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Showing Irish spirit, hundreds compete in Shamrock Run in Watertown (VIDEO)


Gregory M. Burns, 23, cruised past the finish line on Mullin Street with a winning time of 28:14 Saturday morning during the 5-mile annual Shamrock Run, a fixture of the North Country Goes Green Irish Festival this weekend in Watertown.

Featuring a 2.2-mile walk/run and a 5-mile race, the annual event sponsored by the Watertown Family Y drew roughly 400 competitors for both distances, organizers said. Race results are available online at the Y’s website,

Mr. Burns, of Watertown, who averaged 5:39 per mile, said he was unsure how he’d perform because he has been trying to get back into shape. He took a week off from his training regimen this month to recover from an illness.

The South Jefferson High School graduate said he and his friend Nathan Traynor, of Adams Center, ran together for a portion of the race to block the wind for each other. Mr. Traynor, 21, finished second overall in the 5-mile race with a time of 29:16.

“Nate and I were taking turns breaking the wind for the first couple of miles,” Mr. Burns said. “It was cold going out, but once you came back it was downhill with the wind at your back. This was probably one of my top times I’ve run here.”

The first place female finisher in the 5-mile race was Susan A. Friedrich, 31, of Henderson, who had a time of 34:18.

Mrs. Friedrich, who was pleased to break the 35-minute barrier, said she spent much of the winter training indoors on a treadmill because of the extremely cold weather and snowstorms this winter. Though it was her first year competing in the Shamrock Run, she said she is no stranger to running in nasty winter conditions. The former collegiate athlete participated in track and cross country at SUNY Oswego with her husband, Richmond W.

“It was pretty nasty,” she said Saturday, still catching her breath after crossing the finish line. “You get out and the wind is in your face, and it felt like ice was just kind of pelting you. But that’s just one day of running.”

Logan A. Manning, 18, was among a group of 15 runners who wore bright yellow “Team Nicky” shirts during the Saturday run. The group paid homage to Mr. Manning’s late mother, Nicole I. Countryman, who died of cancer in September 2012.

Mr. Manning, who participated in the run for his fifth time Saturday, said his mother was an enthusiastic participant in the Shamrock Run and was comfortable running in inclement winter. He said the “Team Nicky” group also will participate in the Relay for Life walk June 13 in Watertown.

“We’re all a big family,” he said of the collection of friends and family members who belong to the group.

About 30 employees from Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes participated in the Shamrock Run this year, said Debra L. Schrecengast, a member of the group who has participated since 2005. The 51-year-old Watertown resident said Saturday’s conditions were relatively mild compared with past years.

“This is 10 compared to last year,” she said. “Last year it was like 5 degrees. It was really cold, so this is much better. Our group is going to keep this up as a tradition, and we’ll be back until we can’t come back anymore.”

Video from the race can be seen at

2014 Shamrock Run
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