SOUTH PORTLAND – A brand-new race is being held the day before St. Patrick’s Day. Created by GiddyUp Events & Rentals, the inaugural Thirsty Leprechaun 5K is scheduled to take place Saturday, March 16, in South Portland.

The 5K will begin and end at American Legion Post 35, at 413 Broadway. It will take runners north to Bug Light Park, and then back down the Greenbelt Pathway. Beer will be provided by Foulmouthed Brewing, whose owners are good friends with the GiddyUp team.

Erik Boucher is the owner of GiddyUp Events & Rentals and is always eager to reach out to Maine-based businesses when putting together a race.

“We’re a local company,” Boucher said. “We want to involve local breweries for this type of thing. This will be the first time that anybody’s used this course and this venue, which has superlative views. We’re excited about trying it out.”

GiddyUp has been in operation since 2011. Since then it has organized a number of races in Maine, including the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon & 5K in Portland. Typically, a significant part of proceeds are donated to charities and local organizations.

The team recently began working on events in South Portland, where they are based; the city previously hosted very few running events. The inaugural Foulmouthed New Year’s Mile, which was held in January, brought in 372 finishers.

These races have a different crowd than more well-known events such as the Beach to Beacon held in August in Cape Elizabeth. This time of year, fewer runners are willing to travel than in warmer months, so attendance is generally lower than it would be for GiddyUp’s summer events.

“For our other races, the bigger ones, 70 percent of the people come from outside of Maine,” Boucher said. “These are destination races. But here in South Portland, mainly it will be for local folks.”

Organizing such a race involves careful planning and coordination with the city and police department. It is also important to warn people of traffic delays and amplified sound ahead of time. Preparation requires items such as forklifts, traffic cones, tents, tables, finish line trusses and plenty of water bottles.

Boucher described GiddyUp’s events as a “festival atmosphere,” with music, an announcer and an enthusiastic crowd of participants. It is more of a “hobby race” than a serious competition, and everybody is looking to have fun. Instead of a medal, runners will receive a 16 oz. mug and a Thirsty Leprechaun beanie hat. Another incentive is the waterfront view, from both Bug Light and the finish line. This 5K will have a unique St. Patrick’s Day theme.

“We live here, we run here, we love running here,” Boucher said. “It’s our contribution to the town, and to the running community here. It is a brand new course, a brand new venue, that people will have the opportunity to run on. Afterwards they can enjoy the view and have a good time with their friends.”

Boucher and the team has other ideas for the future, including another South Portland race in July. This latest event will show them what works, and what can be improved upon.

For more information on the Thirsty Leprechaun 5K, contact Erik Boucher at 210-8655.

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