Call it the world’s shortest race or maybe the most participant friendly, and it’s back for an 18th year in La Crosse this Friday — the St. Patty’s Day .01K.
If you’re in Ireland, that’s 10 meters, but here in the U.S., that’s 32.8 feet. The race, put on by 95.7 the Rock, will feature everything you normally see in those 5- and 10-kilometer events — plus more but doing less.
“There’s some pomp and circumstance, if you will,” Jean Taylor, co-host of The Morning Sickness on the Rock, told WIZM’s La Crosse Talk. “A little bit of stretching, and then we play the National Anthem and some Chariots of Fire to get everybody in the mood before we start the race.”
ST. PATTY’S DAY .01K
WHEN: 4 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Check in at Brothers Bar on Pearl Street
REGSTER: Register online here for best chance shirt
Taylor mentioned there will be a pace car, which is actually a truck — a truck that might be longer than the race itself. There will be a hydration station, for those who need a water break midway through the race. A free St. Patty’s Day-themed shirt to prove you participated. Plus, that post-run free beer, that is so vital to the athletes partaking.
It’s also a race for a great cause, with proceeds going to the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse, which provides food for 118 pantries, meal sites and youth groups in the area. It’s the only food bank between Madison and Rochester.
The origins of the race aren’t hard to imagine — a bunch of “not-runners” wanted a race of their own.
“It started to kind of tongue and cheek all the marathons — that are great causes and awesome and people should participate in — but this is no training required,” Taylor said. “We were like, ‘Hey, none of us really participate in these kinds of races, but here’s one we can all do. And we feel confident that we could start and finish.”
Being this is the 18th year of the .01K, hosting a race that long — and short — Taylor has seen it all in terms of who or what crosses the finish line.
“We’ve had people do it on those hippity hop balls,” Taylor said. “They’ve bounced through it. We had a very limber woman — she could walk on her hands. She did the race on her hands.”
“My favorite, I think, might have been the relay team because they literally just stood a few feet apart and handed the baton to each other, and nobody moved, and they finished the race — which is super clever.”
Along with the possibility of a shirt, the first 250 people signed up also score a drinking glove from Thorson Graphics. Those will be handed out at check in inside Brothers Bar, where a free beer certificate will also be given out.
Sponsors include Paul’s Heating and Air Conditioning, as well as Sleepy Hollow Auto for providing the official .01K “pace car,” along with help from Schneider Accounting and Tax, River Valley Remodelers and April Carrier Insurance Agency.