Eleventh Annual Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5Km—One of the Biggest and Best St. Patrick’s Day Races in the Nation
Running in Somerville, Massachusetts, on March 16, 2014, Ras na hEireann U.S.A 5Km is the most genuine Irish race this side of the Atlantic. More pubs this year--many with live music (and potato-leek soup) - provides a celebration of traditions dating back centuries. It's a celebration of spring in Somerville, but limited to only 5,000.
Posted Tuesday, 7 January, 2014
Everyone is invited to Somerville, Massachusetts, all runners and walkers, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and the coming of spring, and to enjoy a memorable race and party, or what is called "Craic" in Ireland. And if you haven't guessed, "Ras" means Race. 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. But you can't delay in signing up because they have sold out for 10 years in a row.
The U.S.A. race will be held on Sunday, March 16, 2016 starting at 11:00 a.m., beginning and ending in Davis Square, Elm Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144. There will be loads of party goers out to enjoy this spring tradition, and there will be some serious competition too--including some runners from Ireland. This is an appreciation of heritage and history, the magic and mystery that has everyone in the spirit 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. This year there will be more Somerville pubs and restaurants involved, and many will have live music. Many of them are "Irish owned" and you can check out the list of sponsors and participating pubs and restaurants--and register--on the race Website: Event Website: www.baevents.com/rasnaheireann
This website includes a wealth of information on race heritage, registration and fees, bib and T-shirt pickup, past results, course information and map, prizes and awards, photos, sponsors and beneficiaries, directions and parking (take the Red Line), post race party and bands(craic), accommodations, merchandise, and more.
This race has become a New England spring tradition in only 11 years. What a way to kick off the new 2014 racing season and celebrate the coming of spring. This Ras (race) and Craic (party) is a great goal for everyone to set for those New Years Resolutions--many will decide this is the race, this is the year, and this will get their running off to a good start. This really is a community event and the 5Km and the post race celebrations are for all.
It is competitive too. This race is consistently among the fastest in New England. For one thing the competition is strong, and for another it is mostly very flat with few turns (basically a clockwise rectangle). Records prove it. 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 were natives of Ireland for several of the events. In any case the Ras is now one of the largest 5Km races in New England and among the top ten St. Patrick's Day races in the USA.
T-shirt, packet, and bib number pick-up will be available at various Marathon Sports stores in Greater Boston Monday through Friday of race week--see the Race Website for details. Bib, shirt and packet pickup will also be available on Saturday, March 15th in Davis Square. They will also be available race day 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.
"The most genuine Irish race this side of the Atlantic. It's a celebration of traditions going back centuries - and simply a celebration of Spring in Somerville, Massachusetts."
Marathon Sports and Harpoon will be primary sponsors--you can't get better than that. Attractive event merchandise will be on sale--quality items to remember the enjoyable race and celebration. (Merchandise is also available for order on the website.)
Take the T: The Red Line of the MBTA goes directly to Davis Square, and it is very convenient. When you exit the station you will be right in Davis Square and very near the start and finish of the race.
Gem of a Course
The racecourse is an accurately wheel-measured 5Km, beginning and ending in famous Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts. 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 3/4 of 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 celebrations-- the Burren, the Sligo, Redbones, the Joshua Tree, Orleans, P.J. Ryan’s, and the Powderhouse Pub, to name a few.
Chronotrack B-tag (chip in the bib) timing from Granite State Race Services will precisely measure everyone’s time, and results will be posted quickly on Cool Running that afternoon.
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 the week before Ras na hEireann USA.
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
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 awards will be given out at 1:00 p.m. and winners must be there to collect. All divisional awards will be mailed out two weeks after the event.
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.
There will also be engraved medal awards for the fastest mixed open, women’s masters, men’s masters, and mixed masters Irish Pub teams.
Of course every participant gets an Irish-themed T-shirt, and this is one worth keeping. They are of the highest quality, multicolored, and unique in design with an ancient Celtic theme. Check out the unique features of this event on the race website: www.baevents.com/rasnaheireann
Post Race Craic—Yes, It’s a Party
They will have live music in multiple locations! 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 live music in many locations and possibly some traditional Irish foods for hungry runners--each of these participating establishments has great menus. The fine establishments in Somerville that are sponsoring will be full of runners and walkers wearing those beautiful custom T-shirts. Excellent friendly pubs and great traditions--this has the makings of a post race party like no other. A Craic!
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? 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 10, 2013. This is “Beannachtai na feile Padraig”, or Happy St. Patrick’s Day, for real.
The Somerville Striders Athletic Club
The Somerville Striders Athletic Club, headed by Paul Collyer, is the same group that brings you the Somerville Jingle Bell Run; the Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, and Marathon Relay, February 23, 2014; the Run and Have Fun Summer Series on the Charles River; Big Man Runs and many more events. You can check out the offerings on the primary Website at: www.baevents.com
Be There for Sure, and Don’t Get Shut Out
The field limit has expanded to 5,000 to meet the demand. 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 very popular for obvious reasons. 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. At the Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 5Km everyone will feel like a winner. It will have the genuine feel of Ireland, and the wonderful diversity of Somerville. And you have to try the potato leek soup--the recipe is on the race website.
Spring into action. This is definitely your spring race, your springboard to a terrifically successful and enjoyable season. Resolution anyone? Plan a hefty dose of Green and Fun, whether you are an experienced runner, a beginner runner, or a reemerging "resolution runner", this would be the one to begin the season. 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 party. Enjoy the experience, the tradition, and the celebration.
No, you do not have to be Irish to run this race! Somerville, Massachusetts is a city of great diversity, and it is a city that celebrates life. Throughout March 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. Enjoy a touch of the Emerald Isle in Somerville.