PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s not St. Patrick’s Day yet, but hundreds of runners, decked out in green shirts, green hats and big green glasses, laced up their sneakers Saturday morning for the 31st annual Leprechaun Run to benefit the Special Olympics.

The five-mile race and two-mile fun run/walk along Martin Luther King Drive has been a Philadelphia tradition since 1984.

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Kristen Cravin, with Special Olympics Pennsylvania, helped organize the event, which she says is for all runners.

“We do have those competitive people, but personally I like to take the more leisure,” she said, “because it is the fun run and it has that spirited day towards it.”

Craven says the money raised helps Special Olympic athletes in Philadelphia.

“That’s going to help their training and their competition,” she said. “No athlete or family ever has to pay a penny for our programming.”

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Pete Schwartz and many runners like him say the cause is what brought them out.

“It’s my first chance to do a five-mile race,” Schwartz said. “I’m very excited early in the season, but beyond that, it’s a great cause for Special Olympics.”

And the pleasant weather also made for a nice turnout, weather runners like Elise described as “perfect.”

“It’s not too hot and not too cold, but the sun is shining and the trees are starting to bloom,” she said. “I have my shamrock socks on with my neon green laces, I have my green and white arm warmers.”

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But she says the cause was the big reason she participated.