Photo courtesy of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K
The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K draws participants of all abilities to downtown Chicago for the race that has come to represent the kickoff to Chicago’s running season. The weekend’s events begin tomorrow with the Health & Fitness Expo at McCormick Place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and continues Saturday with the second day of the Expo from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. before the main event Sunday morning.
“You’re running through the streets the [Bank of America Chicago] Marathon goes on,” three-time Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle elite racer Tera Moody says. “With the marathon there’s so much pressure and so much intensity, but for the Shamrock Shuffle, so many more people can do it because training for an 8K isn’t quite as intense and doesn’t take the same time commitment.”
The race begins at 8:30 Sunday morning and takes runners through the streets of downtown Chicago, beginning at Monroe and Columbus in Grant Park and going as far north as Grand, as far west as Franklin and as far south as Roosevelt before finishing in Grant Park on Columbus.
“You get that big city marathon feel in an 8K which is a really, really unique thing,” Moody says. “I’ve not been to another race that gets that kind of buzz and excitement for a shorter distance race that’s not combined with a marathon.”
The race brings together tens of thousands of runners, from casual participants to elite athletes. Nike Oregon Track Club runner Alexi Pappas will headline the race one day after her 25th birthday. Pappas, a Dartmouth grad and 2012 finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year, paced the 2:37 women last year at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and will be one of many athletes from USATF-member racing teams competing in seventh annual Elite Club 8K Competition, which features a $20,000 prize purse.
With all the energy and excitement surrounding the event, Moody advises runners to start the race carefully and in a manner that fits their training.
“The temptation is really high to run your first mile too fast, and it’s so much better to run a consistent pace and finish faster than you start,” Moody says. “You’ll feel better if you do it that way and not get caught up in the intensity at the start line.”
After the race, both runners and the public can celebrate the race at the Post-Race Party, where The Chancey Brothers will provide live music and race participants 21 and older can redeem their drink ticket for a Michelob ULTRA.
For complete information on the weekend, visit www.shamrockshuffle.com.