Chicago Runners Celebrate the Spring Racing Season at the 2016 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K

photo by Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K


CHICAGO – A sea of green and sunny skies greeted runners at the 37th annual Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. After blizzard-like conditions seized the Windy City 24 hours before the race, more than 23,000 runners crossed the finish line in Grant Park. Defending champion, Stephen Sambu, 27, of Tucson, Ariz., broke the tape first well ahead of the pack in 22:45. Alexi Pappas, 26, of Eugene, Ore., repeated as the women’s champion in 26:17.

“The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K is an annual celebration of Chicago’s running community, and a tradition for thousands of runners,” said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “The dedication and spirit of our local runners make the Shamrock Shuffle a great race and today is about celebrating them.”

Sambu made his Chicago racing debut in 2015 with a dominating performance, running the fastest Shamrock Shuffle time since 2002 and the 12th fastest time in the event’s history. In today’s repeat of his show-stopping performance from a year ago, he led the field from start to finish, turning in another commanding performance and running the fourth fastest time in the event’s history, 22:45. Jason Witt, of Rochester Hills, Mich., trailed Sambu by 66 seconds to land on the podium with a time of 23:51. Alex Russeau, of Dundee, Mich., representing Playmakers Elite New Balance, rounded out the top three with a time of 23:53.

“I was really happy to be back at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle,” said Sambu. “I felt strong the entire way, and the weather was really nice compared to last year.”

Alexi Pappas, a member of the of the Nike Oregon Track Club, won today’s Shamrock Shuffle after dueling New Balance Chicago’s Kristen Heckert and Olympian Desiree Linden through downtown Chicago. Pappas subtracted 15 seconds from her 2015 time to take the first spot. Heckert, of Bolingbrook, Ill., posted a significant PR, 26:35, to finish second, followed by 2016 Olympian Desiree Linden, of Rochester Hills, Mich., in third with a time of 27:07.

“Racing in Chicago is always a fun experience and today my goal was to win,” said Pappas. “It was a very tactical and fun race. In every wind there is a win!”

Jose Alejandre, of Hickory Hills, Ill, won the Shamrock Shuffle wheelchair men’s competition in 24:52, and Mary Kate Callahan, of La Grange, Ill., was the women’s champion in 29:20.

The 2016 Shamrock Shuffle included the eighth annual Deloitte Elite Club Competition, featuring 50 elite USATF-member club teams from eight states. Both the men and women’s Hansons-Brooks Distance Project teams took home the elite club titles. It’s the fifth consecutive win for the women’s team, scoring three runners, with a combined time of 1:23:15 and the fifth win overall for the men’s team, scoring four runners, with a combined time of 1:36:30. The women’s team was led by Desiree Linden, and Jason Witt led the men’s team.

Rounding out the top three teams in the men’s team competition were the Playmakers Elite New Balance (1:36:58) and Team Ohio (1:37:08). In the women’s team competition, New Balance Chicago (1:24:23) and Runablaze Iowa (1:24:30) were second and third, respectively.

Top 10 Male Finishers
1. Stephen Sambu, 22:45
2. Jason Witt, 23:51
3. Alex Russeau, 23:53
4. Grant Wintheiser, 23:55
5. Tony Jordanek, 23:59
6. Craig Miller, 23:59
7. Brendan Gregg, 24:01
8. Jackson Neff, 24:01
9. Nick Holmes, 24:01
10. Zach Baker, 24:03

Top 10 Female Finishers
1. Alexi Pappas, 26:17
2. Kristen Heckert, 26:35
3. Desiree Linden, 27:07
4. Tera Moody, 27:30
5. Dot McMahan, 27:50
6. Danna Herrick, 27:59
7. Obsie Birru, 28:14
8. Casey McDermott, 28:17
9. Katie Kellner, 28:18
10. Jillian Tholen, 28:19