The Wild Rover Irish Series—3 Races, 3 Sundays

*Editor’s Note: This is an event preview for the 2008 Wild Rover Irish Series and refers to the event details and descriptions from that year.

St. Patrick's Day is a great excuse for a party... For runners, this means both drinking and running. The Wild Rover Irish Series is one example of how to combine racing and partying. Increasing mileage each week (3-4-5) makes for a perfect spring schedule, with each race followed by a terrific party--for runners who truly want to have fun.

Here we go! There is a new race series coming to the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts--this is an awesome idea spawned in an Irish Pub. Everyone running this trio of events will enjoy unique finishing medals for each individual race, but those medals will fit together like a puzzle to create the terrific Irish Rover Series Medallion.

The races are progressive--three miles, then four, and finally five miles and you become a Wild Rover of the Valley. The series starts February 24 and runs three consecutive Sundays--you do not want to miss any of the three.

"Run the Emerald Necklace of the Merrimack Valley," and, "As easy as three-four-five", are a few of the series themes. But the primary theme is to have an absolute blast before, during and after each race. This series is an idea whose time has come, and you can bet that many a runner will be signing up for this innovative threesome just as soon as possible.

Each run and post-race party will be really awesome by themselves. And as a series it will just be an incredible combo. It will also be a great way to prepare for the rest of the spring racing season. This set will be about as much fun as you can possibly have while racing and training.

The events include two that are long-time races with lots of tradition, as well as a new one that will quickly become a classic. The three events progress upward in distance, as well as on the calendar; and for good measure they progress upstream on the Merrimack River. The Valley is one of the hotbeds for running in the entire USA, and also a hotbed of innovation. Each race, each city, and each establishment has its own unique personality. Together they add up to springtime fun for runners of every level. Save significantly by signing up for the series; everyone who does one race will definitely want to run them all.

A Great Race--Times Three

All three races are conveniently located in the Merrimack Valley and along Interstate 495. They are close to many runners in southern New Hampshire, the North Shore of Massachusetts and the Boston Metro Area. All three are an easy ride from western and southern New England, as well as Maine and Vermont. But like that card, they are priceless, really, and worth continental travel. There will be hot food and cold brews at each post race party, complimented by live Irish music. You may see a few bagpipers along the race courses. You will get terrific Irish-themed T-shirts for each race if you act quickly. All three races will be chip timed courtesy of Yankee Timing Company with accurate courses. All expected amenities will be there, including digital clocks at each mile, convenient aid stations, water stops, 10-year age groups, and much more. Each event will provide a wonderful racing experience.

The Races

The first event is a new one, right in the heart of historic Haverhill. It will be the J.P. McBride's Frozen Shamrock Three Miler, running from the Pub of the same name at 27 Lafayette Square in downtown. It runs on February 24th at 1:00 p.m.

Talk about a hotbed of running, Haverhill has a great running tradition, and sits on the New Hampshire/Massachusetts border. This event is destined to be a classic, and joins a long list of well known, well organized races in Haverhill. Pub owners John Lovett and Paul McAvoy are excited about hosting this series kick-off and new party race; everyone will enjoy the post-race celebration at this traditional Irish pub.

One week later the series moves upstream to another key running hotbed, the famous Claddagh Pub at 399 Canal Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts. The Claddagh Pub Four Miler will start at 11:00 a.m. on March 2, a mostly flat course with just one hill that drew tremendous praise in spring of 2007. Lawrence, city of mills and great running traditions, is home to the Claddagh Pub--long time sponsor and supporter of road races. The 15th annual Claddagh Pub Four Miler will host hundreds of runners, followed by a great party and terrific food in the spacious and traditional Irish establishment.

The third week, March 9, runners will enjoy the traditional Hynes Tavern Five Mile Road Race, starting at 1:00 p.m. from the famous Hynes at 467 Gorham Street, Lowell, Massachusetts. Talk about racing traditions, this town hosts more races than any other city in the USA. This historic city has produced many celebrities as well as many great runners. The Hynes hosted the first ever Irish Pub race in the Merrimack Valley in 1980 and the traditions have grown ever since. They use the same course that started it all 28 years ago. In the event of inclement weather, organizers will have a large heated tent to house all the post race festivities, where runners can party and enjoy the music and the brews no matter the March conditions. You can expect both a fun time and some unexpected additions to close out the three-week series.

They Know Races--They Know Runners

The organizers of this three-event, three-week series have a tremendous amount of experience putting on races and offering post race parties. Planning and preparation will be top shelf, and you can bet that they know what runners need and want. This is a series by runners, for runners.

With this quick series, three weeks and you'll be wearing that unique medallion in no time.

Visit our slideshow of St. Patrick's Day Runs.

Are you in? Remember, sign up for the series and save.

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