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Shamrock Run starts off St. Patricks Day festivities

The pre-race crowd is bigger than ever at the 2014 Shamrock Run

BY: Catherine Miller | March 04, 2014

SOUTH BUFFALO - The luck of the Irish was evident once again as over 5000 runners enjoyed a rare, mild winter day on March 1 at the 36th annual Shamrock Run in the Old First Ward.

The thirty degree day was treated like a heat wave as many runners ran the 8k course in shorts and tees in Buffalo’s unofficial start to the St. Patrick’s Day season.

Maureen Diggins and three generations of the Diggins family started the race in memory of Maureen’s husband, the late Michael Diggins. Diggins was a teacher, coach, avid runner and advocate for many local schools and organizations. The Diggins clan starting off the run was a wonderful tribute to a great community member who is held fondly in the memory of many residents, especially on race days.

Celtic music and green outfits were the norm for the day, as has become tradition for the Shamrock Run. The crowds lining the street to watch the racers and attending the post-party was larger than ever, and all for a great cause.

“Everything is done by and for the Old First Ward Community Association. We raise the money for our organization to provide after-school programs and senior programs. We also do housing and community development for the city, state and the county. We are small but mighty and this race keeps us alive,” said Laura Kelly, Executive Director of the Old First Ward Community Association.

Gene McCarthy’s, a favorite post-race destination was packed with both Shamrock Run participants as well as numerous non-participants. In an attempt to lighten the crowd inside, Gene McCarthy’s set up draft beer sales in their parking lot across the street from the landmark pub, and their new recently opened brewery.

Thomas Burns, who had suffered from a heart attack after last year’s run, finished in good health and with an 11:47 mile, and increased his goal for his American Heart Association Fundraiser a number of times throughout the event which resulted in over $4000 raised for the AHA.

Prizes were awarded in various age categories including an 80 and over category won by Jack Matheson. Matheson ran the race in an impressive 55 minutes.

Members of the South Buffalo Rugby team volunteered their time assisting the Old First Ward Community Center with post-race clean up.

“The Shamrock Run is really a community event where neighbors and friends volunteer to host this great run to help us to continue to serve this wonderful community,” stated Director Laura Kelly.

With the success of another Shamrock Run another St. Patrick’s Day season is well underway in the Buffalo area.

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