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Sorry, little guy! Tustin race ditches the leprechaun – but draws 4,000 runners

No one took home the $100,000 pot of gold.

But everybody won something money can’t buy — bragging rights.

About 4,000 runners Sunday morning completed Tustin’s annual race — which funnels participants through one of two iconic blimp hangars on the former Marine Corps Air Station.

But this time, the event took itself a lot more seriously than in the five years prior.

The Leprechaun Leap 5K, coinciding with St. Patrick’s Day, metamorphosed into the Inaugural Tustin Hangar Half Marathon and 5K. And the logo matured to sleek silhouettes of runners, replacing the cute little sprite in a stovepipe hat.

With the new addition of the half marathon, organizers decided to offer a $100,000 reward for breaking the world record — 58:23 for men and 1:05 for women.

The long-term goal is to attract elite runners from around the globe, said race director Mark Holmes.

“Ninety-nine percent of our runners this year are from California,” Holmes allowed. “But as word gets out, our half marathon will go viral and, ultimately, worldwide.”

As they waited for the 7 a.m. pop-gun start of the half marathon, some 1,500 participants stretched and chatted in a parking lot at the District of Tustin Legacy shopping center.

“Had I known about the $100,000, I would’ve trained,” said Doug Gormley, 48, of Cypress.

“Had I known about the $100,000, I would’ve been 20 years younger,” interjected his buddy Russ Grace, 49, also of Cypress.

Few among the crowd of realists, apparently, came with get-rich-quick dreams.

“I’m just here to finish and say I did it,” said Santa Ana resident Suzanne St. Clair, 53, who was about to run her first half marathon.

The second wave of runners — some 2,500 5Kers — took off at 7:30 a.m. Despite the move away from impish elves, many of them arrived festively decked out in green attire and shamrock tiaras.

Daniel Roth, 52, jumped into the Leprechaun Leap each of its five years — religiously wearing the same head-to-toe…

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