Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Go green at the Shamrock 4 Miler

If you're one of the 1,100 to 1,200 people planning to run Saturday's Shamrock 4 Miler down in South Charlotte, here are some things about the race that you might want to know.

When and where: Starts at 8 a.m. at Run For Your Life - Stonecrest (7868-H Rea Road).

The course: See the map here. Says race director Ashleigh Lawrence: "It's rolling hills -- they aren't too drastic, but they are consistent. As one runner put it, they are 'motivating hills, really, and they keep your mind active -- you push yourself to get to the top of the hill, then relax on the downhill, push yourself to get up the hill, relax on the downhill.' "

The music: "Over the past few weeks," she says, "we have been taking song requests for the start line and the finish line of this event. Requests have come in through the stores, e-mail and on Facebook. We have compiled quite the playlist. Some tracks fit in perfectly with the Irish theme of the race..."

The food: Fruit, bread from the Great Harvest Bread Co., and snacks from Extreme Pita. (Sorry, no beer at this one.)

The fun: RFYL is encouraging participants to wear their favorite green running gear, whether it be green tights, striped green socks, a green wig ... or the 2010 race shirt.

Speaking of green: In an effort to "go green" and reduce the usage of paper and plastic, the race will utilize virtual goody bags (with discounts, product promotions, services offerings and coupons) to all participants following the event.

Kids stuff: "This event actually features one of the most popular kids races within the Grand Prix Series," Ashleigh says. The Leprechaun Jog, which covers just a few hundred feet, kicks off at 9 a.m. Cost is $5, and all kids will get a Leprechaun Hat upon crossing the finish line. "We also have some awesome Shamrock stickers to hand out," she adds, "but those aren’t reserved for just the kids!"

Worth noting: The Run For Your Life location hosting the event closes for good at 5 p.m. Saturday. Ashleigh says nothing special is on tap, although the traditional sidewalk sale will take place on race morning. RFYL's new Piper Glen store opens Monday, with an official Grand Opening celebration set for April 3.

Charitable beneficiary: Run For Your Life is partnering with Levine Children's Hospital, a partner of Children's Miracle Network, for the second straight year. Since opening in December 2007, the hospital has grown to include more than 30 pediatric specialties and has already received national distinction by U.S. News & World Report as one of "America’s Best Children's Hospitals" for treatment of kidney disorders. For more info, click here.

The Shamrock 4 Miler race Web site is here. Cost is $20, or $30 day-of.

Running the Grand Prix Series? The Shamrock 4 Miler is the first of 10 races in the series this year. Ashleigh says 101 runners registered for the series, up from 72 last year (when there were only nine races). "We are noticing a trend not only in the number of runners that intend to run the entire series, but also in the number of runners that actually do run the entire series, which if you think about it, can be a pretty significant commitment for people schedule-wise." In 2008, 28 people finished all nine races; in 2009, that jumped to 60 runners. At the end of the year, everyone who has completed all 10 races will get a special award.