Race Review – Johnny’s Runnin’ of the Green 5 mile, Saturday, March 11, 2017

shamrockThis upstate New York race is known for being the kick-off race to the Spring running season. It’s held in the morning before the St. Patrick’s  Day parade in Rochester, NY. It certainly didn’t feel like Spring at race time – with temperatures hovering in the teens. When I got to the Blue Cross Arena, it was 13 degrees outside. Honestly, I was second guessing myself if I even wanted to do this thing. It had snowed the night before, and the city was still recovering from a major windstorm (81 mph winds) a few days earlier – thousands still without power. Runners are hardcore people, so I knew the race would not be cancelled. However, attendance was definitely down. Someone told me as many as 1/3 of the people who originally signed up did not show. I can’t blame them – it really was frigid out. The race ended up having 877 participants.

I’ve never done this race before. 5 miles is a long way for me to run at this point. I normally do that distance split in two parts. But, I had my green attire (so ready to be Irish for the day!) ready. For that reason, I decided to give it a try.


I waited inside the arena until five minutes before the race start. I was very grateful to have a warm place to linger, as well as access to real bathrooms instead of porta potties. I saw many fun costumes – tutus, hats, headbands, men in kilts, etc.  In it’s 19th year, the race is known for being very festive with many people decked out in green – from socks to skirts and much more. I had picked up my bib and long sleeve tshirt (dark green – very nice) a few days before at Johnny’s Irish Pub (race sponsor).

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At around 9:25, we headed out to the start. They had told us there would be no fanfare or national anthem etc. Due to the cold conditions, I was perfectly fine with that. The race started on time and we headed out. Normally, people (including myself) start out fast. This crowd seemed to be starting at a slower pace – at least where I was. It was slippery. I just followed the crowd and kept going. The route was on the street and then up the bridge towards the University of Rochester, and then along a trail type section. We passed by a roped off fallen tree by a power line – another reminder of the damage/devastation of the storm earlier in the week.

When I started running, I was freezing – especially my hands and feet. I had two sets of hand warmers, although I wish I had also brought a face mask. Because I have Raynauds, I always have to be careful of not getting a painful attack in my hands. Fortunately, I ‘warmed up’ a bit as we continued running. There were mile markers and, at the halfway point, we turned around and headed back. In the first mile, we had to run past a downed tree, from the storm damage. I didn’t run with my water bottle, but instead grabbed a cup of water at the water stop. There was an unofficial beer stop as well. I don’t take photos while running, so I don’t have any photos of that.


After the race, you could head back inside the arena. They had water bottles and a local distillery had alcohol/coffee samples. For some reason, I thought there would be green bagels, but alas there were not. I have to admit it – I was disappointed by that. Compared to other races I have done (and I am closing in on almost 90 races to date), the lack of any post race spread was a bummer. They normally get almost 2,000 people at this race, so I get it can be expensive, but even so…They may have channeled the money into the race awards – very nice shamrock labeled wine bottles from Casa Larga, a local vineyard. I believe top finishers also received cash prizes. I was just too cold and sweaty to hang around for the ceremony.

Overall, this was a nice, festive race. Well organized, decent course, fun theme. Truthfully though, I’m not a big fan of the 5 mile distance. I prefer a 5k or – if I really wanted to do longer -would opt for a 10k. But, that’s just me. I’m glad I finally did this race. My next race is in April – an Earth Day 5k in Baldwinsville, NY (near Syracuse). Hopefully, the weather will be better. I also need to lose weight, or my times will continue to suffer. There was no reason I could not get under a 10 min mile pace. I erred on the side of caution due to the slippery course and cold, but that really is no excuse. Sadly, this is my last race as a 49 year old. I will be in a new age group bracket next month. #eek #OlderRunner

As always, thank you for reading. Best of luck to you on your running season ahead. 🙂 Until next time, see you on the roads.

Time: 9:30 am start
Weather: teens – brisk breeze at times and periods of snow.
Location: Starts downtown Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena. Certified course.
Course: Up & back to the University of Rochester, over bridges – mainly flat
Results:  2017 Runnin’ of the Green

Parking – on street or free in nearby garages. Wait inside at Blue Cross arena, bathroom access inside. 
Waterstops – one official, one informal, one beer
Race Results: 564 out of 877. 51.35 (10:18 min mile),  30 in 40-49 age group range
Photo credits: photos taken by me – except running shots from Fleet Feet  FB page

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