Family members of all ages can stretch their muscles and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by joining the Harrisonburg Shamrock 5K Run and the Pot of Gold Kid’s Fun Run, both held at Hillandale Park on March 17th. Whatever your age or level of experience, these events promise to bring joy to everyone, including those just watching and lending encouragement.

“For beginners, a running event of any sort can be overwhelming,” explains Erik Dart, of Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation, “so we try to keep the Shamrock 5K Run as simple as possible.” Beginning runners will find plenty of cheerleaders to encourage them as they tackle the two-lap course. Participants may walk, run, or jog, and completion of the trail is the goal, rather than speed, although there are awards for first, second and third place finalists, in six different age categories, for both males and females.

Harrisonburg’s Shamrock 5K Run is gaining in popularity throughout Virginia; Dart says that most participants come from about two hours away, including folks from Virginia Beach, Salem, Charlottesville and Manassas; he expects to cap the number of registrants at 200, or about double the number from last year. Proceeds will go to support the Shenandoah Valley High Rollers Wheelchair Basketball Team.

The Pot of Gold Kid’s Fun Run is for ages 3 to 7, and although most of last year’s entrants were local, out of town visitors are definitely welcome. Part of the pleasure comes from the “wearing of the green,” as everyone is encouraged to dress in a St. Patrick’s Day costume; and everyone is a winner, as each child selects their gold medal from the “pot of gold” as they run out and back from the goal. Kristin Lam, who oversees the event, cautions everyone to remember that shoes will most likely get wet and muddy. Afterwards, everyone enjoys a reward of hot cocoa!

For complete information about these events, contact Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation, 540-433-9168.

*These above races are at compacity, but don’t miss out on the other special events throughout the year. Like Blacks Run CleanUp Day; Food Truck Rally; African American Festival; and Annual Race to Best Breast Cancer 5k Run/Walk*

Written by Guest Blogger, Carol Mishler. Carol is a Travel Specialist for Harrisonburg Tourism.