Traverse City Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K Laces Up Over 1,000 Runners

“I think it’s a great way for people to kick off their St. Patrick’s Day celebration.”

A sea of green and gold flooded downtown Traverse City with running shoes on Saturday morning.

It’s a St. Patrick’s Day tradition that brings out the leprechaun in everyone involved.

The 8th annual Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K race brought record numbers to Traverse City’s Warehouse District and that was just where they started.

The run took participants, young and old, across the city.

“Everybody’s having fun because it’s St. Patrick’s Day,” says Kyle Kiel, who competed.

From hats to shoes to bagpipe music, the Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K is as St.-Paddy’s-festive as it gets.

“It’s been fantastic,” says Michelle Elliott, race director. “This is such a family-friendly event so even if you are not a runner. I see people with their strollers, people out walking. I think everyone in Northern Michigan is just ready to get out.”

This year,the number of runners topped the charts… over 1,000.

“It’s exciting, very exciting,” said a group of women waiting to run. “Everybody’s friendly, helpful. Everybody’s having fun.”

Jodi Hummel, who’s ran the Leprechaun before, brought her son, Dax, along.

“I love the green. I love the energy,” Hummel says. “I just like being in the crowd and feeling everyone being excited about doing something together.”

Others, like Kiel, are in it to win it.

He finished first.

“It hurts. It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy it,” Kiel says. “I heard [the man] behind me the whole time so I knew I had to kick the entire race.”

“To hear some of the stories, too, inspirational stories,” Elliott says. “Traverse City has such a runner-friendly community.”

All the while, doing it responsibly, and every cent spent goes towards the National Cherry Festival.