The Shamrock 5K Run-Walk-Roll is an annual event that takes place on St. Patrick’s Day Weekend. Facilitated by Tower Guard, the sophomore honor society that serves the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), the Shamrock 5k has traditionally been the largest fundraising event the group holds for the RCPD each year.
The 20th Annual Shamrock 5K Run-Walk-Roll, set to be held Saturday, March 14th, 2020, was postponed only days before the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recommendations from Michigan State University, the State of Michigan, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that it was vital to avoid large gatherings to ensure necessary health precautions. However, despite these challenges, Tower Guard remained dedicated to raising proceeds which help fund equipment and resources needed to operate the RCPD. In order to proceed with the event in a safe and accessible manner, the 20th Shamrock 5K quickly transitioned to an online platform!
With the goal being to host the 20th Shamrock 5K during the summer, Tower Guard followed the advice of public health officials and the university as they set a new date for the event. Flexibility was key, and the race was set up so that individuals were able to participate during a one-week period, from June 28th to July 4th, at a location of their choosing. In an effort to keep this process safe for racers and volunteers, Tower Guard held a physically distanced drive-thru packet pick-up at Bessey Hall, providing t-shirts and race materials for participants.
“The event was obviously not what we originally had in mind, but we still had fun doing it,” says Ben Kessler, Tower Guard Co-Run Chair. “We were actually at the RCPD for three weekends before the 5K hosting a t-shirt pickup event, and we could really sense the commitment of our participants and the community we were trying to foster.”
Although this event usually includes the experience of music, snacks, raffle prizes, and a guest appearance by Sparty, the virtual turn out for the 20th Shamrock 5K was extensive. With 375 participants registered, and 150 participants officially checking-in, Tower Guard was able to raise approximately $18,000 this year! These proceeds will go toward supporting students with disabilities at MSU, ensuring that they have an equal opportunity in their higher education experience.