Catch the Leprechaun 5K recap and running firsts

Thursday night, I had a major “first” in my running career.

Even after years in running, you can still have firsts. Sometimes a cool obscure distance comes along, like an 8K, 12K, 15K, or “Almost Nine Miler”. Or, you can run your first mud run, color run, glowstick run, obstacle run, all women’s run, or whatever the new running idea-of-the-moment is. Relays are another good option to change it up.


Instead of registering, paying $30, and toeing the start line at Catch the Leprechaun… I decided to participate  as a *spectator and cheerleader*. Speaking of firsts, this is the first race review I’ve ever written for a race I did not actually run. Two “firsts” out of one race is pretty good!

Since I signed up to run the Summerville Shamrock Shuffle as a TrySports Ambassador and planned to run the Chucktown Triathletes Pop-Up 15K, I didn’t want to run the Catch the Leprechaun 5K. Three races in four days does not make for happy legs.

Best of all, this was a great race to spectate because our TrySports/ Couch to 5K runners ran it as a “graduation” race.


Last Thursday, we did a test run on part of the course, and everyone did great. I remember 8 weeks ago when the Couch-to-5Kers showed up at run club and mostly walked. In 8 weeks, they went from almost all walking, to about half running half walking, to almost all running, and most of them ran the entire Catch the Leprechaun race!

It’s a testament to how effectively you can train with run-walk intervals, to Noah Moore’s awesome coaching, and everyone’s dedication to getting off the couch for three runs each week. Plus, many of them come to the TrySports group runs regularly now, so it’s neat for all of us to meet new running buddies.


Catch the Leprechaun is an annual evening race in Mt. Pleasant where participants can win regular age group and overall awards, but can also receive a special prize if their time “beats” a guy who runs the course dressed up as a leprechaun. The proceeds benefit Pattison’s Academy, which is a school that serves disabled children in the Charleston area.

The race started out with the leprechaun “cheating” by starting before the gun, pushing one of the children from Pattison’s. This was one of the first teary-eyed moments for me, I guess because of coaching cross country and track and having a special place in my heart for kids and those with disabilities. Plus, it’s neat that the leprechaun ran pushing the little girl, so she was in the lead of the race at one point- how awesome is that?


Djuanna, Noah, Eric, Samantha, Karen, and some other local runners spectated at different parts of the course cheering. We cheered for people by name when we knew names, and for the run clubbers, couch-to-5kers, and BGR (Black Girls Run) ladies.

Some ran their first 5K, some ran their fastest 5K. When spectating, we saw the determination, pain, doubt, perseverance, pride, joy, and happiness on everyone’s faces.


When you see those emotions, you know everyone is a runner, from the first place finisher who ran the course in less than 15 minutes (yikes!) to those who run a mile in 15 minutes (or more). The best part- seeing your friends PR, win age group awards, or run their first-ever race.

Everyone should spectate a race- it’s so inspiring! It may not be *your personal* PR, age group award, or race, but by being there to cheer at a race, you can share everyone’s victories Thumbs up.

Running is so much more than a time, car sticker, or race bib. It’s a physical and mental catharsis. That’s why I love this sport, why I train so hard and hope to inspire others to do the same.

Congratulations to everyone on a great race!

This entry was posted in 5Ks, Believe Achieve Run Club, Couch to 5K, Moore On Running, Mt Pleasant, TrySports Ambassador and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Catch the Leprechaun 5K recap and running firsts

  1. Noah says:

    Thanks for cheering them all on Amy! I had several teary-eyed moments too 🙂

  2. love this post. this is exactly why I love running and racing. this race sounds amazing, glad you had that experience.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It was great, seemed like a really fun race overall without a bunch of competitive pressure (well, except for the sub-20 peeps who are always like that, I guess).

  3. Wow! That’s amazing, joining that race as an encouragement to the runners! Sometimes in life, we’re so focused on the challenge that we forget about the encouragement. It’s amazing how encouragement really does help. 🙂

    The green looks very pretty in the pictures! It’s weird seeing people wear t-shirts in pictures already. We’re almost at that point up here. 🙂

    This post really inspired me to encourage others. I just want you to know that I really do enjoy reading your posts, and today’s post really spoke volumes. And I actually got teary-eyed on the wheelchaired girl photo. I thought of my niece and nephew. Both of them have a health condition that keeps them from walking or running. They need walkers, and it makes me sad to think that probably in this life, neither of them will ever walk properly.
    But with encouragement and with God’s help through other people, we all have amazing opportunities! 😀

    • Amy Lauren says:

      There was a guy running the race I did today shirtless. It was great weather but that’s a little extreme for March. I guess if you have the abs (and the confidence. And you’re a guy, of course).

      Yeah, there are groups here that raise money for things like special chairs for the Pattison’s academy kids, so they can ride in them and do races, things like that. It’s a really good cause.

  4. This sounds like a great event! If I ever take on C25K again, I’d be happy to do a race like this as graduation. Sounds like a lot of fun.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It was! It was a great race for a graduation run as well because it was fun, big, lots of people on the course, and you could dress up :). Plus the refreshments, beer, and after party don’t hurt either.

  5. Steph says:

    That sounds like fun! I’ve never spectated a race, but I’d like to

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah you should! I would suggest something like a local 5K at first, but it would be neat to spectate at a full or something if there was one close. I loved how in Charleston there were so many people cheering and holding up signs on King street 🙂

  6. I thought about doing this race because it looked like a cool concept, but didn’t want to pay the fee and don’t usually do weeknight races. Cool that you got to go and cheer. I cheered for the half marathon people in 2012 when i couldn’t run it. Cool experience.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It was so fun, I’ve never done a weeknight race bc we didn’t have them until I moved here, but doing the i5K next month, that should be fun. I also want to do the Charles Towne Landing series but hate to register if I don’t know if I can do them all. It’s all 5Ks!

      Yeah, this was a more expensive 5K than some, but it was worth it with the after party, fairly nice shirt, and the little cup you get if you catch the leprechaun :).

  7. It’s actually nice too to be on the other end sometimes, for a change… 🙂
    Great review Amy! 🙂 So inspiring. 🙂 I’m thinking of volunteering for a race. I want to experience how it is like to be cheering for runners and giving out water. It’s like my turn to give back! 🙂

  8. what a great run! next year my goal is to run the st pats race here in st louis

  9. runwkate says:

    You an just FEEL your love of running in this post. It’s gorgeous. I love the thought of all of these people running past you with pain and pride, and you knowing that the first-timers are going to be so thrilled when they get to the end.

  10. allieksmith says:

    This is just awesome! You gotta love all of the “firsts” in life–they’re what make it so exciting and interesting. I love that you cheered everyone on. It’s so clear that you truly love all aspects of running!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, I do. I love awards and PRs (especially PRs or hitting a goal time, just because I’m Type A like that), but it’s not the be-all, end-all either. Back at the track club last year, I figured I was passing my knowledge onto the next generation of runners to sorta keep the sport alive =).

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