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Costume contest winners. Photo credit: Corktown Race Website
Costume contest winners. Photo credit: Corktown Race Website

The Corktown Race and St. Patrick’s Day Parade are one of the first events in Detroit that make you realize that yes, indeed, spring is starting. Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers is just around the corner, the weather starts to warm up and people from the Motor City are hitting Michigan Avenue to run and revel.

So here are your 5 pro tips for the Corktown Race and Parade.

1. Get There Early

There will be around 10,000 runners in the race.  Then there’s all the friends and family who don’t run in the race but come to be spectators or get a good spot at the bar early. Then there’s people trying to get down there during the race for the parade. As this is an event that has been getting bigger every single year, you will want to get down there early and get a parking spot that is decently close to the action. Also, freeways will be jammed between race time – 10:00 a.m. – and parade time – noon. Organizers say definitely get there before 8:30 a.m. if you need to pick up your race packet.

Before the Corktown Parade last year. Daily Detroit photo.

2. Phone service will be shoddy

If you are running the race, count on meeting your friends at a designated location after you finish. In the last several years, there has been far too many people in the area for the local cellphone towers to handle. You may get a couple texts but you’ll miss a lot of the action and your friends if you don’t have a plan to meet up, or some unique way of identifying each other.

3. Bring Some Cash

Immediately after race time, the bars are going to packed with people cutting loose for the unofficial Saint Patrick’s Day. This means masses of people cramming and clamoring for beers and whiskey shots, and any place to sign a receipt will likely be wet with suds. Give your bartenders a break and pay in cash to keep things running as smoothly as possible. Also, ATMs are sparse and some of them will be running out quite early.

2015 Corktown Race Map

4. Be Physically and Mentally Prepared for the Run

Be sure to stretch out, have some food in your belly, hydrate, wear layered clothing, and run the race at your own pace. There’s no reason to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and there will be a lot of other people to watch out for. Additionally, you can check out the map to give you an idea of exactly where you’ll be going.

5. Be up on what’s new this year

This year, there will be easily identifiable designated park rangers floating around the crowd wearing bright green shirts and top hats. They can answer questions if you need anything and scan your QR code on your race number for your time. Additionally, this year, you might (might, maybe, it’s a possibility) be able to grab a victory pint right behind the Mercury Bar once you finish.

Bonus Tip

Costumes are encouraged! This is a long standing tradition of the Corktown Race that helps make it a fun and colorful event.

See you Sunday!