Warming up Westminster: Celtic Canter Irish 5k floods Main Street

Nearly 1,000 runners signed up for the 2019 Celtic Canter 5k and accompanying Leprechaun Race kids run Saturday morning, New Windsor resident Jessie Demuth, 34, among them.

She wore a white hat with a unicorn horn sticking out of the top and ear flaps to keep her warm in the 30-degree weather and her cheeks were pink. Her Kelly green tulle skirt was held up by shamrock suspenders, and the outfit was finished off with colorful knee-high socks.


Demuth was running with her son Robby, 3, in a stroller decorated to look like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

“This will be the sixth race we’ve done with the stroller,” she said before the race, “but our first time here.”


The Demuths have lived in New Windsor for about two years, and before that in Waldorf. They participated in the Havre de Grace Pirate Fest 5k and the St. Pat’s Run in Washington, D.C. among others through the Moms Run This Town national running club.

“I joined Moms Run This Town right before this race last year,” said Demuth, “and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since.”

Surrounding her and her son was a crowd of shamrock-clad runners warming up in athletic gear. Some wore big green-and-white striped hats, some wore striped socks and colorful beads, and others were just wrapped up in many layers to beat the cold.

From traditional Irish dance to the anticipated annual concert by Barleyjuice, Irish music and dance fills the entertainment schedule for many Carroll venues.

The race, in its ninth year, has grown from the original 3-kilometer St. Patrick’s Day race hosted by Patrick Gallagher, a Westminster dentist, and Dave Johansson, owner of both O’Lordan’s Irish Pub and Johanssons Dining House.

Now he has partnered with the city of Westminster, although the proceeds still benefit Access Carroll and Target Community and Educational Services.

“I wanted to benefit a local charitable organization,” Gallagher told the Times Friday. “There are lots of very nice runs and activities around that benefit breast cancer and the arthritis foundation — and all those things that are wonderful — but I wanted to look for something that was closer to home, here in the community.”

The first person to complete the race was 22-year-old Grant Dell, of Westminster, in 18 minutes, 10 seconds. He said it was his first time running the race since he’s been out of town for a few years.

Dell just graduated from York College with a marketing degree and moved home last summer.

“I’ve been running all my life,” he said.

The first woman to complete the race was last year’s winner Sherry Stick, 40, of Eldersburg. She finished in 19 minutes, 18 seconds.

“It was fun, festive race,” she said. “It’s a great crowd — and I had some friends, my husband, parents, and some friends were cheering me on.”

About 20 minutes later, Westminster resident John Mayan, 60, crossed the finish line with his 5-year-old, 200-pound English Mastiff, Rudy.


Mayan was a runner between the ages of 20 and 40 before encountering knee problems, and found barefoot running at 50 years old as a solution.

He has been running at least a mile a day for the past six years with no shoes on, he said, after he finished the 5k on March 9, and has participated in the Celtic Canter for at least five of them.

“Running has always been a cure-all for me,” Mayan said.

Mayan finished the course in about 40 minutes, despite the cold and concerns regarding glass and debris in the street. He attributed his finish time to his running mate, though, who is on a weight-loss journey.

Rudy has lost 15 pounds since he started his new training regimen, he said.

“I finished in 40 minutes. That was because of him,” Mayan gestured to Rudy after wiping sweat from his brow. “He’s a little slow.”

Runners and Main Street visitors alike were able to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day festivities after the races — with a complimentary beer after passing the finish line and a trolley available to take pub crawlers from one participating spot to the next. There was also a leprechaun store where kids could turn in all the gold coins they collected throughout the day.

“You might see people finish the run and go home,” Gallagher told the Times, “but I was trying to create something that would encourage people to maybe stay around town and visit the other businesses.

“And so it’s become an event that benefits the town, local charitable organizations, but also has expanded to the point that it benefits downtown businesses, organizations and restaurants that wouldn’t get a St. Patrick’s Day otherwise.”

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