VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Saint Patrick’s Day weekend is here and that means the Shamrock Race week is kicking off!

About 25,000 people are expected to cross the finish line by the end of the weekend.

Friday is the beginning of the health and fitness expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. It’s a free event with 100 health and fitness vendors and speakers. Doors are open from noon until 9 p.m. and again on Saturday between noon and 5 p.m.

National Running Center’s booth is one of the stops people can visit while picking up their race day bib. They came here from Pennsylvania.  

“Going to race expos is a lot of fun. Runners are always excited! This is right at the beginning of our busy season and we really enjoy being down here,” said Director of Operations, John Ritchie.

Owners of local business Run with the Wind said they wouldn’t miss the opportunity to be here, with such a big crowd.

“An awesome turnout. It looks like the weather’s going to be great and we’re hoping our business takes off,” said President Don Podach.

J&A Racing Co-Director Jerry Frostick said they are so excited for festivities to begin.

He said, “So, we’ve been ready for a month and now it’s just really fine-tuning little details to make sure that the runners have the most incredible experience.”

To Frostick, this is a labor of love for the community to enjoy “what a way to kick off Saint Paddy’s Day Sunday, wear your green and put a big smile on your face.” 

More information can be found at shamrockmarathon.com.

The race-filled weekend kicks off with the 8K on Saturday morning at 7:30. It starts at 30th Street and Pacific Avenue and finishes on the boardwalk between Laskin Road and 30th Street.

Then the kids' “Leprechaun Dash” starts at 10:30 a.m. at King Neptune’s park along the boardwalk. 

At 11 a.m. "Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile Start" begins. Over 5,000 elementary school students will run the final mile of their 26.2-mile journey at the same finish line that will welcome Yuengling Shamrock Marathon finishers Start line.

Festivities will continue with live music and a special toast from Jen Yuengling, 6th Generation Yuengling Brewer.

On Sunday, the marathon and half marathon kick off at 7:30 a.m. Those races start at 42nd Street and Atlantic. Runners will cross the finish line at the Boardwalk between Laskin Road and 30th Street.

A big celebration for friends and family at the finish line will take place right after with a heated tent complete with live music, Yuengling beer, and Murphy’s Irish stew.