Downtown Crowd

Going for Gold

STRETCHING JUST OVER three miles, which is about two and a half Irish miles, McGuire’s 38th Annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run will begin and end in front of the Irish pub on East Gregory Street. Although there isn’t a pot o’ gold waiting at the finish line, participants can still compete for the gold in the form of first-place trophies and awards for individual and team speed, prediction and costume contests. Since it takes more than luck o’ the Irish to make the annual run happen, here’s how the McGuire’s team works to get the event up and running.

Using the same route as last year, the run will take participants in lots of loops and turns around Downtown Pensacola on Saturday, March 14. Proceeds from the run go to the Injured Marines Semper Fi fund, Pensacola Police Department’s Explorer program, as well as Troop 104 of the Boy Scouts. You can expect to see at least 1,500 Marines supporting the McGuire’s cause and sporting the color green while they run in formation for the race.

To keep in theme with the holiday, Custom Basket Balloons supplies St. Patty’s Day decorations including the massive arch at the start line, as well as various balloon towers adorning the exterior of McGuire’s Pub. Signs, banners and booth décor are arranged by McGuire’s staff, who begin decorating the property at 3 am on the day of the race.

“We actually start planning for the next year’s race two weeks after we have finished the current run,” said Perry Hunter, assistant general manager of Pensacola’s McGuire’s. “We discuss what went right and what went wrong, and come up with ideas to correct what went wrong. In the fall we start laying out the groundwork with the city, finalize and order our race shirts, and work on our race application and website.”

The after-party will carry on until noon, and over a thousand gallons of Irish Wakes, a hundred kegs of beer, eight kegs of homemade root beer, and hundreds of liters of soda are ordered and served as beverages for post-race partiers at McGuire’s. Chef Tingle and his crew will also prepare two and half tons of beef and barley stew with over 16,000 Sister Schubert rolls. Hundreds of pounds of oranges and bananas are also ordered and offered to after partiers.

In addition, Bagelheads donates breakfast bagels by the thousands, Krispy Kreme contributes by sending 3,000 donuts, and S & D Coffee supplies 100 gallons of hot java. McGuire’s sponsors the annual St. Patty’s Day run with the help of Bagelheads, Bud Light, Coca-Cola and Kentwood, who donate their time and products to the race.

“Come down for a few hours and have some fun, listen to some great music and have a beer or a wake with a friend or a stranger,” said Perry. “Rich McDuff and his Irish Review is a concert that should not be missed. McGuire’s Bagpipe Band will also captivate the crowd with music you didn’t think could be played on bagpipe. In other words, come and get your Irish on.”

If you’re ready to compete for the gold, get your Irish jig on, and support local organizations while you do, then check out McGuire’s online events page for information and registration at