A Front Row Seat

Saturday, March 17, 2018: According to the newspaper, this was the 6th annual Leprechaun 7K, benefitting the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer). The parade involved nearly 3,000 runners and walkers and 150 volunteers. It started right on time, a little after 9:30 just as the newspaper article had stated.

Earlier that morning, I’d noticed the orange cones placed fifty feet apart all along the road. So much for my plan to run errands since the road going past my building would be closed all morning. So, I got comfortable in my pajamas, with my cup of chai tea, and prepared to be entertained by this menagerie of mankind passing right outside my window.

First, a white pick-up truck slowly drove down the street, led closely behind by a tall, slim man dressed in a bright green, sparkly body suit, green sneakers and a shamrock shaped cap. Running at full speed, he looked as though he was taking his position as the leader very seriously.

After a smattering of single runners, the clusters grew into a cavalcade of all shapes, sizes and ages of sprinters wearing green shirts, funny socks and hats. It was easy to see that for some, a good bit of work had been put into designing just the right outfit.

Others were more generic with lots of stripped socks or a perfunctory, silly hat. It was a sea of green tee shirts scarves, tiaras and ruffled tutu’s. My personal favorite was the man skipping down the roadway with a lovely, pink tutu on his head.

As the parade progressed, the slower participants came by who were going at a leisurely pace. A combination of walking and running was common and clearly some were really just out for a walk and some social time. Even with my windows closed I could hear the laughter and chatter of the crowd.

Pretty soon there were rows of four and five going down the road in a line. One mom and her very young child stepped onto the grass so he could catch his breath and take off his jacket. The sun was out in force and it was getting warmer. Some runners stopped to rest or take a quick stretch before forging ahead.

Once the runners thinned out, the walkers came into view. Here were those with younger kids and babies in strollers. As the slower pace proceeded, the white pick-up then appeared going in the other direction. It was quickly followed by the tall, slim man in the green body suit, still the leader and going at a good clip. Both lanes of the street were full of runners, for and five deep, going in both directions.

As the crowd thinned, a yellow school bus came slowly down the street signaling the end of the parade. I noticed people were riding in the bus. How nice, I thought; the school bus was a way for anyone who couldn’t walk or run to still participate.  I kept watching until the school bus passed by on its return trip. All was done by 11:15. A police car with lights on made the final sweep and the orange cones were kicked to the curb and picked up later.

It was as though nothing had happened. No one in sight and not a scrap of litter anywhere. What a lovely community event. And all over America similar parades and community events are happening. Everyone is Irish for one day at least

I had a great time in my front row seat, watching everyone having a great time and helping a good cause. I had to wonder what these hardy and not so hardy runners and walkers would be doing for the rest of the day. For some, it’s probably nap time. Or, whether Irish or not, I’ll bet Leif’s Lucky Town or O’Donoghue’s Irish Pub was busy serving green beer!




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