Catch the Leprechaun 5K (Pit Crew)

A few weeks ago, I volunteered at the Catch the Leprechaun 5K in Mt. Pleasant.

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Catch the Leprechaun uses a really fun concept that makes it a great race for all runners, regardless of ability. The organizer, Mike McKenna, is a great guy and friend and always does a wonderful job. For the speedsters, the race offers a “pot of gold” to the overall winners, which is a cash prize of those $1 gold coins. Age groupers get pint glass awards, and the age groups are 5-years and 3-deep.

Catching the leprechaun is the best part of the race. The leprechaun runs around the course encouraging runners and making everyone smile. If you finish before the leprechaun, you get a mug with the race’s logo on it, so you goal is to beat the leprechaun. The course is flat, fast, and perfect for a tune-up before the Cooper River Bridge Run. 

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Due to construction at Patriot’s Point, the race wasn’t held last year, so I was excited to see it return this year. I ran the race in 2014 and 2015, and I signed up in January when I saw the announcement. I encouraged all my friends from Wednesday night track workouts to run it (so we could cancel the workout that night). When I got peroneal tendonitis and couldn’t run, I signed up to volunteer and cheer.

I helped out with packet pick up, which is always a lot of fun. As a frequent volunteer, I’ve done it all- from slicing bananas to managing water stops to registering runners. Race day packet pick up is one of my favorite volunteer activities because I get to see everyone and wish them good luck, Plus, I know many of the Charleston runners by name and can quickly find race numbers.

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Once everyone picked up, Cindy and I walked over to the race course to watch the start and cheer for the runners. Then, we hit the post-race party and refreshments, which were already being set up. Volunteers have to turn around quickly in a 5K because in less than 20 minutes, runners would be finishing up and heading over to get snacks and beer.

We made it back to the course to see most of our friends finish as well. Melissa placed 2nd female overall and Theresa and John both placed in their age groups.

It was a chilly and windy night, so a lot of runners opted to skip the post-race festivities and head out. The race was also on a Wednesday night this year, so people had to go home, refuel, shower, and get ready for work or school the next day too. Thankfully, I didn’t hear or see anyone who got injured or hurt, which is always good news at a race.

I had a great time volunteering and hope to be back to run it next year. In the meantime, you can check out Melissa’s blog or Theresa’s blog to read about their experiences running the race.

Congratulations to everyone who ran, and thanks to the race director and other volunteers for making it a great night.

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12 Responses to Catch the Leprechaun 5K (Pit Crew)

  1. Michelle says:

    I’m so bummed I had to miss this one. I was really trying to keep fresh legs for Shamrock Half. Now looking back at how the weather turned out for Shamrock, I should have come out and done Catch The Leprechaun.
    The racing community is lucky to have you and all the other people who volunteer. I know you would much rather be racing it but it looks like you had lots of fun with friends! I know we’ll see you out there soon racing again.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Haha, I don’t think I’ve *ever* had fresh legs (then again, I was doing Hansons style training pre-injury). My legs are even torched now and I haven’t been running.

      To be honest I really like volunteering. Of course I’d always rather be racing but I plan to volunteer a bit more than usual so I can enjoy the atmosphere and see people without all that torture on my legs every single week. Plus, we’re the next generation of race directors and volunteers anyway… 🙂

  2. Aww what a fun race! You guys seriously have the BEST races down there!

  3. Catching the leprechaun sounds like a fun goal! How fast does he run it?

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I think his speed depends on the number of participants because the only have a certain number of mugs. I’m not sure how they get the message to him that they are running close to being out of mugs and he needs to hurry up and finish, though. This year he ran a 34:16, but in years past he’s been more like 25-26.

  4. Liz says:

    I actually think volunteering at a race sounds like a lot of fun. I have friends who have done it or who volunteered for festivals, but with always working so many weekends, I always hated committing to stuff like this. I should do it now that I’m not working as much, but then again, weekends never actually slow down! The idea of this sounds like fun though.

  5. Sounds like a fun race! Volunteering is always so fun too and definitely appreciated. I definitely need to make it back to Charleston and do a race- sounds like there are some great ones down there

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It was a great race! Charleston is known for the Cooper River Bridge Run but we have so many great ones, including this one, James Island Connector, Charleston Marathon, Race the Landing, etc.

  6. I know I’ve said it before, but I love that you volunteer at races!! This one sounds like a lot of fun!

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