The Luck o' the Irish!
Molly Maguire’s Pub helps raise money for Manna on Main Street
or Hatboro native Amy Shields, running in the grueling Philadelphia Marathon last year was nothing compared to the Herculean task before her March 17 in Lansdale: Chug a pint of Guinness beer, run a mile, then chug another pint of Guinness before being DOORwHG WR FrRVV WhH finLVh line.
“I hate beer,” Shields said with a laugh as she warmed up and stretched her legs in the frigid afternoon wind, “but I’m gonna give it a go — I’m in it to win it.”
It was for a good cause. Shields was one of about 20 runners taking part in “The Guinness Gallop,” a subset of more than 200 runners who participated in the third annual “Get Lucky” One Miler race along Main Street, sponsored by Molly Maguire’s Pub and the Lansdale Area Fundraising Society as part of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, with all proceeds from registration fees destined for the Manna on Main Street food pantry.
Hours before the 2 p.m. race, runners and revelers alike lined up outside Molly Maguire’s — nearly all wearing green hats, wigs, beads and other St. Paddy’s-appropriate garb — to grab breakfast and beer.
“It’s not St. Patrick’s Day, it’s St. Patrick’s weekend,” said Molly’s general manager Adam Snider, who laughed when asked how much beer the bar expected to sell between March 15 and closing time in the wee morning hours of March 18.
“A lot! We got 76 kegs. I can’t even guess how much beer we’re gonna go through. It’s insane.”
As the crowds both inside Molly’s and on the street outside swelled, police blocked off a stretch of Wood Street from vHhLFuODr WrDIfiF. People young and old danced to traditional Irish music emanating from a set of speakers, and Molly’s provided more entertainment throughout the day and night in the form of bagpipers, Irish dancers and live rock bands.
“My dad’s an Episcopal priest, so we really didn’t do too much ‘celebrating’ on St. Patrick’s Day,” laughed Snider, who is of Scots-Irish descent. “But we always did the corned beef and cabbage and celebrated our heritage. So for me it’s a pretty cool day. I would have worn my kilt but at this point it’s about 3 inches too small.”
Standing near the “Get Lucky” registration table in his running garb and green socks with the word “Beer” emblazoned on each, Lansdale Borough Councilman Steve Malagari said he had “been training a little bit just to get in shape for this,” and emphasized the charitable aspect of the event.
“Manna is entirely sustained by donations, and without that money, the organization would not exist to provide a resource for a population that needs it right now,” he said.
Ray Liberto, one of LAFS’ board members, who was in the holiday spirit with a towering Guinness hat, said that “it’s a good feeling to raise money and do good things for the local charities that sometimes have a hard time raising money themselves.”
With “Get Lucky” registration fees ranging from $10 to $35, organizers anticipated bringing in a couple thousand dollars for Manna.
As race time neared, Mayor Andy Szekely arrived in a leprechaun costume that was a big hit, and he walked around shaking hands and posing for photos.
“Three years ago I was on a skiing trip with friends where everyone gets dressed uS Ln GLIIHrHnW RuWfiWV IRr Iun, and a friend of mine came dressed in this and then he gave it to me,” Szekely said RI hLV RuWfiW. “BuW , hDvH WR tell you that the hat came from the [Lansdale] police Chief [Robert McDyre].”
Though the mayor had running shoes on, participating in the race wasn’t in the cards.
“I’ll be starting everyone off,” he said. Looking around at everyone partying outside Molly’s, Szekely added, “This is a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the community, and even though it’s chilly today it’s nice to see the festive atmosphere.”
That atmosphere could be felt up and down Main Street. At the Water Gallery art co-op inside Dresher Arcade, musicians played traditional Irish folk tunes as people milled around looking at the artwork.
“We have a large contingent of members and friends who are Irish and have helped give this place an identity surrounding Irish art and music, so we’re continuing with what we know and giving the public free entertainment that’s not baroriented, so it’s fun for kids and families,” said gallery co-owner Aaron Wiener.
“We have a good relationship with Molly’s and we work with their schedule because we want today to be very successful for them,” Wiener added. “We’re all in this together to create a great community.”
At 2 p.m., though, all eyes were on the runners — from pre-teens to seniors — assembled in the street in front of Molly’s getting finDO LnVWruFWLRnV EHIRrH WhH race. Lansdale and Towamencin police closed off Main Street from Broad Street to Valley Forge Road, and after Szekely shouted “Go!” the runners were off on a mad mile-long dash to Valley Forge Road and back; Shields and the other Guinness Gallopers downed their pint before taking off.
Exactly four minutes and 48 seconds later, 44-year-old Rob Sheely, of Lansdale, sporting a green handlebar PuVWDFhH, FrRVVHG WhH finLVh OLnH firVW.
“I felt pretty good, but I wasn’t expecting to win,” said Sheely, trying to catch his breath afterward as his family proudly looked on. Sheely, who used to run while a student at North 3Hnn, VDLG, “7hLV LV WhH firVW mile I’ve done since high school, but I’m trying to get back into it.”
Meanwhile, Shields — cheered on by her husband and twin 3-year-old sons — finLVhHG Ln D rHVSHFWDEOH nine minutes. Of course, Gallopers’ times included not only the one-mile run but how long it took to drink the two pints of Guinness at the beginning and end of the race.
“It was so much fun!” she gushed. “But I still hate beer.”
At top, a reveler celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in Lansdale March 17.
Above, Lansdale Mayor Andy Szekely poses with runners during St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Lansdale.
Left, Lansdale’s Rob Sheely celebrates winning Molly Maguire’s “Get Lucky” One Miler race.