Run nears, Founder expects to have more than 2,000 take partThe 34th annual Runnin O’ the Green Saturday will be safe and successful, its organizer says, provided people use common sense, designated drivers and walkers — and the proverbial luck of the Irish.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
The 34th annual Runnin O’ the Green Saturday will be safe and successful, its organizer says, provided people use common sense, designated drivers and walkers — and the proverbial luck of the Irish.
“Be careful out there,” advised Larry Knoblich, founder and organizer of the annual charity run, which has participants stopping at nine pubs along an approximately 5K route (3.1 miles) through Jamestown.
The Runnin O’ the Green began quietly in 1979 with just 23 runners — plus an Irish priest and a dog — and has blossomed into a massive event raising funds for charity, spurring local business and inspiring people to socialize.
“It’s just kind of a neat event for the community,” said Dwaine Heinrich, Knoblich’s helper, who has participated in the run for more than 20 years, and creates a new mailing list of the previous year’s participants annually.
Last year, more than 1,800 people registered for the run. The 2011 event raised more than $20,000 for Elks Camp Grassick, a summer camp for children and adults with disabilities and special needs, and for local people with cancer.
This year, Knoblich hopes to raise $25,000 for Camp Grassick, and he expects to have more than 2,000 runners, each of whom will pay $10 to race. About 30 volunteers help make the event possible, including the Elks Club and the Elkettes.
“I don’t think the city can handle much bigger of an event,” Knoblich said. “I think we’re about as big as we can stand to be.”
Participants may register from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, before the start of the run at 2 p.m., but it would reduce stress on volunteers to register in advance, Knoblich said. That can be done during business hours at Wildside Creations or Cork & Barrel, or from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Shady’s.
On Saturday, the run begins at 2 p.m., with about 300 to 400 runners taking off every 10 minutes. The final stop is Trax.
Though there are nine pub stops along the way, Knoblich strongly discouraged participants from drinking alcohol at every single one of them.
“We understand the problems with binge drinking,” he said. “We discourage binging, because you can have a lot of fun without destroying your brain tissue.”
It would be just as easy for runners to drink water or pop at each location instead of alcohol, Knoblich added.
The Jamestown Police Department will be out in force, similar to years past, said Scott Edinger, police chief.
All 29 people in the JPD will work that day, in three shifts, with a few less in the morning.
“Most of our calls for service early are minor things,” Edinger said. “As the night goes on, we generally get a few assaults later in the evening.”
The crowd is generally very well-behaved, however, he added.
“We would ask (people), if they’re out driving around and sightseeing, to watch for people crossing streets, and know that a lot of these people aren’t sober,” Edinger said.
Some of the heaviest traffic on the day of the run is generally in the downtown area. Some streets, including Second Street South, between Second Avenue East and Second Avenue West, will be closed off to provide more room for vendors.
Both Second Avenues will be open all the way through. First Avenue will be open, with the possible exception of the street in front of the Elks and Vining Oil buildings, which were damaged in a fire Feb. 18. City officials are working with the insurance companies involved with the property.
“Obviously we don’t want anybody drinking and driving, and there’s plenty of opportunities to get rides — and we hope that everybody would choose that, or walk,” Edinger said.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org