This should have been published last week, but I was goofing off for Spring Break.
The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle just celebrated its 40th year. And I was proud to be part of it! I first ran it 2 years ago, but this was my first as a Chicago resident. Working at Fleet Feet Chicago I was feeling the buzz about the event for weeks.
What I learned this year is Chicago does Saint Patrick’s Day really well. There was a St. Paddy’s Day 5k in Lincoln Park on the 16that about the same time as the parade and river-dying downtown. The River was green all weekend, so there was still time to run and get down to be a part of that too. For those of you who are not sure what I’m talking about, here’s a picture. Yes, the Chicago River is a dyed bright green. Try that New York!
Perhaps the best part about St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is that it doesn’t end on St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone has the Shuffle to look forward to about a week later. This year’s event was on March 24. The Shamrock Shuffle, an 8k, is the first big race in the city each spring and as such is like “opening day” to the Chicago Running season. This year there were over 20,000 finishers and you could feel the spring energy among the participants, many of whom where decked out in their best green and Irish attire.
The Shuffle is organized by the same people that put on the Chicago Marathon each year. The start and finish, as well as the first 2.5 miles and last quarter mile or so, of the Shuffle are identical to the Chicago Marathon course, making it a great preview for those planning to run that in the fall, or maybe a teaser for others. The whole event from registration, packet pick-up/expo, and swag to start corrals, finisher’s medals, and post-race party was top-notch.
This year’s swag was a super nice technical T-shirt, a winter hat and commemorative pin. Past years have included sunglasses, green Buff, and green-striped socks. The Expo also has some great commemorative stuff from apparel to pint glasses and coffee mugs. One of my favorites was a shirt from a past year that said, “Run Fast. Live Irish.” Vendors at the expo are also ready to outfit anyone who’s wardrobe might be lacking the appropriate costume for race day. It was there that I picked up my green tutu two years ago. If one is ever going to wear a tutu, this is a good race for it.
The Shamrock Shuffle 8k is a wonderful Chicago tradition in which I plan to take part as long as I can. There is really nothing I would change about this event, even the weather. As a Chicago resident, I’ve learned to deal with that. I know sometimes it can be too cold, or too hot. My boyfriend who has run it 11 out of the last 13 years, missed it once when it snowed. For me so far, the weather has been perfect for running. Luck of the Irish? Perhaps.
So, come join us! The Shamrock Shuffle is a great reason to come to Chicago in March (before summer prices kick-in). The 2020 event is March 22. Come 5 days ahead to enjoy our great city and see our green river. American Airlines and the Chicago Hilton are Shamrock Shuffle sponsors. Just saying.