Country's largest 8K attracts race record 30,000 participants
CHICAGO - (March 23, 2009) - After injury forced her to drop from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon field at the 5K mark, decorated U.S. runner Deena Kastor will make her return to road racing on Sunday, March 29 at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. In so doing, Kastor, 36, will return to the site where she set the current U.S. women's 8K record in 2005 (24 minutes, 36 seconds).
"After more than 6 months of recovery and training, I am so excited to race again," said Kastor from her home in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. "Chicago has a special place in my heart as a city where "luck" has been on my side both at the 8K in 2005 and again later that year at the marathon distance. I look forward to starting my 2009 racing season at the Shamrock Shuffle 8K. It is just my style to be in a race where there is so much enthusiasm and excitement on the starting line."
Kastor's 2005 Chicago appearance was preceded by her Olympic Marathon bronze medal performance in the 2004 Athens Games. Her medal was the first for a U.S. woman in the marathon since Joan Benoit (Samuelson) won the inaugural gold in 1984 at Los Angeles.
Following her 2005 Shamrock Shuffle triumph, Kastor returned to Chicago in October to win the Chicago Marathon in 2:21:25. The following spring she set the current U.S. women's marathon record with a 2:19:36 win at the Flora London Marathon.
The three-time Olympian will lead the 30th Shamrock Shuffle field on Sunday, March 29 featuring 32,500 participants in the 8K run (30,000, the country's largest 8K) and 5K Fitness Walk (2,500). The annual rite of spring for local fitness enthusiasts begins and ends in Chicago's historic Grant Park.
In advance of the event, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo featuring more than 75 industry-related exhibitors will take place at Navy Pier on Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28. The Expo is free and open to the public as is the event day race course. The event will conclude with its traditional post-race party in Grant Park featuring live musical entertainment by Maggie Speaks.
More information on the event including course maps, street closures and how to get involved can be found at ShamrockShuffle.com.