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Running notebook: End of the line

It's the weekend that many runners associate with standing still. But maybe it will be different this time.

The Shamrock Run starts distributing jackets on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Old First Ward Community Center on Republic St. The session runs through 2 p.m. Then on Sunday, the hours are also 10 to 2. Starting Monday, the facility will be handing out the premiums from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Last year, many were worried about getting shut out of sizes, so they showed up Saturday morning. That led to long lines. This time, everyone is guaranteed a jacket (5,500 available). Therefore, there's probably less of a need to be early ... and that should ease the traffic problem.

The Shamrock Run, which among other qualities starts the News Runner of the Year series, goes off on March 2.

Meanwhile, there's another event that will see runners who aren't in motion. Meb Keflezighi will be addressing area runners thorugh a special closed-circuit connection on Thursday. The session will be at 672 Wehrle Drive in Williamsville. There's no charge, but donations will be taken for Cradle Beach. Visit http://www.mebmeetsbuffalo.com for details.

Meanwhile, actual races will take place this weekend. I may do one myself, if this bug I caught goes away. Here are the details from buffalorunners.com:

* Polar Bear 5K, 1691 Lockport-Olcott Road in Olcott, 10 a.m. on Sunday, 434-8887. The annual chance to finish ahead of the running Polar Bear.

* Canisius Chilly Challenge 5K, 1180 Delaware Ave. in Buffalo, 12 noon on Sunday, 882-0466.

-- Budd Bailey

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