It rained or sprinkled throughout the run, and the course was pockmarked with potholes and puddles. And, because of a tweak in the nearly-four-mile race route due to some Seattle Center-area construction, runners had to tackle that Aurora hill sooner than before.
Still, I continue to enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day Dash, bad weather or not. Among the reasons: The “Legion of Beer” shirts that I saw at the starting line. The green tutu skirts and wigs and beads and leprechaun hats. The great turnouts, the family members running together, the party atmosphere and festive spirit. Green, green, green, everywhere you look (all right, there was some purple too). Everyone seems to be in a good mood, and it’s fun to run and people-watch at the same time.
Unfortunately, the flashing girls wearing only green pasties and green thongs underneath shower dresses did not show again in the 30th annual race this year as they did in 2013 — the wet weather probably nixed that idea. Also, the turnout as a whole was down; some 4,800 people finished the first two timed waves (2,563 women and 2,192 men) and probably 2,000 others did the non-timed later waves. Last year’s drier event recorded 7,300 timed finishers and a few thousand others, and typically, the run draws 9,000 or more participants.
Still, I had fun.
Slight changes in the course route this year, I thought, might hurt my time. The course again started on Mercer Street in front of the Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall, but runners abruptly turned left onto 5th Street (rather than staying straight on Mercer for another 1,000 yards or so, as in past years), and there was a bottleneck similar to what you have crossing the starting line. Also, another left turn, from Aurora onto Republican late in the race, also caused a slowing of runners due to the narrow turn.
These course revisions were caused by construction work on the right lanes of Mercer, but in the end, they didn’t cause too much of a problem. I finished in 45:25 (12:48 per mile), my fastest time in this event since a pre-surgery 38:03 time in 2010; I was mostly happy to beat my last year’s time of 47:16. Full results are here.
One more note about the costumes: There were too many great ones to recount here. Some pictures will have to suffice. I enjoyed many of the shirts with snarky Irish sayings. But my favorite runner was the woman carrying a huge, soft plastic beer mug throughout the race. Her message seemed to be that screamed by many others in the shirts and garb they wore in the race: “We run for beer!”
I didn’t stay for beer garden afterwards, but I am sure it was packed, wet weather or not.
What’s next: The Mercer Island Half-Marathon is this Sunday. As usual, I’m not super-well-trained. But I will finish after a safe combination of running and walking. And this will be 11th year I’ve done this event (and 33rd half-marathon!).
Thanks for reading. Till next time.
Late addition: The Wednesday, March 18, fatal helicopter crash happened about 500 feet from the finish line of this race. My heart goes out to the families of the pilot and KOMO News photographer killed in this horrible tragedy.