Race Recap: The soggiest Shamrock Run ever! (Portland)

Weather in March can be pretty wet. There's also a chance that it can be quite nice. And occasionally, you'll get the soggiest day ever, and that ends up being the day where 30,000 runners and walkers take to the streets of Portland for the 38th annual Shamrock Run Portland. The weather, of course, is the one thing the race organizer cannot influence, and as a runner in Oregon, you accept the fact that you may get rained on. Official results for all distances can be found here. Free downloadable race pictures are posted here

As we were getting up in the dark (since we had just sprung forward to daylight savings time) I was hoping for a break in the rain until noon, but no such luck. We drove downtown in the rain, parked the car in a parking garage, and walked through the rain to the starting area at Waterfront Park. My son’s middle school running club (tiding over the time between cross country and track&field season) was meeting at the Salmon Street fountain to gather up before the start. The 8k runners had to go line up pretty soon after we arrived, and I was glad to get going.

8k start

The start went smoothly, no delay due to trains. With the “release and hold” pattern of wave starts to stretch out the field of runners, I didn’t cross the start line until about 8-10 minutes after the official race, but it really helps with crowding (and chip-timing gives accurate race results). There were puddles on the streets, and I started out trying to avoid them, but soon gave up on that.

The first two miles of the race take Naito Parkway all the way to the 8k turnaround well past the Fremont bridge. It’s not the most exciting scenery to be running through, but listening in on other runners’ conversations and looking forward to the bands playing along the way was passing my time. Shortly after the turnaround I welcomed the well staffed and stocked water station. After passing the 3 mile mark, the course took a right turn heading south on 9th Ave. There were more spectators and bands along this stretch, and time passed quickly. A left turn and right turn took us onto Broadway and the prospect of the half mile uphill. I took another cup of water from the aid station at the beginning of the incline, and headed up the hill. I must have missed the 4 mile marker, but soon enough I reached the top, turned left and headed downhill again towards the river. A left turn onto Naito, and the finish line was just half a block away. I was happy with my time and the effort I had put forward.

Watching the 5k finish

After finishing, I browsed the vendor tents and found Clif bars, chocolate milk, yogurt and slices of bread to refuel with. Race organizers also provided ample quantities of bottled water. I opted against standing in line for a tiny cup of salmon chowder (which was delicious in past years, but the amount we are offered seems to be less each year) and also skipped the beer garden this time.

The rain during the race really didn’t bother me much. It has a very nice water-cooling effect. I did get quite chilled while waiting for the running club 5k runners, and I wish I had brought a warmer coat for the wait time after. At a big race like Shamrock Run with its 30,000 participants I try to avoid the long lines of bag check and packet pickup. But this iconic run has been a lot of fun each time I have participated, and it is worth the hassle that can come with large crowds.

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