Shamrocked It: 2023 Shamrock Run PDX (15K)

The Shamrock Run PDX is a staple of the Portland running community, and I am a happy staple of the 15K runners. The 15K is the perfect distance for this event. It includes the whine-worthy Terwilliger MOUNTAIN without the Naito out and back the half marathoners have to complete. Its long enough to really enjoy a beer, a burger, or whatever else you want. And the distance is a confusing enough length that folks think you went way farther than 9.3 miles.   The race begins a day or two before with the Shamrock Expo. Participants have to get their bib in advance (or pay an extra fee), plus the Convention Center provides more space for booths of other races and supplies for future runs. I was there before they opened and managed to get all the way through (with a brand new hat) in less than 15 minutes. That meant plenty of time for rest at home before the rainy start line Sunday morning.

Yes, Shamrock Run 2023 was mostly in the rain, as it is most years. I would much rather complete arun in the rain than the heat. As long as I’m not sliding up or down the streets, it’s fine. I got to watch the first finishers for the 5K event before the 15K started off at 8:55am. Watching dozens of racers before I started was inspiring. Mostly inspiring to pick a different distance next time.

But my race is the 15K so that is when I hit the road. The first half of the course is mostly uphill, with the second half thankfully mostly downhill. There are points in those early miles when you can start expecting to see snow or touch the clouds after so much up. The aid stations in the first half were well-maned and I was grateful for all of them. The steep hill at mile 3 forced me to walk for a couple of minutes, rather than possibly run backwards from being so slow.


At the top of Terwilliger was a wonderful bagpiper group and the promise that mostly downhills were coming soon. The rain also took a short break while on that mountain so when I hit midway, I was physically and mentally ready to finish the race strong.

The first runner for the half marathon passed my pace around mile 7. I run with just one headphone in to be sure I can hear what is going on around me. Apparently one runner ahead of me wasn’t following that wisdom and had to be literally pulled out of the way of the motorcycle accompanying the lead runner. Multiple “move the rights” had no effect so it is good another runner on the course helped this one avoid a tire on their backside.

I switched from podcasts to music for the last mile to help energize. P!nk is a great choice for powerful music when the rain keeps pouring down. I kept the music going all the way through the finish line, the after-party (yea for warm oatmeal!), past the beer garden, and to my waiting ride.

It was a good day, a good race, and a well-earned medal. Who’s in for 2024?

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Educator. Learner. Runner. Writer. TBD.