There are a number of reasons why the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle is one of the most popular races in the country. As an 8K it offers a safe growth in distance for the typical 5K runner while still giving a decent challenge to the more endurance inclined. The flat course gives speed runners the opportunity to set a PR and beginners the knowledge that they can finish. Most importantly, it is on one of the biggest stages for any race shorter than a marathon. That brings in a number of added bonuses, but can be intimidating to first time Shamrock runners. However, like its sister race, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the events of this coming weekend are streamlined for everyone’s ease.
Festivities kick off on Friday with the opening of the Health and Fitness Expo at Navy Pier. The expo will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and again from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. All runners must either go to the expo or send someone with their confirmation email to pick up their packet for them. The packet, which includes the race-bib, will not be available for pick up on race day.
In addition to picking up the goodie bag, those in attendance at the expo will have the opportunity to browse the roughly 100 vendors in attendance giving out deals, free prizes and information on a number of local and national events throughout the year. The expo is free to attend for runners and their fans and features a number of big names in the running community and gear for athletes of all kind.
Because the Shamrock Shuffle is one of the most popular events in the city of Chicago, it can be a bit of a pain to get around in the city before or after the race. So to make it as painless as possible the race organizers have given a few different options for making sure runners get to the race on time. Most importantly, everyone should make sure they leave more than enough time to make it to Grant Park. For a race that consistently gets well over 30,000 runners there is no such thing as too early. The closer it gets to race time, the more crowded the area will get for everyone. Race organizers always advise the use of public transportation to get to the race. The starting line is a short walk from nearly all of the city’s L lines. Metra trains also come in to nearby stations. Those who decide they need, or want to drive in can guarantee a parking space by using the website parkwhiz.com. ParkWhiz offers users the opportunity to book a parking space in one of nearly 200 locations throughout the city and a locked-in rate.
After runners pick up their things at the expo, they will be all set for Sunday’s race. On race day runners should already be prepared to find their correct starting corral and know what wave they will be in. Those designated to the corrals A, B, C, and D will take off with the first wave at *:30 and all runners will need to be prepared for the start 10 minutes before that. At 8:55 runners in wave 2, which is made up of corrals E and F will start their race and finally Wave 3 and corrals G, H, J, K and L will start at 9:15.
As runners start to filter back across the finish line they are invited to enjoy the post-race events at and around the Shamrock Shuffle. The post-race party will be held immediately after the first race finishers cross the line. There will be live music and plenty of space for runners to reconnect with friends and family who were either cheering them on or fellow runners. Each runner who is of age will have one free drink ticket on their bib which is redeemable for one Michelob ULTRA. Runners can buy extra drink tickets at the expo before race day, they are also encouraged to have their ID checked in advance also at the expo. The party will continue at the nearby bar, The Scout. Runners who show up with their bibs will receive an additional drink ticket for a Michelob ULTRA. The Scout is located at 1301 S. Wabash, just a short walk from the finish line.
For complete information on all of the events surrounding the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, visit their website.