Runners celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with 5ks of foggy green

In the Galaxy Bowling and Entertainment Center’s parking lot on a cold, foggy morning, 236 runners clad in shades of green are summoned to the starting line prior to the start of the FMWR Shamrock 5k, March 17. Photo by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

By John Reese
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Before the participants of the Shamrock 5k gathered, the USAG Stuttgart Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation team had set up the route with some help from the 554th Military Police Company, inflated the start/finish arch, began a countdown to the starting pistol on the run timer and partnered with the Red Cross. All of this was before 9 a.m., March 17, a chilly, foggy morning on a day that later delivered a heavy snowfall.

The race begins at the crack of the starter pistol. Photo by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

At the crack of the starter pistol, the wave of runners broke through the starting arch to begin a zigzag course on Panzer Kaserne, eventually doubling back to the same arch. Runners young and old, some with dogs and others pushing baby carriages, wore green for St. Patrick’s Day.

And they’re off!  Photo by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Alexander Sprague, senior, Stuttgart High School, was the first to cross the finish line with a time of 15:13, a couple of minutes before his closest competition, 2nd place Chris Hallows and third place SHS freshman Jack Barringer.

SHS senior Alexander Sprage has the road to himself as he nears the finish line. Photo by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

“We had a great turnout for the first race of the FY18 racing season, despite the low temperature,” said Felicia Hanes, FMWR fitnesss coordinator and race organizer.  “Participants came dressed in their St. Patrick’s Day costumes, making the event colorful and fun!”

Bre Washburn rounds the last corner of the Shamrock 5k to be the first woman to cross the line. Washington was followed by Jenny Dupriest and Lisa Welsh. Photo by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Following the run, the adjacent Irish Pub opened early to serve green-tinted beverages.

Marianna Yinh, left, and her Red Cross team, await the return of the green crowd to assist with their recovery. Photo by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Being a day for leprechauns, “The race course was a bit short of 5K,” Hanes said.