Getting fit for spring has never been so fun. With three races of various distances, personalized bibs, artistically designed interlocking medals and Irish-themed post-race parties, the Wild Rover Racing Series is sure to get your Irish eyes a-smiling! Registration for all races opens on January 6, and all three are expected to sell out. Each of the three race medals interlock with each other for a really cool and unique lucky charm. Visit www.runthewildrover.com to sign up today. Three weeks and three races give you triple the fun.
The Frozen Shamrock 3-MilerThe Wild Rover Racing Series kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 27, with the 4th annual Frozen Shamrock 3-miler through Haverhill and Bradford, Massachusetts. Sponsored by J.P. McBride's Irish Pub, the Frozen Shamrock has become wildly popular, and race director and series organizer Dave Camire continues to innovate so the event evolves and remains a local favorite.
This year, packet pick-up and pre-race preparations will take place at St. Joseph's school, located right around the corner from J.P. McBride's—giving runners a warm place to hang, stretch out and mentally train for the infamous hills of Haverhill. Runners will also have access to four times as many porto-potties compared to last year. This year's race will also feature timing mats at each mile marker, so you can push it or pace it as you see fit.
There's a traditional Irish blessing that begins with the line, "May the road rise up to meet you." And much like that blessing, the road actually does rise up to meet you at the Frozen Shamrock 3-miler. The first mile starts off with what many runners refer to as a "monster hill," then eases up a bit for the second mile with some smaller rolling hills. The last mile brings relief with a fast downhill finish, where you can run right into the J.P. McBride's Irish Pub to celebrate with food, libations and some live music.
The Claddagh Pub 4-MilerThe second race in the Wild Rover Series—the 18th annual Claddagh Pub 4 Miler—starts at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 6 on Canal Street in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Sponsored by and starting at the Claddagh Pub, the race heads out of downtown on a flat mile-long stretch before you travel out to the Tower Hill area and hit a challenging, though short "knee-kissing" hill at mile two. The remainder of the race rolls and meanders through the legendary mill city before heading back to the Claddagh Pub.
This year, race organizers have added a timing mat at the halfway point. And with the hill out of the way after mile two, you can really aim for a negative split on the second half. The race ends and the festivities begin at the Claddagh Pub with hot food and cold drinks to toast your efforts. You can also do a little post-race celebratory jig to the music of The Gobshites, a popular local Irish/punk band familiar with taking the main stage at the Claddagh.
The Hynes Tavern 5-MilerThe final race of the series, the Hynes Tavern 5 Miler, which hits the streets of downtown Lowell, Massachusetts, on Sunday, March 13 at 11 a.m. "The Hynes," as it's become known, holds a high place in the Merrimack Valley Road Race history books. Now in its 30th year, the Hynes has run on the same fairly flat course since it began in 1980. And the 5-mile distance makes it the ideal early spring fitness test after building up your mileage the past two weekends at the Frozen Shamrock and the Claddagh.
Although this race has been around for ages, the Wild Rover series organizers continue to up the ante on its greatness. This year, the Hynes Tavern 5 Miler will feature start and finish line bridges, mile-by-mile timing mats and a traffic-free running lane. All participants are treated like running royalty before, during and after each event in the series.