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Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5K celebrates 25 years and a new location

For 25 years, the Achilles St. Patrick’s Day Run has been a tradition on Toronto’s running calendar. This Irish-themed event, offering both 5K and 10K races, has provided runners with an opportunity to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a fun and active way, all while supporting a noble cause. Now, as the event marks its milestone anniversary, it’s making a move to a brand-new location: the Don Valley Brick Works.

“The past 24 years have been unforgettable, but we felt it was time for a change,” says race director and president of Achilles International Canada, Brian McLean. “This move opens up new possibilities for our event, allowing us to accommodate more runners and create a traffic and construction-free route.”

Achilles 5K run
The Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run. Photo: Jason Dam

The St. Patrick’s Day Run is organized by Achilles International Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering those with disabilities through running. Under McLean’s leadership, the event has grown in size and significance. Last year, the race raised nearly $30,000 for Achilles athletes.

The decision to relocate came from a few logistical challenges the race faced at the previous downtown venue, Steam Whistle Brewery, including road closures and construction near Rogers Centre (home of the Toronto Blue Jays). “The Don Valley Brick Works provide ample space for the event’s growth, with the added bonus of a flat and scenic route that promises an enjoyable running experience for all,” says McLean. “This year, we’re on track to reach our highest attendance yet, with over 1,500 runners expected to join us on March 17.”

In addition to a new location, the Achilles St. Patrick’s Day Run has a new lineup of sponsors, including Rally Beer Co. by Muskoka Brewery, and of course, the iconic Lucky Charms cereal (General Mills). The Lucky Charms mascot, Lucky, will participate in the Kids 1K and challenge Larkin the Leprechaun for all the gold coins. The event also maintains its partnership with On, the Swiss running brand that supports Achilles Canada’s mission by providing footwear for athletes. “When an Achilles athlete logs 500 kilometres, On graciously donates a new pair of running shoes,” says McLean. “They have also continued to support our race financially and will provide overall winners of the 5K and 10K races with new pairs of On footwear.”

Achilles 5K Run
Ben Flanagan and Achilles athlete Radane Wright at last year’s Achilles 5K run. Photo: Jason Dam

One of the storylines with this year’s race is the participation of Achilles athlete Radane Wright, an accomplished runner who is visually impaired and who is aiming for a sub-20-minute 5K. Wright will be guided by one of Team Canada’s top distance runners, Kieran Lumb. “This partnership is a testament to the inclusive spirit of our event,” says McLean. “We’re not just running for ourselves; we’re running to support each other and make a difference in the lives of others.”

McLean says all participants are encouraged to wear green, as there will be prizes awarded to the best-dressed Irish-themed runners. Spots are still available for this year’s Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5K and 10K on Sunday, March 17. Sign up here.



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