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SPAR Craic 10k 2021
On St Patrick’s Day 2020, the postponement of the annual SPAR Craic 10K race signalled the arrival on these shores of a pandemic which would go on to stop the entire world in its tracks.
But a year later, the beaming faces on the St Patrick’s Day 2021 Global Craic 10K participants told a story of a world daring to hope that, at last, it might just have Covid on the run.
For while the virus protocols prohibited the 2,000-strong run from City Hall today, the SPAR Craic 10K crew pivoted to host a global extravaganza. In every country in which green is worn on this special day for the Irish, runners were invited to complete a 5K or 10k and to post a photo on social media once they had crossed their personal finishing line.
As it turned out, over 600 local runners took part in the Global SPAR Craic 10K — the majority deferring their registrations from 2020 — but keeping pace with them were over 2,000 participants stretching across six continents and 40 countries.
And while the Irish global family had certainly been knocked down — and locked down — by the Coronavirus, it certainly hasn’t been knocked out. From Singapore and Scotland, Dubai and Dallas, Durban, Australia and Durban, South Africa, Guadalajara, Mexico, and Galway, Co Galway they put themselves through their Patron Saint’s Day paces.
In Australia and New Zealand, they had turned in for the night by the time the Craic 10K show went live from Belfast at 1pm but video messages from Down Under reflected growing optimism that the war against Covid was turning in humanity’s favour.
Impervious to Brexit, Craic 10K ambassadors were Zoomed into Belfast from Belgium, the Netherlands and France to pass on their St Patrick’s Day greetings and show off their race tee-shirts and medals.
In the US, the epicentre of St Patrick’s Day celebrations, the response was Olympian in nature. In Yonkers, New York, over 100 members of the Team Aisling Running Club gathered on Sunday to get their 5K in early while at Manhattan College in the Bronx, 47 students — a nod to the Great Hunger — set off this morning under the watchful eye of university President Brennan Patrick O’Donnell.
There were also dispatches from Belfast’s sister city of Nashville, Tennessee, from California, from New Jersey, from South Carolina and from over the border in Toronto, Canada, where the Kainos software team had lined out.
“It was the true St Patrick’s Day spirit,” said race director Connla McCann. “All our runners were overjoyed to be connected on St Patrick’s Day after a year when we have all been forced apart. I have no doubt this global element to the race will continue next year even though we are very much resolved to have our cast of thousands return to City Hall again in 2022.”
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