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40th Runnin O' the Green

For the past 39 years, people have gathered in Jamestown in March to participate in the Runnin O' the Green. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the pub crawl and is expected to include more people and raise more funds than the first event on...

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Larry Knoblich, founder and organizer of the Runnin O’ the Green, said he hopes to have 2,000 participants this year during the 40th anniversary of the event that raises funds for people who have cancer and Elks Camp Grassick. John M. Steiner / The Sun

For the past 39 years, people have gathered in Jamestown in March to participate in the Runnin O' the Green. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the pub crawl and is expected to include more people and raise more funds than the first event on March 17, 1979.

"We started with mostly teachers and coaches," said Larry Knoblich, founder and organizer of the event. "We hope to be close to 2,000 runners this year."

Many factors play a part in the attendance at the Runnin O' the Green.

"This year it falls on Saint Paddy's day just like the first one," Knoblich said. "That may actually reduce attendance as Fargo has a parade that day."

Weather could also be a factor, although the long-term forecast from Accuweather calls for partly cloudy skies and a high of 31 degrees.

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Knoblich said the event grew slowly with a handful of friends in 1979.

"Even in 1985, we still had about 40 runners," he said. "When I started, the farthest thing from my mind is we'd have thousands."

Last year, the event had about 1,725 registered participants, according to a story published in The Jamestown Sun. About 30 people volunteered to assist with the Run and much of the Jamestown Police Department and Stutsman County Sheriff's Office patrolled the route.

"You could not do this without a police presence," Knoblich said. "Last year, we had reports of minor in possession (of alcohol). I think that was for the first time."

This year, Jamestown Police Department officers will be verifying driver's licenses at the sign-in table at Frontier Fort.

"I've asked the police to note if the people that are arrested were registered with the Run or a walk-on," Knoblich said. "I like to think that 98 out of 100 (arrested) would not be registered to participate in the Run."

For Knoblich, the event is more than just a lot of people wearing green and walking from bar to bar in Jamestown.

"I hope it is embraced as a community event," he said. "I know some think it's a bad thing because of the alcohol, but it all goes for good things."

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Funds raised during the Runnin O' the Green are donated to people who have cancer and to Elks Camp Grassick. Camp Grassick is operated by the Elks of North Dakota and provides summer camp experiences to adults and children with special needs.

Preregistration for The Run is $30 including a T-shirt and can be done at Wildside Creations up to the day before the race. Preregistration without a T-shirt is $10 and can be done at Cork & Barrel Liquors.

Registration from 4 to 9 p.m. on March 16 at the Elks Club and beginning at 11 a.m. at Frontier Fort on March 17 costs $10 and does not include a shirt.

The Runnin O' the Green officially begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at Frontier Fort. The route includes 11 bars and ends at the Gladstone Inn & Suites. Participants check in and consume one beverage at each location but are not required to drink alcohol at any point.

"The goal this year is $40,000 for the 40th anniversary," Knoblich said. "If I'm around for the 50th anniversary, the goal will be $50,000."

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