The Run of the Gingers: A Moving Display of Irish Pride

Author: Libby Garnett

Two gingers pose on their special day."

Notre Dame celebrated St. Patrick’s Day two weeks early this year. Unfortunately, Mar. 17 fell on the last day of spring break when most of the Fighting Irish were recovering from a week of doing what the Irish do best.

While our neighbors to the west in Chicago dye their river green every St. Patrick’s Day, we here in South Bend use the beloved holiday as an opportunity to pay homage to a different color — red. For one day only, our ginger friends all across campus transform from redheads into royalty, as they participate in the quintessential spectator sporting event of the semester: The Run of the Gingers.

As you may have suspected, this Olympic-caliber event requires extreme amounts of strenuous training. While you were cramming for your midterms and hitting your head against the wall, Notre Dame gingers were cramming down carbs and hitting the gym. Josh, an associate at the Smith Center for Recreational Sports, noticed some unusual activity the week leading up to the Run:

“It was shocking, honestly. I was just making my rounds past the treadmills when I noticed literally 15 red-headed runners — in a row. There were so many freckles.”

All of the preparation and anticipation reached a critical point the following Saturday at Legacy Village — home of The Run of the Gingers — where masses of students gathered to watch. This year, the Run experienced record participation numbers thanks to the infamous “ginger box,” the checking of which has allowed for so many of our red-haired and freckled friends to be admitted into Notre Dame. Gingers may only make up 1% of the world population, but they make up approximately 50% of Notre Dame’s student body and take up 100% of our hearts.

At a sharp 3:54 p.m., the gingers all took their marks at the start line, which was festively marked by a row of empty Guinness cans. From above, their pale skin, orange hair and green shirts fittingly formed a makeshift Irish flag. Throngs of onlookers cheered on at a deafening decibel as the racers charged towards the finish. More than a few runners fell victim to the stampede and were trampled along the way by their fellow gingers. Yet, one individual managed to prevail. Congratulations to Seamus Murphy McO’Reilly, the winner of the 2024 Run of the Gingers!