A number of organizations and businesses hold special events and activities to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. While some retail stores offer special discounts or sales, nonprofit and civic organizations often sponsor community parades or a 5K race. Any community has the opportunity to hold their own 5K race on St. Patrick's Day as long as they know how to successfully plan and organize the race.

Form a committee. Find people from your local community willing to volunteer their time and help plan a St. Patrick's Day 5K race. Search for people with diverse backgrounds such as people from different neighborhoods as well as different businesses and industries. This is helpful when finding sponsors and resources for the race since each person has a different network of people and businesses they can tap.

Set the race specifics. Determine if your 5K race will be held on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, or an alternate date. Some communities choose to have the race on the weekend before or after St. Patrick's Day if the holiday occurs during the middle of the week. This is especially true in communities and cities where people are required to work on St. Patrick's Day. Determine what time the race will start as well as the dates and times for race registration. Set the location for the 5K race, and determine the route it will take. Decide what the registration cost will be to enter the race as well as what prizes will be available for the winners.

Obtain permits. Visit city hall to apply for the appropriate permits to hold your St. Patrick's Day 5K race. Ask for streets to be barricaded for traffic if the race will be held on any public streets. Meet with the police chief to learn what police and security you need for the event. For example, police officers may need to be located at major intersections to help direct traffic to side streets around the 5K race route.

Find sponsors. Ask local businesses and companies to sponsor your St. Patrick's Day 5K race. Consider having different levels of sponsorship since small businesses may not be able to contribute as much as large corporations. Seek out at least one or two major sponsors to provide most of the funding. Know in advance what type of advertising you'll be able to offer the sponsors, such as on race t-shirts or posters, as this can help you sell them on the idea of serving as a sponsor.

Promote the race. Place advertisements in the newspaper and on radio and television to promote the St. Patrick's Day 5K race. Speak with local civic groups and organizations, and encourage businesses to promote the race to their employees. Ask local running clubs to post the race information on their website, and talk to neighborhood associations about spreading the word to the residents in their area. Create a website with specific information about the race and direct people to it. This is beneficial with major forms of advertising such as newspaper, radio and television advertisements where space and time is limited. Finally, embrace social networking to promote the St. Patrick's Day 5K race by posting information on Facebook, Youtube, MySpace and Twitter. These are beneficial in reaching young adults, and they don't cost anything.

Manage registration. Prior to promoting the St. Patrick's Day 5K Race, it's important to establish a method for handling registrations for the event. You can choose to do this online using a web form on your website or have paper registration forms online and around the city for people to fill out and mail in to you. Regardless of the option you choose you need a method to keep track of registrations. Some organizations have special software to handle this while others simply have use Microsoft Excel.

Obtain supplies. Purchase or seek out donations from businesses for the supplies you'll need on race day. These supplies include cups, jugs of water or juice, race numbers and gifts you plan to give participants. Many organizers of St. Patrick's Day 5K races choose to give out t-shirts since this promotes the race on the front while recognizing the major sponsors on the back. However, bags, cups, hats and other promotional materials also work for this if you opt to not do a t-shirt.

Find volunteers. Seek out volunteers to donate their time and help on the day of the race. You need people willing to help with registration as well as direct and attend to people during the course of the race. Ask a local civic organization if their members are interested in volunteering or take individual volunteers who contact you and donate their time. Contact local community service organizations as well, such as the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) or United Way, since they often maintain a list of volunteers who you can contact and ask about serving on the day of the race.

Set up for the race. On the day of the race encourage your organizers and volunteers to arrive early to set up and prepare for the start of the race. Take and place all markers along the route to ensure runners can easily find the way to the finish line. Ensure all barricades are in place to divert traffic if the race is being held on public roadways. Set up tables for check-in and late registration. Place volunteers and the supplies they need at water and aid stations along the course. Have prizes and any other supplies needed for the race readily on hand.

Conduct the race. Check people in as they arrive for the St. Patrick's Day 5K Race. Begin lining up the runners 10 to 15 minutes before the race is set to start. Begin the race and monitor all participants by checking in with volunteers stationed along the course. Prepare the finish line and be ready for runners since the winners often finish within 15 or 20 minutes of the start of the race. Ensure that all participants finish the race or are transported to the finish line if they drop out. Announce the results and provide prizes to the winners as well as complementary gifts to all participants.

Clean up. Once the race has finished and participants start to leave, begin cleaning up the race. Pick up all water and aid stations along the route, and take down any barricade and route markers. Take down registration and check-in tables, and ensure all trash at the start and finish line is picked up. Send thank you notes to sponsors and volunteers thanking them for the donation of time or money. Meet with fellow St. Patrick's Day 5K race organizers to determine what went well and what needs improvement. Begin making plans for next year's 5K race.