HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Is your most beloved pet a turtle? If so, you are a prime candidate for the Third Ever Zero-K World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Footrace in downtown Hot Springs on Saturday, March 16.
The race, which honors lack of speed and endurance, kicks off the weekend of revelry surrounding the First Ever 21st Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® on Sunday, March 17, on 98-foot Bridge Street.
The Zero-K course is 299 feet long, beginning on Bridge Street and ending across the intersection on Convention Boulevard.
“The main point is to cover the 299 feet as slowly as you can,” Visit Hot Springs Marketing Director Bill Solleder said. “The slowest racer wins. Is that cool or what?”
The entry fee is $25, and all proceeds will benefit Tri-Lakes CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), which provides support for abused and neglected foster children in Garland, Hot Spring, and Grant Counties, Solleder said.
Registration is open now at https://runsignup.com/Race/AR/HotSpringsNationalPark/WorldsShortestStPatricksDayZEROK. If you register before March 3 you will receive a T-shirt, a medal, a swag bag, and a race bib.
“I’m thrilled that the Zero-K will be taking place on Bridge Street again this year,” Visit Hot Springs Special Events Manager Alexis Hampo said. “It’s such a fitting event to take place in conjunction with the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®.”
“Last year’s turnout was so great, and I love seeing two whole days of great green outfits,” Hampo said. “There were some really slow runners last year, but I bet this year will produce even slower competitors.”
Packet pickup on race day begins at 2 p.m. on Bridge Street. The Bridge Street Entertainment District opens at 3 p.m., and the race begins at 4 p.m.
Awards will be given to the best-dressed runner and the slowest runner.
Michelob Ultra and Arkansas Beverage Sales of Hot Springs sponsor the race.
Following the race there will be a free public concert on the Bridge Street Stage by country star Pat Green.
The world-famous 98-foot parade on Bridge Street, the shortest street in the world in everyday use, began in 2003 and annually attracts crowds of upwards of 30,000 people to watch an insanely zany collection of Irish Elvis impersonators, marching units such as Paddy O’Furniture, Irish belly dancers and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as well as other unique units cover the 98-foot length of Bridge Street in the heart of downtown Hot Springs.
This year’s celebrity grand marshal will be Dallas Cowboys legendary running back Emmitt Smith, and Forrie J. Smith, star of the “Yellowstone” TV series, will be the official race starter.