Record run, Runnin O’ the Green gets 2,260 registrantsWith the bang of the starting pistol, a few runners loped down the hill to McElroy Park, followed by a crowd of hundreds, and then thousands of people celebrating the 34th annual Runnin O’ the Green.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
With the bang of the starting pistol, a few runners loped down the hill to McElroy Park, followed by a crowd of hundreds, and then thousands of people celebrating the 34th annual Runnin O’ the Green.
“I’m quite positive it’s the best turnout that we’ve ever had,” said Larry Knoblich, founder of the run, which has participants stopping at nine pubs over a 3.1-mile route through Jamestown. “It’s obviously growing every year…”
The 2,260 registered participants in the run raised $23,000 for Elks Camp Grassick and local people with cancer, and more donations from organizations involved are forthcoming.
“We feel so fortunate and privileged to be the recipient of these funds,” said Dan Mimnaugh, camp director at Elks Camp Grassick, adding this year’s funds will go toward new beds and mattresses.
Other charitable groups also benefit from the event. Jerry Iverson Construction’s Relay for Life team served as designated drivers on Saturday late into the evening, with all the money they received going ultimately to the American Cancer Society.
“It’s pretty good,” said Sue Schmuhl of Jamestown, who drove one of the five vehicles for the Relay team Saturday.
Last year, the team made $1,200 from their Runnin O’ the Green efforts.
Saturday’s attendance seemed to be boosted by the sunny, warm weather.
“I think it’s a great day for having fun. The sun is shining, it’s warm out, people are in good spirits. Life is good,” said Charlie Kourajian, Jamestown resident.
The warmth made for a muddy hill, but most participants avoided the mud and were grateful for the lack of ice.
“This year’s gonna be easy. There’s no snow,” pointed out Karmen Tees of Jamestown before the start.
Tees said the best part of the run is socializing, and meeting old friends that she doesn’t see very often.
For some, the run has become a family tradition.
Travis Ganser of Windsor, N.D., has participated every year since 2001, when he reached age 21 and started running it with his parents. This year, Ganser planned start the run with his cousins.
“The whole family’s going to meet us at the bottom of the hill to see if we survive,” Ganser said with a grin before the run began.
Seeing old friends is another major reason people join in the run, but many of the runners do remember their charitable cause.
“The biggest thing is all these people running for cancer,” Ganser said. “It’s for cancer, it’s for Camp Grassick.”
Some people make the run just for the fun of it.
“All my friends have been here before. I’m the guinea pig this year,” Cassie Anderson of Fargo said before the run started.
She said she expected a lot of drinking and “probably some shenanigans” — of the good variety.
To make dealing with the bad shenanigans simpler, the Jamestown Police Department set up a citation processing area in the parking lot of the Jamestown Fire Hall.
There, a secretary from the police department, the municipal court clerk and several officers together processed citations, said Lt. Bruce Judd — sometimes in as little time as three minutes.
“It gave us a lot more time to be out there and doing what we needed to do — just being seen, and stopping people from doing dumb stuff, or making poor decisions,” Judd said.
Every JPD officer worked Saturday, and the police had help from the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office, too.
Figures for citations and other incidents will be available later today.
Many responsible groups chose designated drivers, who also looked forward to the event.
“I get a few laughs from the run,” said Joanne Anderson of Jamestown, designated driver for her family, including her husband, Todd, and niece Audra Dykshoorn of Grand Forks. “I have all the stories.”
Runnin the route
The runners, clad in costumes of all kinds including green tutus, hospital scrubs and superhero outfits made it down the hill and across the bridge, where they were met by an ambulance on standby and a small crowd of spectators.
They were also met by Jim Carlascio, holding a sign proclaiming “Drink it here, drop it here, or risk a $50 fine” near a garbage can as anyone with an open container on city streets or sidewalks faced a citation for unlawful possession of alcohol.
“It’s a great day, let ’em have their fun,” Carlascio said.
Only a few people actually run the whole Runnin O’ the Green route. Dom Trom took first place of all the men who ran the route, with a time of 18:39:55. KayLene Hill took first place among the women, with 28:34:54.
Frank Conlon of Jamestown, a retired teacher and track coach, has been running in the Runnin O’ the Green for 32 years.
He forgot to time himself this year, but because the route has changed so many times over the years, the times wouldn’t be comparable anyway, he pointed out.
Conlon said he liked the camaraderie of the people involved in the run, and praised Knoblich for his efforts through the decades.
“(Knoblich) is just kind of a universal fun-loving guy that you always want to be like. He just loves people,” Conlon said, emphasizing the run’s charitable goal.
Delton Dietz of New Leipzig, N.D., who attended the event for the first time this year, said it was a very nice way to have a fundraiser.
“Every year is a good year, as long as it’s for a good cause, why not?” said Judy Lytle of Jamestown, who enjoys seeing all the costumes people wear every year.
Jessica Storlie of Jamestown, who works for the Wonder Bar, was busily selling Jell-O shots and the more-popular cherries with alcohol-infused whipped cream shortly after the run.
“Everyone’s been awesome. I hope it stays that way,” Storlie said Saturday afternoon.
Knoblich said the Runnin O’ the Green gets bigger every year, but he doubts it can expand much more.
“The big problem is, we just don’t have the facilities to house people, that many people … I think we’re just about as big as we can get, or about as big as we can stand to be,” Knoblich said.
The size of the event can be a draw for some participants.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger and better,” said Tim Newton of Jamestown after the event, who said he appreciated meeting all the people and the charitable nature of the run.
Cindy Clemens of Jamestown sewed a vest for her husband Jack especially for the Runnin O’ the Green. She said this was their third year in the run.
Jack was handing out beads and Irish flags along the route.
“We love this, this is great,” he said, smiling.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at email@example.com