HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — With a week remaining for registration, as of Thursday (February 14) 220 people had signed up to take part in the First Ever First Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K® footrace. The race will be part of the activities surrounding the First Ever 16th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® in Hot Springs the weekend of March 15 – 17.
The deadline for entry is Friday, March 1, at 11:59pm CST.
“We were uncertain how many people would be interested in this little event when we began planning, so we are really pleased to see that a good-size crowd plans to take part,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the organizers of the 299-foot race, which will take place Friday evening, March 15, at 6 p.m. on world-famous 98-foot-long Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs.
“And we still have a week to go for people to enter the race.
“Our race will cover a course that is 299 feet long, one foot shorter than the granddaddy of all Zero K runs — the Wacky Florida Keys Cow Key Channel Bridge Run that is 300 feet long. Of course, that still makes our Zero K three times longer than the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® itself.”
“The St. Patrick’s Zero K® is designed for athletes who do not like to get up early or break a sweat,” Arrison said.
“The beauty part of the race is that every cent of the registration fees goes to CASA [the Court Appointed Special Advocates organization that serves foster children in Garland, Hot Spring and Grant Counties],” he said. “The expenses for putting on the Zero K are being picked up by our sponsor, Michelob Ultra and Arkansas Beverage Sales of Hot Springs.”
CASA is handling the pre-race registration for the race and will receive all proceeds from the $25 entry fee.
Jay Castillo of Arkansas Beverage Sales said, “I absolutely share the organizers’ vision of making the Zero K Footrace a must-do event for all athletes in the Natural State, no different than the Little Rock Marathon, Summit2Summit Half Marathon, and The Running of the Tubs.”
The Zero K entry fee of $25 gets participants a Zero K T-shirt, a finisher’s medal, a race bib and one of those cool stickers that runners put on the rear windows of their vehicles.
“The marathoners’ stickers say 26.2 for the mileage of those races,” said Bill Solleder, marketing director for Visit Hot Springs. “Half-marathoners’ stickers say 13.1. Ours will say 0 K.”
Online registration is available at here.
Arrison said the race will incorporate the same elements of insane good fun that surround the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® itself.
The Zero K race will extend the 2019 St. Patrick’s weekend to three days, Solleder said.
“Since St. Patrick’s Day itself falls on a Sunday in 2019, we saw a great opportunity to add the Zero K to our previously announced lineup of great events,” he said. “In addition to the internationally acclaimed parade itself on Sunday, March 17, we will have free live entertainment by Smash Mouth on Saturday night at the Bridge Street stage where Bridge Street, Malvern Avenue, Broadway and Convention Boulevard intersect. Plus, we’ll have another free live concert by Three Dog Night on Sunday after the parade.”
This will mark the second year in a row that two free concerts have been held in conjunction with the internationally known parade, which annually attracts 30,000 celebrating fans to the downtown historic district.
No chairs will be permitted at either concert, according to Arrison.
The free 8 p.m. concert on Saturday, March 16, featuring Smash Mouth will climax a day of festivities that will start at 3 p.m. with the day’s opening of O’Kelley’s World’s Largest Inflatable Pop Up Pub adjacent to Bridge Street. Music will start at 7 p.m., with the Smash Mouth performance beginning at 8.
The First Ever 16th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®, will feature TV star Ralph (The Karate Kid) Macchio as the celebrity grand marshal and Ellen DeGeneres’ favorite DJ and dancer, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, as the official starter.
The parade, which began in 2003, annually attracts crowds of upwards of 30,000 people to watch an insanely zany collection of Irish Elvis impersonators, green Irish wolfhounds, marching units such as Paddy O’Furniture, Irish belly dancers and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as well as other unique units cover the 98-foot length of Bridge Street, the World’s Shortest Street in Everyday Use.