When you think of St. Patrick's Day, you probably don't imagine starting your morning with a 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) run. But for the residents of Morristown, N.J., that idea has become a tradition. According to current race director Heather Gardiner, the Morristown 5K was initially created in 2004 by local fitness outlet The Running Company to supplement the day's activities and has since grown into its own event. Like the rest of Morristown's official celebrations, the race falls on the Saturday closest to the actual holiday. But the fun doesn't stop when the race is run -- you can also enjoy the event's parade and pub crawl.
Although the holiday might seem like a strange occasion to run a race, organizers have seen increasing numbers every year [source: Compuscore]. While the majority of runners tend to stick with normal running gear, the race has seen costumes, green hair dye and other nods to the occasion, including a few leprechauns [source: Gardiner]. Of course, as you'd likely imagine, the official shirts and other paraphernalia follow the day's traditional green theme.
Registration opens up a couple of months before the race. You can pick up an early pass for $20, but if you wait until closer to the event's date, you'll pay $30. Each year, the proceeds go to a nonprofit or charity. In 2010, all earnings went to benefit the Morristown High School track and field teams and the Police Unity Bike Tour. The race doesn't leave kids out of the action -- for $10 children can sign up for a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) fun run, which takes place right after the official race.
If running isn't your idea of a fun way to spend the morning, the race welcomes walkers as well, and the route is diverse and interesting enough to warrant a slower pace.
If you're interested in starting your St. Patrick's Day with a little exercise, you're probably wondering what the race-day atmosphere is like in Morristown. We'll take a close look at the route in the next section, as well as the average temperature and overall climate.