Ras na hEireann U.S.A.—A St. Patrick’s Day 5K Race and Celebration
Ras na hEireann is the most genuine Irish race this side of the Atlantic. It is a celebration of traditions dating back centuries—an exciting celebration of spring in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Posted Thursday, 23 February, 2006
Everyone is invited to Somerville, Massachusetts, all runners and walkers, to celebrate life, the coming of spring, and to enjoy a memorable race and St. Patrick’s Day celebration. This race was born in Ireland and named in honor of its famous sister race, the Ras na hEireann International Cross Country held in Termonfechin, County Louth, Republic of Ireland. The Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5Km is open to all, from beginners to international stars.
The U.S.A. race will be held on Sunday, March 19, starting at 11:00 a.m., beginning and ending in Davis Square. There will be loads of Craic—a celebration and appreciation of heritage and history, the magic and mystery that move everyone to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on the Run—the Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5Km. Quite a few Irish runners will be there, including a large contingent from the Bohemeen A. C., County Meath, Ireland.
This race is a gem, an Emerald to be sure, and has become a local spring tradition in only four years. What a way to kick off the new 2006 racing season and celebrate the coming of spring. And this year it will be a three-day affair. This Ras (race) and Craic (party) will indeed be celebrations—for everyone.
It is competitive too. Course records were set in 2005 in both the men and women’s races, and they were among the fastest in New England. Irishman Keith Kelly sped to 14:24, and Mimi Fallon of Walpole, Massachusetts glided to 17:35. Both the women’s and the men’s winners in 2003 were natives of Ireland, Eoin Higgins of Kilcock, County Kildare, and Stephanie O’Reilly of County Wexford, Ireland, then training in Providence. O’Reilly also won in 2004, and Roland Lavallee of Bellingham, Massachusetts won the men’s race that year. The Ras 2005 was one of the largest 5K races in Massachusetts.
For many 2006 participants, however, it will be an outing to jog or walk just to join in the fun.
No, you do not have to be Irish to run this race! Somerville, Massachusetts is a city of great diversity, and it was diverse long before we all began to hear the term. And it is a city that celebrates life. March 17 through 19 there will be a strong touch of Ireland in Somerville--invention, passion, heritage, culture, customs, and beliefs. It will be a green weekend through and through, as Irish as lace, potatoes, shamrocks, and Guinness. Brilliant! Enjoy a touch of the Emerald Isle in Somerville, Massachusetts.
T-shirt, Championchip, and bib number pick-up will be available at the various Marathon Sports stores in Greater Boston and within the city of Boston on Monday, March 13th, Tuesday, March 14th, Wednesday, March 14th, and Thursday, March 16th. They will also be available at the race Expo, noon to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 18 at the Olde Magoun Saloon in Magoun Square. Marathon Sports and Mizuno will sponsor it. Attractive event merchandise will be on sale--quality items to remember the enjoyable race and celebration. Bib numbers, chips and T-shirts will also be available on Sunday, race morning from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the Somerville Elder Center on Holland Street between Davis Square and Teele Square in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Gem of a Course
The racecourse is an accurately wheel-measured 5Km, beginning and ending in famous Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts—a stop on the convenient MBTA Red Line. It starts on Elm Street, in front of the Burren, the Sligo, Redbones, and the Joshua Tree, and runs through an eclectic mix of great Somerville neighborhoods and tree-lined streets. It is mostly lightening flat, and includes Teele Square, Powderhouse Boulevard, and Ball Square. It runs past Tufts University, and it zips along on the beautiful Minuteman Bike Path for nearly a mile. It ends in Davis Square, on the bike path, behind the Brooks Pharmacy parking lot. Post race rewards are visible along the route, as runners will pass some of the pubs involved in the post race parties-- the Burren, the Sligo, Redbones, the Joshua Tree, Orleans, P.J. Ryan’s, and the Powderhouse Pub.
Championchip timing from Granite State Race Services will precisely measure everyone’s time, and results will be posted quickly on Cool Running and Running in the USA Websites that evening.
The Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5Km is named for an event in Ireland, the Ras na hEireann International Cross Country Race, Termonfechin, County Louth, Republic of Ireland. The Dunleer Athletic Club hosts the International. The original Ras is a series of cross-country races in 14 different divisions from youngsters 9 and under up to international stars. Race distances vary accordingly, from 600 meters for the youngest to 6,000 meters for the big stars. Racing is open to all, including separate masters divisions. These races have been held since 1971, and will run this year on March 5, 2006.
Men and women’s cross-country racing has deep roots in Ireland. Club racing—very strong on the Emerald Isle--is primarily cross-country, as compared to predominately road racing in the USA. Termonfechin, County Louth, is approximately half way between Dublin and Belfast, located near the East coast on the Irish Sea.
Awards and Rewards in Somerville
One of the most popular awards and “divisions” in this race is the Sporting Paddy Gaelic Cup given to the first place Pub Team--two men or two women. Last year’s open winners were the Tap Tavern of Kinsale, County Cork, Republic of Ireland for the men, and the Burren (located at the race starting line) for the women. In 2004 it was the Bradley Café, Providence, Rhode Island, and in 2003 Nash’s Pub, Dorchester, Massachusetts.
There will also be engraved medal awards for the fastest mixed open, women’s masters, men’s masters, and mixed masters Irish Pub teams.
Cash awards will be offered for the top six women and top six men, with an additional bonus of $100 if either winner is a native of Ireland. The total cash prize package is $2,350.00. Additionally, there will be unique engraved medals awarded in the following divisions: First woman and man overall, first woman and man 14 and under, 15-17, 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 and over, Filly open and masters (140 lbs. and over), and Clydesdale open and masters 190-210 pounds, 211-225, and 226 and over, and lastly Clydesdale Senior masters (190 and over).
All cash and medal awards will be given out at 1:00 p.m. following the race at the VFW George Dilboy Post in Davis Square, and winners must be there to collect.
This is a T-shirt worth getting and keeping. They are of the highest quality, multicolored, and unique in design with an ancient Celtic theme. Check out the unique 2006 race logo on the Web Site.
Post Race Craic—Yes, It’s a Party
This race is a gem, all right. And so is the post race celebration. The Somerville Striders Athletic Club has brewed up the genuine article. It’s the real McCoy. There will be Irish scones and brown breads, and potato leek soup at the sponsoring pubs and clubs: VFW George Dilboy Post, Burren, the Sligo, Redbones, the Joshua Tree, Orleans, P.J. Ryan’s, the Powderhouse Pub, Tir na nOg Irish Pub, Union Square, and the Olde Magoun Saloon. Pubs and clubs will offer a variety of genuine Irish food, Irish tea, and, of course, more than a sampling of brewing expertise.
These nine fine establishments will be full of runners and walkers wearing those beautiful custom T-shirts: The Sligo Pub, Orleans Restaurant and Bar, Redbones, Joshua Tree, The Burren, all in Davis Square; P.J. Ryan’s, Teele square; the Powderhouse Pub, Ball Square; Tir na nOg Irish Pub, Union Square, and the Olde Magoun Saloon, Magoun Square. Irish brown breads and Scones will be supplied by the Greenhills Traditional Irish Bakery, Dorchester, Massachusetts. Good food, live bands (including the famous Down Dog group at the Burren), and great traditions--this has the makings of a post race party like no other. A Craic!
Ras na hEireann International Cross Country, Termonfechin, County Louth, Ireland
If you have ever considered running a cross-country race in Ireland, here is your chance. You can also enjoy running and sightseeing for 8 days in springtime Ireland, a fantastic experience. The Ras in Somerville is joining with Crystal Travel to set up a travel package from February 28 to March 8, and will include the opportunity to run in the International on March 5. It is open to all with many divisions. There will be awards for runners who run both. Check the Ras na hEireann USA Website for details.
Traditions from Ireland
Ireland is a small country, about the same size as West Virginia or South Carolina, with a population of about 4.3 million. But what an impact it has had considering its relative size. There is so much to see and explore, from the many ancient dolmens to the remains of a thirteenth century cathedral at Tipperary, from pastoral villages to exciting cities. Sheer cliffs and crashing surf contrast with idyllic green valleys and green turf.
Do you know that Ireland has the youngest population in Europe, and the fastest growing economy of western nations over the last five years? Forty million Americans claim Irish heritage, along with five million Canadians and an equal number of Australians. The culture of Ireland is ingrained in the American character. Who has not heard of Sligo, Galway, Cork, Killarney, Dublin, Kilkenny, Kerry, Limerick, Ulster, Louth, Tipperary, and Wexford? Do Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and George Bernard Shaw ring a bell?
The Irish are very good at running, and also good at celebrating life. That is what is happening in Somerville, Massachusetts on March 19, 2006. This is “Beannachtai na feile Padraig”, or Happy St. Patrick’s Day, for real.
Strict Limit—Don’t Get Shut Out
The field limit has expanded to 2,200 to meet the demand. It sold out the last two years. The size of the field must necessarily be limited because of the accommodations and the course. The Somerville Striders Athletic Club insists on maintaining a really high quality experience for all participants. The Ras na hEireann USA 5Km is now very popular, and many want to be part of the celebration, before, during, and after the race. Runners and walkers will enjoy a memorable race and St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Get the registrations in early, and don’t be left out. At the Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5Km everyone will feel like a winner.
Be There for the Fun of It
Some terrifically hard work has gone into making this a genuinely unique and enjoyable experience. This event offers about as much fun as you can have in racing. As successful as the first three were, this year promises to be even greater. It will have the genuine feel of Ireland, and the diversity of Somerville.
Spring into action. This is definitely your spring race, your springboard to a terrifically successful and enjoyable season. Plan to shake off the winter blues with a hefty dose of Green. It will be a genuine Ras and Craic. The Race of Ireland and the United States is more than a 5Km run and walk in Somerville, Massachusetts. It is a big time celebration. Join in. The Irish know how to run, and they know how to throw a party. Enjoy the experience, the tradition, and the celebration.