Jeff McGowan Memorial 5K

Sun August 1, 2021 RaceJoy Ready

The Jeff McGowan Memorial 5K will take place on Sunday, August 1, at Scioto Audubon Metro Park (start by the climbing wall). There will also be Virtual 5K Run/Walk and a Virtual 1 Mile Run/Walk for those who cannot attend the in-person event on August 1. Join the Columbus Running Company and RUNOHIO for this eighth annual event in memory of Jeff McGowan and Mark Dempsey.

All proceeds from the race will benefit the Jeff McGowan Memorial Scholarship.

In-person 5K Runners can pick up their race number and t-shirt early at the Short North Columbus Running Company store or at the race site on race day. Virtual 5K Run/Walk or 1 Mile Run/Walk athletes can also pick up their race number, t-shirt, and finisher pint glass at Columbus Running Company's Short North location during early packet pickup times (see below). If you or a friend are unable to pick up your race packet, it will be mailed to you two weeks after the event. Unfortunately, due to shipping limitations, pint glasses will not be Included. All unclaimed pint glasses will be donated to Dempsey's Food & Spirits.

This year’s race will again honor of Mark Dempsey as his name as well as Jeff’s name will be on the back of the race t-shirts and pint glasses. Mark was president of the Columbus Shamrock Club in 2008 where Mark and Jeff first met. Mark died unexpectedly on January 10, 2020.

"When Mark Dempsey opened Dempsey's Food & Spirits in March 2012, Jeff McGowan was one of his first friends to enjoy a pint of Guinness and take part in the raucous Irish celebration that year. After Jeff passed away Mark made it a point to always have a few of the Jeff McGowan Memorial 5K race pint glasses on hand at Dempsey's for Jeff's family and many friends who stopped in to raise a pint in honor of him. Mark passed away in January but we'd like to think he and Jeff are raising a pint in honor of all the participants in this year's race." - Megan Dempsey, Mark's wife.

Jeff McGowan unexpectedly died on May 26, 2012. Jeff was an active member of the Shamrock Club of Columbus. A 1983 graduate of Circleville High School and a 1990 graduate of Ohio University, Jeff set school records at Circleville High School in the 2.5 mile and 5km cross country events as well as in the 800 meters, 1600 meters and 3200 meters. His senior year Jeff placed 3rd in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Cross Country Championships and was second in the 800 meters and 1600 meters at the OHSAA State Track & Field Championships.

This year’s Columbus Shamrock Club’s St. Patrick’s Parade badge honors both Jeff McGowan and Mark Dempsey  - here is the story behind the badge - 

Early Packet Pickup

Save time in line on race morning and pick up your race gear at Columbus Running Company's Short North location (765 North High St Suite B 43215) between Wednesday, July 28 and Saturday, July 31, during normal store hours (weekdays 10a-8p, Saturday 10a-6p). Race day packet pickup will also be available at the event near the climbing wall at Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Athletes who pick up their race packet early at the Short North Columbus Running Company store for the Jeff McGowan Memorial 5K in Memory of Jeff McGowan and Mark Dempsey will receive a free Columbus Shamrock Club’s Parade badge while supplies last.

Virtual participants: you are welcome to pick up your commemorative bib number, race shirt, and pint glass during the early packet pickup hours. If you cannot make it to the pickup times, your shirt and bib will be mailed to you after the event. Pint glasses will not be shipped.

You can donate to the Jeff McGowan Memorial Scholarship Fund during your registration or by clicking here.

Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.


Available for Apple and Android devices.

Interactive Race Day Experience with RaceJoy

Live Phone Tracking, GPS Progress Alerts and Cheers!

We are providing you with RaceJoy as part of the official race experience for the Jeff McGowan Memorial 5K.

Download the RaceJoy mobile app in advance to ensure proper phone setup. Invite your friends and family to track you and send you cheers!

Some key RaceJoy features include:

GPS Progress Alerts

  • Receive continual progress updates as you complete your goal.

Live GPS Tracking

  • Remote spectators can track your progress live in a map view. You can also track others.


  • Receive supportive audio cheers from remote friends & family.

Virtual Results (virtual events only)

  • Enter your race-assigned bib number to automatically submit your finish data for real-time scored results.
To use RaceJoy, you must carry your phone and activate tracking on the day you complete your race.
View RaceJoy How-To

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