BRADENTON -- The beers were already flowing and the bagpipe band was already warming up the pipes, when racers took off running Saturday, many dressed all in green, hoping to have the luck of the Irish.
Dozens and dozens of runners participated in the third annual Shamrock Run/Walk &Pub Crawl in downtown Bradenton Saturday afternoon.
Many were in the field to put their speed to the test.
Just as many others were in it for a good time -- including the green beer at the finish line.
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Maura Russell, of Anna Maria Island, and her husband were competing for the first time, she said, as she sipped a brew while racers were lining up. Having read about the downtown race in the newspaper, she said she was very excited.
"It's just beautiful down here," Russell said.
Not planning to run the whole time, unlike her husband, she said she was still hoping to make good time.
"I'm in it for fun," Russell said.
Following the race, she and her husband were looking forward to attending the beer garden.
New to Bradenton, Harry Williams, was a first-timer at the Shamrock 5K but not a first-time racer.
"I think this wonder
ful," Williams said looking around at the starting line. "The race was great. I hope I do half as well as they did."
Since becoming a Bradenton resident three months ago, he said he has already found it a great place to live and is amazed by how much there is to do in the community.
"There's more to do in this little town than there is anywhere, including L.A.," Williams said.
Adults weren't the only ones decked out in green and having fun running.
Before the 5K and pub crawl got under way, the Leprechaun races lured the 3- to 12-year-old set.
Taveon Pescuma, 9, was super excited, he said, as he lined up, waiting for the race to begin. And he wasn't the only one in his family competing; his father and brother were also running, he said.
"I just wanted to do it," Taveon said.
Taveon was also looking forward to wearing his race shirt to his school, Annie Lucy Williams Elementary School, on Monday, his mom said.
Emily Peralta, 9, was fully in the festive spirit, dressed head to toe in green to get a head start on St. Patrick's Day, which is Tuesday.
No stranger to races and with only a couple of minutes to race time, she was feeling nervous and uncommunicative.
"She runs 5Ks and triathlons with me all the time," said her mom, Lisa Sprague.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-7457049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.