Runners were seeing green during the 12th annual Shamrock Run
Courtesy of Saint Patrick's Parade Committee
Green colored apparel filled the streets of the Tipperary Hill district in Syracuse on Saturday, benefitting a cause, which once plagued the Irish.
The 12th annual Tipperary Hill Shamrock Run wrapped up in frigid conditions, but runners who have trained in the cold this winter were untroubled. The race raised $3,500 from online donations and the committee is still tallying race day donations which will benefit the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee’s Hunger Project.
“The famine is what forced many people to leave Ireland, so it makes sense to us,” said Janice McKenna, president of the Tipperary Hill Neighborhood Association. “And now we have hungry people in our own neighborhoods.”
Nearly 3,000 people took to the streets to represent the Irish culture of Tipp Hill, as it’s commonly referred to. Unlike most races, the four-mile course is filled with hills, reaching its pinnacle on Hamilton Street where runners can overlook the city of Syracuse.
Bands played on street corners for the runners. In years past, Syracuse University’s student-run pep band Sour Sitrus Society would play on street corners, but could not this year due to conflict with SU men’s home basketball game against Georgia Tech.
“Even neighbors are hanging off their porch, banging pots and pans and such just to let the runners know that people are cheering them on,” McKenna added.
The first Shamrock Run had 800 runners, and has more than tripled since. Word of mouth and social media have been key for the race committee. Also, the race is marketed as a chance to warm up after a cold winter and prepare for the Mountain Goat Run, a 10-mile run in early May with much more slope than the Shamrock route.
The run attracts some serious runners who finish four miles at a pace of five minutes a mile, said McKenna, but there are also walkers and others in between. Sam Morse, 33, of Camden, New York, was the first male to cross the finish line after 20:03. Laurel Leone, 32, of Minoa, New York, placed first in the female group at 23:51. The St. Patrick’s Day-themed run features a singing of the Irish blessing before the race kicks off. The run does not serve beer on the premises, McKenna added.
Besides collecting several barrels full of food, the race also benefitted the Boys and Girls Club, the town library, three local schools and the Tipperary Hill Neighborhood Association.
“It’s not just the Tipperary Hill community that has helped — it’s central New York in general,” said Janet Higgins, St. Patrick’s Parade Committee president who works with the hunger fund. “We have the most generous people in the country. I’m absolutely convinced of that.”
The Tipp Hill community is largely formed by people who immigrated to the United States from County Tipperary in Ireland. Those whose ancestors once escaped the famine have learned to give back in way near and dear to their heart.
The Irish immigrated in search of work and followed their family members to central New York after arriving in New York City. They soon found jobs alongside Germans when the Erie Canal was being built from Albany to Buffalo in the 1820s. They have made Tipperary Hill their own, and the infrastructure and culture has been formed over time to mock that of Dublin.
“It’s got the hills,” McKenna said. “The houses in the neighborhood were designed to be close together, and that was really something the people up here wanted because it reminded them of Dublin. Plus, Ireland is lakes and hills and that’s what we have around here.”
While the large waves of Irish immigration have subsided, nearly 30 percent of the Tipperary Hill area still derives from Irish ancestry, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The community has several landmarks including the oldest bar in Syracuse, famous pubs like Coleman’s, intricate churches and — the most historic of all — the only “green on top traffic light” in the world. The route has been designed and professionally measured by Race Director Eileen Murray to pass all these staples.
For the 12th consecutive year, the run has garnered large crowds, in turn bringing charitable benefits to the region. Even on one of the coldest days this winter, people enjoyed the spirited atmosphere with their neighbors, friends and family.
“We have an advantage because when you say, ‘Tipperary Hill’ to someone, they immediately think ‘fun,’” McKenna said. “So they just assume that anything we do up here is going to be fun, and we are known for our hospitality.”
Published on March 8, 2017 at 8:06 pm