What better way to kick off a three-day weekend of zany activities surrounding the First Ever 16th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade than with the First Ever First Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K® footrace in downtown Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.

The race, which will cover the 98-foot route of the parade and then some, will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 15.

“Our race will cover a course that is 299 feet long, one foot shorter than the granddaddy of all Zero K runs — the Wacky Florida Keys Cow Key Channel Bridge Run that is 300 feet long,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the founders of the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade®. “Of course, that still makes our Zero K three times longer than the parade itself.” “The St. Patrick’s Zero K is designed for athletes who do not like to get up early or break a sweat,” Arrison said.

“Our hope if that the St. Patrick’s Zero K will join athletes’ ‘bucket list of must-do events’ alongside our sister events — the Little Rock Marathon, Hot Springs’ own Summit2Summit Half Marathon and The World Championship Running Of The Tubs bathtub races on Bathhouse Row,” said Bill Solleder, director of marketing for Visit Hot Springs. Solleder said the Zero K will be presented by sponsor Michelob Ultra and Arkansas Beverage Sales of Hot Springs.

All proceeds from the Zero K will benefit Tri-Lakes CASA, the organization of court-appointed special advocates for foster children that serves Garland, Hot Spring and Grant Counties.

The Zero K entry fee of $20 gets participants a Zero K T-shirt, a finisher’s medal and a race bib, Solleder said.

Online registration is available at www.shorteststpats.com. The race will incorporate the same elements of insane good fun that surround the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® itself.

“The world record for the Florida Keys run is 23.1 seconds in their self-timed race,” he said. “This year will set the time to beat for future World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K’s, if there is one.  There will be a hydration station at 149.5 feet for those participants who are having trouble making the whole 299 feet.  “The race starts at Historic Bridge Street, the world’s shortest street in everyday use, and will end at O’Kelley’s Pub, the world’s biggest inflatable Irish pub, for some additional hydration.”

Arrison said the race will have three separate heats:

• First Heat: This one will be for First Place Contenders. Runners should bring their fastest run and try to set a "world record.” Runners will keep their own times.

• Second Heat: This one will be the Leprechaun Dash. Runners are encouraged to dress up in their favorite St. Paddy's Day gear or as their favorite leprechaun and run.

• Third Heat: This one, the Last Place Shootout, is for the slowest racer to cross the finish line while maintaining forward motion. This one is great for younger kids, pets and the laziest of runners.

No chairs will be permitted at either concert, according to Arrison.

For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.