Lace up your sneakers and put on your greenest running outfit, it’s time for the annual Guinness Celtic 5K! This family friendly race has been the kick off event for Worcester’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade for over a decade. The Celtic 5K begins at 11am on Sunday March 13th, so expect a sea of emerald as runners swarming the St. Patrick’s Day Parade route before the parade begins at noon.

The Celtic 5K is a local favorite race for many, including Worcester runner Krysta Kowal. “Having a crowd several people deep all the way up and down Park Ave really gives you an extra boost to pick up the pace and keep going,” Kowal says. “And of course, the day before the race has me sifting through everything green that I own to find the perfect way to show my Irish pride,” she adds.

Race organizer and Ireland native Charlie Breagy is a lifelong runner who ran track at Providence College. Breagy’s advice for first time racers is to “start jogging a mile or two now and don’t be afraid to walk during the race, walkers are always welcome.” Online registration for the Celtic 5K ends on March 12th. Breagy organizes ten to twelve races a year and supports many more, including the Worcester Firefighters 6K, which will take place on June 5th this year.

Celtic 5K t-shirts are included in the race’s registration, which is partially sponsored by Worcester’s favorite sneaker shop, Sneakerama. Breagy is expecting between 1,500 to 2,000 entrants this year, which would bring the number of runners back to the usual pre-pandemic amount. Runners and spectators are all invited to join the post race celebration in the beer garden tent at the finish line.

The Guinness Celtic 5K also supports the Worcester St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “The race and the parade go hand in hand,” Breagy explains. This fun spirited event is a Worcester parade day staple, as half the fun is picking out your most St. Patrick’s Day inspired costume. Looking through pictures of races from year’s past show runners wearing shamrock knee high socks, green argyle leggings, and even orange wigs.

With the Guinness Celtic 5K, it really isn’t all about winning or having the fastest time, it’s about enjoying the fresh air, running with your friends, and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. We’ve been cooped up all winter, and this a great way to have fun with a little workout before the parties start. Speaking of parties, pop into some of the post race celebrations along Park Ave, from Leitrims to One Eyed Jacks and in between.

So grab your finest orange and green wigs, throw a temporary shamrock tattoo on your cheeks, and join in on the Guinness Celtic 5K. If running isn’t your thing, still dress up of course, but head to Park Ave early to claim the best parade watching spot so you can enjoy the race beforehand.

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