BEVERLY — Those who arrive early to secure a prime spot for the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade will be treated to a foot race as well.
The Emerald Isle Mile starts at 11:30 a.m. March 13 — just 30 minutes ahead of the 2016 parade, said Beverly Lynch, who organizes the race with Jim Pacente.
The pair own Running Excels at 10328 S. Western Ave. in Beverly and have been coordinating the one-mile race since the parade returned from its two-year hiatus in 2012.
"We are hoping to get more active participation from the spectators," said Lynch, adding that the crowd should considerably larger at 11:30 a.m. compared to the previous 11 a.m. start.
The race along Western Avenue will also change direction this year, beginning at 104th Street and heading south to 112th Street. Historically, the runners have traveled north along this same route, Lynch said.
To make it all work, participants are required to finish the race in 15 minutes or less, and the field is limited to 500 runners. It takes about 15 minutes to take down the timing devices used for the race, Lynch said.
The top male and female finishers receive a $50 gift certificate to Running Excels, as does anyone who breaks the course record of 4 minutes, 32 seconds. The top male and female finishers in each of the nine age categories also receive $25 gift certificates.
Proceeds from the race go to support the parade. Lynch said parade organizers have truly embraced the race as it helps to promote the family-friendly atmosphere that event has cultivated since its return.
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