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2011 Shamrock Shuffle Preview

The 32nd annual Shamrock Shuffle will take place next Sunday, April 10. Known as the kick-off to the outdoor running season for Chicago area runners, the eighth largest road race in the world reached the 40,000 registered participant capacity in record time this year.

The event typically takes place in mid-March (hence, the Shamrock affiliation) but has been moved this year for some reason. It may be because the for last several years, the race has been run in insanely bad weather.

The Shamrock Shuffle is a popular race for many reasons besides jump-starting the running season. Its sheer size contributes to an overall party atmosphere on and off the course. The Shamrock Shuffle Health and Fitness Expo, where runners pick up their race packets, also provides opportunity for all to visit vendor booths and charity sponsors. The Expo is held at Navy Pier, and what better way to kick-off a party in Chicago!

On the serious side, the elite field includes Olympian Amy Yoder and national record holder Simon Bairu. Elite Club teams as well as Open Teams compete for prize money and bragging rights. Competitors and recreational runners alike enjoy the festive atmosphere provided by this event.

Several charities are associated with this long standing event. $2 from each race entry, along with a dollar-for-dollar match from Bank of America, will be donated to benefit Chicago-based youth running initiatives. Many runners train and run for several other affiliated charities.

I have participated in this race for several years now, through the good weather and the bad and look forward to all the event has to bring. While the course can tend to be a little crowded, there is a corral system for past participants as well as time qualifying corrals, so if you want to run this race for time, I would highly recommend it.