A balmy 68 degrees welcomed runners to Grant Park this morning for the 2011 Shamrock Shuffle – quite a change from the last few years where we woke to bitter temperatures and near blizzard conditions. Elite runners Amy Yoder Begley and Simon Bairu triumphed over the largest field in event history.
A record number of runners took off at 9 a.m. sharp pounding through the city streets like leprechauns with an extra shot of espresso in their morning latte ! The crazy running costumes really is part of what creates such the fun atmosphere for this race year after year, rain or snow or shine. Some runners even mixed the traditional St. Patty’s garb with bunny ears since the event shifted to a date closer to Easter this year. One thing is for sure, fun was had by all and the post-race party did not disappoint.
The entertainment was rockin’, but the real spectacle was our very own Chicago skyline on a picture perfect morning. It really was nice to actually hang around after the race and meet up with friends without huddling around each other for heat.
Speaking of heat, the team competitions were also hot this year. The Wisconsin Runners took the Men’s Elite Club title and Runablaze Iowa the women’s. The Red Open divisions were topped by Dick Pond Fast Track Saucony – SPEED for the men, and the Fleet Feet Nike Racing Team for the women. The Open Blue division was won by Dick Pond Fast Track Saucony – We Run.
I’ve gotta say, I wondered why the race was moved so far ahead as springtime (heck anytime) in Chicago is so unpredictable weather-wise, but I’ve gotta say, today was one of the best races I have run and if it means wearing bunny ears for the Shamrock Shuffle, then so be it !