Sunday, March 29, 2015

An open letter to USATF Minnesota members: Thank you!

Thank you for once again choosing Irish Run Saint Paul as the USATF Minnesota 8K Championship event. We appreciate the opportunity to host the top local runners and clubs, and to once again see competition flourish.

As you are probably aware, the local racing scene has changed radically over the past decade. While it is wonderful to see events that cater to new and even non-runners, events that also support competition are becoming more rare. We feel that it is our role to help preserve a space for competition in that changing landscape.

We know that you have choices in how to spend your time and money, and appreciate you choosing our event. We welcome your feedback on the new course and anything else about the race. We are committed to making our event both competitive and fun.

Irish Run Saint Paul will return for our 44th running next year, and we hope to once again be your host. Thank you to Craig Yotter and the selection committee for your fair and thorough selection process, and to the City of St Paul for their continued support of our event.

Best wishes on your the rest of your racing season. See you next March!

Chris Fuller
The Sporting Life

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Still time to register for Irish Run Saint Paul

There is still time to register for Irish Run Saint Paul. Race day is Sunday, March 22.

Register online until 8:00 PM on Saturday. March 21. Go to:

Register Race Day at Ramsey Middle School beginning at 10:00 AM. Use this interactive map for directions.

Packet Pickup for all pre-registered participants is At Ramsey Middle School beginning at 10:00 AM. Enter Door 10 on the west side of the building.

Sunday, March 22, 2015
Summit Avenue
St Paul, MN
5K Run/Walk @ 11:40 AM
¼ Mile Youth Run @ 12:40 PM
½ Mile Youth Run @ 12:45 PM
8K Run @ 1:20 PM

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Packet Pickup and Bag check for Irish Run Saint Paul

Irish Run Saint Paul to debut a streamlined self-serve packet pickup on Sunday, March 22.

Runners and walkers registered for Irish Run Saint Paul will pick up their race packets using a new method this year. The race packet (Bib number, safety pins and optional T-shirts) will be distributed on race day using a new self-service system.

All packet pickup is on race day this year at Ramsey Middle School. Doors open at 10:00 AM. Using a rail and hook system, runners will find their bags hanging in alphabetical order in the Individual and Team areas. The bags will be loaded with bib numbers and optional shirts. The same bag can be returned and used for gear check. Volunteers from Ramsey Middle School will be staffing the area as a fundraiser for their athletic department. If you would like to help their fundraising efforts, we suggest a $1 donation for gear check.

Questions? Contact us at

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Course Tweaks for 8K Make Irish Run Saint Paul Ideal for Spectators

Best vantage point is start/finish area

Road races are fun to run, but not always so fun to watch. At best you might see runners at a couple points in the race, at worst you catch a brief glimpse of the field as it breezes by. In recent years Olympic trials and Olympic games marathons have been designed as a series of loops, which allow spectators to see everyone multiple times. Few if any shorter races (not run on a track) allow that opportunity.The new course for Irish Run Saint Paul will change that for Twin Cities racers and spectators.

The 8K course has been tweaked to remove the east turnaround that has been a keyhole configuration since the early 1990s. The loop around William Mitchell College of Law had been memorable for a few near misses with cars as well as some breakaways by leading runners. This year, the east turnaround will be a simple loop around the boulevard a block west of Lexington Parkway. To add back the distance cut off, runners will continue west past the start/finish  area to repeat the west loop that they ran to start the race.

Here is the official description of the course:

The course consists of a west loop, east loop, and a repeat of the west loop. 
1st West Loop  Start facing west in the westbound lane of Summit Ave in front of Ramsey Middle School.Go west to Wilder, then turn left around the boulevard and return east in the eastbound lane to pass the original start line.This completes the first West loop of the course. 
East Loop  Continue east in the eastbound lane of Summit to Dunlap. Turn left around the boulevard, then go west in the westbound lane of Summit to pass the Start line. This completes the east loop. 
2nd West Loop  Continue west in the westbound lane of Summit Ave to Wilder, then turn left around the boulevard and return east in the eastbound lane to the 8K finish line in front of Ramsey Middle School.

The best spectating is at the start/finish area in front of Ramsey Middle School. Spectators will see the start, 1.25 miles, 3.75 miles and 8K finish without moving at all. The Sporting Life will provide cow bells and horns to spectators who want to help make the spot a true Irish cheer zone.

Here is a link to an interactive map for you to use and share:

Please post your comments, questions and feedback.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It's all about the shirt, about the shirt...

Start spring with a new wardrobe! Get your cool charcoal wicking short sleeve T-shirt from Irish Run Saint Paul. The shirt features the slogan, "Established 1973. Renewed annually."

Shirts are optional, and we order sizes based on requests. Everyone who registers through Monday, March 16 is guaranteed to receive the size they request. Late registrants may have to wait for a reorder two weeks after the race.

Register today!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Imitation May Flatter, but It's a Little Creepy Too

by Chris Fuller, Owner, The Sporting Life

You know what they say about imitation. While maybe sometimes it is the 'sincerest form of flattery,' other times it's just 'Single White Female' creepy.

Last year I wrote that I would be stepping down as the race director of IRISH RUN Saint Paul, and that "the privilege of being the race director for this event has been an incredible experience. I hope it continues far into the future, and the next director has as much fun as I did." I received many well wishes, and offers to help with the race in the future.

I was surprised to find out in the fall, that a new event was being planned as a replacement for IRISH RUN Saint Paul. It was to be an 8K, 5K and youth run the third weekend in March, on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, and the name was "[Sponsor Name] Irish Run." They had already secured a spot on the MDRA Grand Prix, and were bidding on the USATF Minnesota Team Circuit. That sounded awfully familiar to me.

When I found out the organizers were people I have known for more than 20 years, I was puzzled, to say the least. Without speaking to me, they determined that IRISH RUN Saint Paul was done and they were jumping in to fill a void.

Like Mark Twain's famous quote about the rumors of his death being greatly exaggerated, I am here to say that IRISH RUN Saint Paul is alive and well, and looking forward to its 43rd running on Sunday, March 22. Though we now have a new competitor the day before our event, we retained exclusive rights to use Summit Avenue due to our history since 1973 with the city of St. Paul. Our race was also selected to once again host the USATF Minnesota 8K championships and Team Circuit event.

Our new race management team will be adding a few twists while maintaining an old-fashioned race that focuses on the basics: providing a great racing experience for old and new runners. We're not trying to be the biggest or most novel. You won't be sprayed by color or have to wade through streams or stand in lines for an hour to get your race packet. Our race course is not designed to cater to a sponsor.

At IRISH RUN Saint Paul, you will find a fun and lively crowd that loves to run and/or walk, and is excited for the first race of spring (Minnesota-style), and is thrilled to traverse St Paul's amazing Summit Avenue. You will receive an official race time and optional race shirt in the size you request. If you join us, you will have stories to tell, and you will become part of a tradition that stretches back to the earliest days of Twin Cities road running.

While 'welcome' might not exactly describe how we feel about the new competition, as runners we don't shy away from it. Having made it through 42 years, we know something about survival, but we also know that we can't rest on any laurels. We will strive to earn your support, and welcome your comments and feedback.

I am no longer race director, but I now understand that my true role is race guardian. I will focus on making sure the race survives and thrives as a legacy to all the runners and walkers that see traditional road racing as an important part of the event landscape. The latest outpouring of 'flattery' means we must be doing something right. We'll try not to let that get to our heads over the next 43 years!

Register today for the original Irish themed race in the Twin Cities.