HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — What better way to kick off a three-day weekend of zany activities surrounding the First Ever 16th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade than with the First Ever First Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K® footrace in downtown Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
The race, which will cover the 98-foot route of the parade and then some, will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 15.
“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,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the founders of the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®. “Of course, that still makes our Zero K three times longer than the 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.
“Our hope if that the St. Patrick’s Zero K will join athletes’ ‘bucket list of must-do events’ alongside our sister events — the Little Rock Marathon, Hot Springs’ own Summit2Summit Half Marathon and The World Championship Running Of The Tubs bathtub races on Bathhouse Row,” said Bill Solleder, director of marketing for Visit Hot Springs.
Solleder said the Zero K will be presented by sponsor Michelob Ultra and Arkansas Beverage Sales of Hot Springs.
All proceeds from the Zero K will benefit Tri-Lakes CASA, the organization of court-appointed special advocates for foster children that serves Garland, Hot Spring and Grant Counties.
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.”
Castillo added, “No beer in the industry connects with these athletes more than Michelob Ultra. It has 95 calories, 2.6 carbs, and has a tremendous history of partnering with world-class events like the New York City Marathon, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race and many others.”
The Zero K entry fee of $20 gets participants a Zero K T-shirt, a finisher’s medal and a race bib, Solleder said.
Online registration is available at https://runsignup.com/Race/AR/HotSprings/StPatricksDayZeroK.
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 world record for the Florida Keys run is 23.1 seconds in their self-timed race,” he said. “This year will set the time to beat for future World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K’s, if there is one.
“There will be a hydration station at 149.5 feet for those participants who are having trouble making the whole 299 feet.
“The race starts at Historic Bridge Street, the world’s shortest street in everyday use, and will end at O’Kelley’s Pub, the world’s biggest inflatable Irish pub, for some additional hydration.”
Arrison said the race will have three separate heats:
• First Heat: This one will be for First Place Contenders. Runners should bring their fastest run and try to set a "world record.” Runners will keep their own times.
• Second Heat: This one will be the Leprechaun Dash. Runners are encouraged to dress up in their favorite St. Paddy's Day gear or as their favorite leprechaun and run.
• Third Heat: This one, the Last Place Shootout, is for the slowest racer to cross the finish line while maintaining forward motion. This one is great for younger kids, pets and the laziest of runners.
“Tri-Lakes CASA is thrilled to see The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero-K® come to Hot Springs, and how awesome that it comes during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend,” said Desternie Sullivan, executive director of Tri-Lakes CASA. “What a great combo! This race is perfect because it requires no training at all, only lots of energy, fun costumes and great people.”
“The ‘pot-o-gold’ raised from The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K® will go right back into the community as we recruit, train and support volunteer advocates as they provide a voice to children in foster care in our community,” she said.
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.