The 34th edition of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K is loaded to the gills with top-level runners. It all starts with Team USA distance stars Dathan Ritzenhein and Lisa Uhl. You might have seen them in the Olympics if you were watching. Following them, or even maybe staying with them, at least early in this just-about 5-mile race, will be top club runners from all over the Midwest as well as from across the country. That's because this year's Shamrock is serving as the USATF Club Championship 8K road race. Throw in most of the top local age-groupers and thousands who will run hard and not-so-hard as an annual rite of spring, and you have one hell of a race shaping up Sunday morning in Grant Park and the Windy City's Loop area.
I scrolled through the team rosters tonight, and every big name I've seen recently in local and regional races is signed up to run. 40,000 runners of all shapes and abilities are registered, making this the largest 8K road race in the world. That means at 34,000 or more people are likely to finish this traditional "opener" to the outdoor running season. In truth, a lot of other races have been run this year, but the Shamrock is still the Shamrock. It's huge.
I have run this race countless times on countless courses over the years. I'm still excited and looking forward to lining up for another crack at it. The cold March has kept training on the slow side, but I'll bet we all rise to the occasion. The wheelchairs go at 8:28. The rest of us get rolling starting at 8:30.