46th Shamrock Run sets stage for event security in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Saturday, neighbors grabbed their green gear and laced up their running shoes for the 46th Shamrock Run in Buffalo’s Old First Ward.

Thousands of people were present enjoying the festivities and getting in the Irish spirit. With leprechauns, four leaf clovers and those dressed in green as far as the eye can see.

“The Old First Ward brought me here. I’m part Irish and I enjoy all of the festivities that come along with this,” said one runner.

“I am a runner and doing races keeps me going and motivated. People come out, have a good time, it’s just a moving party,” said other runners.

The 8k race started and ended on Louisiana Street, with runners following the pot of gold on a path along South Park Avenue and Seneca street. 

Those who crossed the finish line were then able to stop by the beer tent for a free drink, with all proceeds from the race benefiting the Old First Ward Community Center.

“The community center is so thankful to every single one of these runners. If it wasn’t for their participation, we would not exist in the way we do today. We’re just really humbled to see this many people turn out for the race,” said Race Director Patrick Gormley.

Organizers estimated that nearly 4,700 runners took part. With almost 10,000 total neighbors on site for the fun, bringing the crowd back to pre-pandemic levels.

With Saturdays race being the first large scale local event since the Kansas City parade shooting, security was very noticeable and played a pivotal part in making sure the festivities went smooth.

“Law enforcement, especially in today’s day and age, is always concerned with the possibility of some type of violence breaking out at one of these events. So, making sure that officers are keeping an eye on the crowd, making sure that they’re immediately addressing any type of situation, no matter how small it is helps police get there and stop it before it turns worse,” said former Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo.

Retired FBI agent Bernie Tolbert mirrored that statement, saying security for large events like these are planned months in advance. With the Shamrock Run serving as a great warm-up for the solar eclipse next month for the city’s law enforcers.

“Those individuals who are responsible for security are going to have to kind of think outside the box. You have no control over the eclipse, so you can’t secure it from that standpoint. You can’t stop it; it’s going to happen. So, the best you can do is figure out what we must do on the ground to make sure that we’re prepared,” concluded Tolbert.

Both Rinaldo and Tolbert also made a point that it is important for the community to trust that law enforcement is doing everything in their power to make sure you can still go about your lives and enjoy events like the Shamrock Run worry free.

Each expert also adding, if you see something out of the ordinary never be afraid to report it to an officer on site or by calling 911.

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Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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