Every race that Charlie Breagy creates appears to turn to gold.
The past few months in Providence, his Monster Mini Dash 5K on Halloween and his Downtown Jingle 5K a couple of weeks ago, drew more than 2,000 participants to the starting line. His annual Ocean State Cross-Country Invitational has 5,000-plus high school and middle-school runners congregating at Goddard Park in mid-October.
Then, of course, thereâ€™s the mega-popular CVS Caremark Downtown 5K that Breagy founded with his running buddies at Providence College. That race attracts more than 10,000 to the Capital City each September.
Coming early next year will be the R.I. road racing guruâ€™s latest event and it appears like it has potential to strike gold, too.
Or, in keeping with its theme, perhaps a Pot of Gold.
In celebration of the St. Patrickâ€™s Day holiday, the Ireland-born Breagy has created the Tour de Patrick, a trilogy of road races that will occupy the first three weekends of March. The three-race series includes the inaugural Irish 5K in Pawtucket (March 5) and
the Celtic 5K in Worcester (March 13), another first-time event, as well as the third annual St. Patâ€™s 5K in Providence (March 19).
Runners and walkers can compete in one, two or all three of the races. There are a few incentives for those who wish to participate in all three and â€ścompleteâ€ť the Tour. The first is an increased wardrobe. Participants will receive a T-shirt for each race, including a fourth, tri-colored long-sleeve Tech shirt for finishing the Tour. The registration fee will also be discounted by competing in all three events and early entries (the first 1,000) will receive Tech shirts for all their races.
For the more serious-minded runners, theyâ€™ll also have a chance to win a trip to Ireland by being declared the overall winner of the Tour De Patrick. How that happens is times from each of the races will be accumulated and the lowest combined time among the top male and female runners will win the Tour and their vacation to the Emerald Isle in 2012 where theyâ€™ll be entered in two major races â€” the Aramagh International and the Ras Na hEireann.
â€śRight now, we have nearly 500 entries for all three races and about 35 percent are running all three,â€ť Breagy said. â€śItâ€™s getting a lot of interest.â€ť
Based on the success of the St. Patâ€™s 5K, which annually draws more than 3,500 entries and takes place prior to the cityâ€™s popular and longstanding St. Patrickâ€™s Day Parade, Breagy felt his other two sites for the Tour De Patrick only made sense. The Irish 5K and the Celtic 5K also prelude traditional parades celebrating St. Pattyâ€™s Day.
All the courses are basically an out-and-back loop on their respective parade routes. For the Pawtucket event, it will start and finish at the City Hall on Roosevelt Avenue and will follow a moderately-challenging course that will wind through the streets and even pass McCoy Stadium.
â€śI really like the city,â€ť Breagy said. â€śI think the architecture in Pawtucket is some of the best I have seen in the country. Plus, thereâ€™s a great Irish heritage in Pawtucket.â€ť
Due to the width of the streets, there is a limit of 4,000 participants for the Irish 5K and the St. Patâ€™s 5K. There is no cap on the Celtic 5K in Worcester.
For additional information, check out the eventâ€™s website at tourdepatrick.com.