March 12.

Runners can get into the Irish spirit with bagpipes and a DJ beginning at 9:15 a.m. The 5K run and “green mile” fun run will take place at 10:30 a.m., followed by the 5K walk and “green mile” walk at 10:33 a.m.

At 10:15 a.m., a costume contest with prizes for best female, best male and best pet will precede the race. Race director Tom Gray said he has only seen dogs enter, but that the contest is open to all animals, including pigs and cats.

The award ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. in front of sponsor UAW Local 2280.

Following the race, Empower Physical Therapy will provide complimentary massages to all runners inside UAW Local 2280.

“It’s probably going to be our largest crowd ever. A couple of years ago, we had over 600 (people),” Gray said. “We’re already at 500 runners, so we should be able to (beat our record) if the weather cooperates and the sun starts to shine.”

Proceeds from the race will benefit the Utica Lions Club, which also sponsors the event.

Gray said Lancelot, the mascot for minor league baseball team the Utica Unicorns, will be in attendance to advertise the May 30 opening day of Jimmy John’s Field in downtown Utica.

“My favorite part is the starting line when everybody’s lined up ahead of the race, and you see this large crowd of runners all gathered in basically the same color shirts and same color scheme, and they take off,” Gray said.

He said he chose Utica to stage the race because of its scenic riverfront, its historic downtown and the fact that Irish immigrants founded it in 1817. It also includes Shamrock Irish Pub, Muldoon’s Tavern, Shamrock gas station and two other bars — all within a city block.

In the future, Gray said, he hopes to include a post-race St. Patrick’s Day parade in the day’s activities.

John Sattmann, a member of the Utica Downtown Development Authority and owner of Hog’s Hollow Smokehouse, said he temporarily dubs his eatery Ye Olde Cass Bar and erects a tent the day of the event.

“St. Patrick’s Day is one of the givens in downtown Utica. It’s always fun,” Sattmann said. “It’s just nice to have a healthy event like (the Lucky Leprechaun Race), especially around St. Patrick’s Day, and see people run, enjoy themselves and stop at one of the local eateries.”

Shamrock Irish Pub is located at 7715 Auburn Road, west of Van Dyke Avenue.

For more information, visit www.utica-events.com or www.luckyleprechaunrace.com.