Tir Na Nog Irish Pub and their nOg Run Club sponsored the annual St. Paddy’s Day 8K and Kilt Run in downtown Raleigh last Saturday afternoon. The Monday night nOg Run Club is one of the largest, if not the largest, run club in the area. The run was heavily promoted leading up to the event on social media and runners were encouraged to don kilts to help break the Guinness World Record for largest kilt run, currently held by a run in Perth, Canada. Since Mike and I are planning to stay in Raleigh for awhile, we invested in quality Sport Kilts, which were discounted for runners of this race.
Although packet pick-up was offered the Thursday and Friday evening prior to the race at a local running store, Fleet Feet, Mike and I just got to Moore Square early on Saturday to pick up our packets. We arrived downtown around noon, finding street parking right by the start/finish (love Raleigh and the plentiful parking). There’s also a large parking garage right by Moore Square. Packet pick-up was a breeze with no line. The A4 brand short-sleeve tech shirts were in both male and female fits and pretty cute!
Moore Square was pretty festive with non-stop live Irish music, exhibitor and vendor booths, plenty of seating, and food/drinks for sale. If you forgot your kilt, you could buy one right at Moore Square or shop for kilt accessories.
Although the actual 8K didn’t start until 3 pm, the Guinness World Record Kilt Run began at 2 pm, with runners encouraged to line up around 1 pm. There were Guinness reps recording kilt runners entering the corrals and counting everyone, checking to make sure the kilts were regulation – a buckle or belt and knee-length. Once in the corral area, Mike and I noticed it wasn’t completely fenced off so kilt runners were entering the area and not necessarily going through the official entrance and counting toward the record. A large bagpipe and drum band entertained the kilt runners waiting until 2 pm start time. It was actually pretty entertaining to check out everyone’s outfits and kilts.
The kilt run was maybe a quarter of a mile. I didn’t use my Garmin watch since it was so short and we were going pretty slowly. No one seemed to really be “racing” it. The kilt run was very family friendly and more of a fast parade than a serious run.
My kilt was a little large but I didn’t have time to send it back to Sport Kilt to have it tailored. It worked but just moved around a bit when I ran and looked a little funny. A great thing about the Sport Kilts is that there’s a deep pocket in the front, so I stashed my phone in there during the 8K.
We had some time to kill before the 8K. We used the bathrooms, checked out the vendors and I ate a Picky bar. I also debated for awhile on whether or not to wear my kilt for the 8K (decided to so I could put my phone in the pocket). We also ran into some Blue Run Club members. Check out this cool water and 2-flavor Gatorade dispenser at the race finish:
We lined up at 2:50 pm for the race. Since it’s not a huge race (2000 runners), there weren’t any designated pace corrals so we tried to get sort of close to the front. My Garmin literally took 10 minutes to get the GPS signal but latched on just in time for the start. The first quarter of a mile was pretty packed but the crowd quickly thinned out. After seeing my time for the first mile, I had to remind myself I was running an 8K, not a 5K. But I was still feeling pretty good so told myself I’d just slow down if I got tired. The rolling hills were tough. I don’t know if I will ever get used to Raleigh hills! I tried to take my mind off the hills by really focusing on my music and enjoying the downhills.
I did really like the out-and-back course through Raleigh neighborhoods. There were quite a few spectators, especially at The Station, a cool restaurant/bar in an old gas station with lots of outdoor seating. We also really lucked out with the weather! I think it was mid-60s during the race, which felt pretty hot actually since I’m used to running in colder weather now. The last 3/4 of a mile was rough because we ran by Moore Square where the finish line/festival was being held, heading further south before looping back to Moore Square and the finish. I just wanted to be done by that point! The finish line was in sight for the final stretch of the race. I felt like I was really dragging at this point but tried just to keep my time below 8:00 min/mile. The crowd of spectators at the finish gave me a burst of energy to give it a final push to the finish line.
I saw Mike right away when I crossed the finish. I needed to sit down ASAP (even though this probably isn’t the best thing to do right after running pretty fast) and relax for a few minutes. We decided to grab our free beers before the line got too long; it was so well organized that I’m not sure the line ever got long though! There were four different types of local craft beers to choose from, already placed in their Koozies.
Precision Race Results had a booth set up where you could print your results immediately – pretty cool! I saw I came in 2nd for my age group! We hung out with Blue Run Club members until the awards ceremony at 4:30 pm on the stage. I also found the food and drinks which I didn’t notice right after I finished. I grabbed a water and bagel pieces. All the Raleigh races so far (Ridgewood Turkey Trot, Run for Roses, Run Green) have had amazing post-race bagels in a variety of flavors! Once the sun started to set, the temps dropped quickly so we grabbed jackets from our car, conveniently just a block away! An announcement was made that, unfortunately, we didn’t break the Guinness World record – maybe next year! Awards were given to top female and male overall, masters and best costume (group and individual). I assumed they just weren’t going to give prizes to age group winners but heard from a nOg run club member the next day that age group winners get Fleet Feet gift cards. I must have missed an announcement or something about it so I just picked mine up in the store this past week.
– Gender specific tech t-shirt and medal
– Logistics – very well run race!
– Post-race craft beer and koozie
– Live Irish music
– Family friendly
– 3 pm start (I’m just not a huge fan of the middle of the day races)