St. Patrick’s Day: Off and running

By Bryan Richardson

Many people associate St. Patrick’s Day with alcohol.

Of course, the day commemorating St. Patrick — as well as Irish culture — can be celebrated in many ways.

Ursula Conley of Junction City preferred to run Saturday as a part of the 36th annual St. Patrick’s Day Road Race.

“We’re more of the fit type of people,” she said. “Spending the day at the bar isn’t necessarily being fit.”

The races took over Aggieville and the surrounding areas in the morning in advance of the Monday’s holiday.

Conley said she enjoys running with her husband Eric, who entered the 10K race with her.

“It’s the one race we like to be a part of,” she said.

This year’s race included their 1-year-old son Taylor, who was tucked away in his stroller and ready for his mom to push him all the way to the finish.

“This is our first road race with him, and we were crazy enough to sign up for the 10K,” Ursula said. “It should be interesting.”

A total of 1,497 people signed up for the Road Race, which is actually three events — 241 for the two-mile walk, 667 for the two-mile run and 589 for the 10K road race.

Jennifer Brown of Downs ran in the two-mile fun run with her sons, Cooper, 9, and Carter, 12.

As a K-State graduate, Brown said she likes to come back to Manhattan.

“It’s a well organized race,” she said. “It’s usually the first one of the spring.”

Carter, who is runs track, said he ran his fastest two-mile (time) Saturday.

“It’s good getting up and running,” Carter said about the morning fun run.

The runners were as young as Cooper’s group of 9 and under. The races also had participants from the 70-and-over group, including 83-year-old Marvin Hachmeister, a man that’s been featured in The Mercury for his annual birthday run of one lap for each year of life.

The event also included some race rookies.

Christian Tijerina of Manhattan got into the spirit of his first St. Patrick’s Day 10K in Manhattan by dressing up.

He wore an Ireland flag bowtie, green shades and a leprechaun hat head band.

Despite the fun gear, Tijerina said he’s in the midst of serious training for a full marathon. He said the 10K was less than half of the furthest distance he’s run — 13 miles in a half marathon.

“It’s something I’m good at,” he said. “It makes you feel good when you’re done.”

Tijerina said he hoped people seeing the runners would be inspired to chase good feelings of their own.

“Maybe we’ll influence somebody to go, ‘Maybe I’ll run today,’” Tijerina said.

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