Running season has begun in Chicago. Along with many other Chicago runners, we run throughout winter but the annual Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K race has become almost like a rite of passage for runners as this massively popular race is officially viewed as the kickoff for running season as Spring approaches in the Windy City. However, it is also ironic that although the Shamrock Shuffle marks the start of spring running, the past two years we've had very cold weather on race day that made running conditions very much less than ideal. Race day in 2009 was especially memorable. We woke up that day, looked outside our window and saw what was almost like the start of a blizzard. We still made our way to the start line. Total registered participants that year was 30,000 but only 14,000 brave souls turned up at the start line. We ran through slush and snowy mess. I should also mention that our feet were already soaked from the slush as we made the journey from our home to the start line.
This year, we almost obsessively checked the weather forecast for race day. It would rain and thunderstorm, it seemed. We received email alerts from the race organizer on ideal running apparel and gear for wet conditions. Mother nature had a change of mind when the evening before race day, the latest weather forecast showed sunny and warm weather. Running shorts, it was then for us.
Photos courtesy of MarathonFoto, the official race photographers.
This year a record of 40,000 participants signed up to run this race which made this 8K race the biggest in the world. We ran through the streets of downtown Chicago with no shortage of spectators, supporters, running coaches, and volunteers throughout the race course. I hope it never becomes an understatement to how much volunteers contribute to events like this. One memorable female teenage volunteer shouted "Good job, you guys. I wish I could run an 8K".
The Shamrock Shuffle is also viewed as a fun race. It's a good distance for a not-so-long race for competitive runners as well as leisure runners. Going along with adding the fun to the race, T wore his favorite green Goofy hat for the race. He likes to be goofy that way, no pun intended. Other runners were decked out in green socks or green shamrock head pieces.
The sun came out and we honestly never expected it to become that warm that morning. But we could only thank Mother Nature for being kind to us this year after the previous years of crummy weather running in layered clothing, gloves, and headbands. This year, I came in at 47 mins 50 secs; didn't break my personal record from last year's 8K race but it was a good run this year nevertheless. T came in at 37 mins 53 mins. We came home, showered, and went out for a beer and burger. That's how we like to top of our runs.