I always find it a challenge to recap a large, well-known race, as most runners have already experienced personally participated at some point in their lives. Even running in and recapping the relatively new half marathon distance gives it a little different perspective, it’s still tough. This was my 4th Shamrock Run (first doing the half) and when I previewed this event a few months back, I mentioned that I actually appreciated that it stayed true to the “iconic” 15k course. I was happy that it was not significantly deviating from the hilly route that many of us love. The half stayed true to it and just required a longer out and back on Naito/Front Streets. While this isn’t the most scenic area in the world, I still appreciate the commitment to history.
So while it can be tough to write a unique recap on the most popular running in Oregon, I guess I have the weather to thank for being able to write about the most memorable Shamrock Run I have ever experienced.
The day itself…well… it was soggy.
And by soggy, I mean it was a true testament to Portland weather.
And by that, I mean it poured.
According to this website, much of Portland saw about 3/4 inch of rainfall on race day, but it felt more like a few feet. I kept expecting a reprieve (adhering to the old adage that “if you don’t like Oregon weather, just wait 5 minutes”), but it really never came. There was a time over the first 4 miles where I was trying to avoid puddles on the uneven roads, but by mile 5, I turned into “screw it” mode and just plowed ahead – wet Mizuno’s be damned. Heading up Broadway, I finally had to store my glasses in my pocket, because I just couldn’t keep them dry at all. It felt like the rain was coming down in sheets as miniature rivers were running down the carless streets and along the MAXtracks.
I felt like a Salmon as we started the climb up Terwilliger – jockeying for position amongst other “fishy” runners, desperately trying to make our way upstream as rainfall and mini-rivers flowed down. Even with the amount of water pelting me, I don’t think that I have ever been happier to see the aid and Clif stations along the climb. Each one offered me a chance to get some real (i.e. not from the sky) water in my mouth and really allowed me to revel in what I was experiencing.
It was craziness. My wife would later call it “miserable”, and while I don’t really agree with that, my guess is 1/2 of the runners probably felt the same way – at least for some portion. For me however, when I started harkening back to the large amount of races I have participated in over the past few years, I was hard-pressed to remember most of them. The ones I did remember had some sort of craziness or milestone to them (my first marathon at Foot Traffic Flat, slicing up my hands and knees by falling twice at the Peterson Ridge Rumble, stupidly running / hobbling on an injured achilles at the Roaring River Half – not to mention the aforementioned craziness of Hood to Coast 2015).
So despite the constant rain, extremely muddy conditions at Riverfront Park, and still having soggy shoes struggling to get aired out, I have no doubts that he 2016 Shamrock Run is going to be a running memory I won’t soon forget.