If you aren’t from Detroit, Chicago or a few other mid-western cities you may not be familiar with the term Paczki. If fact you may not even know how to pronounce it. It sounds like “Poonch-key”. It’s a Polish pastry, basically a fat, jelly filled donut. In Hamtramck, MI near Detroit, Paczkis are a huge tradition on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. You can get some of the history from this link. So what does that have to do with running? Well, Saturday was the Hamtramck Paczki Run. It was great. About 1100 runners in downtown Hamtramck, which is a very cool, hip, mixed culture old downtown. The 5k course ran through town and surrounding neighborhoods while residents looked on with smiles at all the excitement in their little city.
The big draw for most runners, I’m sure, was the promise of paczkis and beer at the finish. And we were not disappointed. Smiling volunteers handed out the jelly filled balls of fat to runners as they came through the finishers chute. And just a few yards away was the beer tent where your bib number got you a choice of red, pale ale or stout. Keeping with the friendly theme and small town feel, unlike many races, no one here questioned the runners that went back in for a second or third free beer. This was Hamtramck.
Another reason I enjoyed the run so much was that I had one of my best 5k times in a while, a 24:47 which put me in 8th place out of 69 in my age group and 63 out of about 1100 finishers. Not bad for February.