Competitive 8k race highlights commemorative 45th anniversary on Sunday, March 12
PORTLAND, Ore. – March 1, 2023 – Every year, when the calendar flips from February to March, that only means one thing to the Pacific Northwest running community. The 2023 Shamrock Run Portland is preparing to welcome more than 20,000 runners for Oregon’s favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition.
The 45th edition of the race that offers a distance for everyone is set for Sunday, March 12, and there will be a new component to this year’s event. The first ever “Shamrock Showdown” is set to be thrown down. The 8K race will be geared to elite and sub-elite runners with prize money to the top three men’s and women’s three finishers.
he Shamrock Showdown is a great opportunity for the competitive runners to face off against each other with some stakes on the line,” said Jeff Merrill, president of Portland Track, a non-profit that stages running events in the city. “It’s something that’s talked about for the sub-elite and elite runners in the city. For a road race to put up prize money and create an environment for the best out there to get after it, that’s really welcomed and recognized by the entire running community.”
Few cities feature a running community more vibrant than Portland. Nike is headquartered just outside the city in Beaverton. Adidas is based in Portland. With the University of Oregon barely 110 miles to the south in track town Eugene, elite post-college runners flock to the city to train.
And Shamrock serves as the race that kicks off the running season. Whether you’re a casual jogger or world class athlete looking to land a payday, the waterfront running festival offers something for everyone.
There’s a 5K, 8K, 15K, half marathon, four-mile walk and the 1K children's “Leprechaun Lap” benefitting OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. This year, with the introduction of the Shamrock Showdown, there will be prize money on the line for elites. Race organizers hope to attract future sponsorship for the showdown, with the plan on increasing the cash payouts in the future.
“This is incredible,” said Tate Schienbein, who ran at Purdue, placed 17th at the 2018 Boston Marathon and is active in the Portland running community.
At last year’s event, Schienbein won the 5K then doubled in the 8K, finishing third. He’s the meet director for Portland Track and is a member of the Jacuzzi Boys Athletic Club, whose motto (Blood, Sweat and Beers) gives a hint about the club’s priorities.
Regarding the Shamrock Showdown and prize money being offered, Schienbein said, “It’s very much appreciated and it drives more competition. In future years I’m sure more people will even be willing to travel.”
As part of the race’s Irish festival heritage, Shamrock and Kells Irish Pub & Brewery announced a partnership for a bigger and better finish line party in 2023.
“At Kells, we’ve long been fans of the Shamrock Run and the race’s impact on downtown Portland,” said Gerard McAleese, owner and operator of Kells. “With our annual Irish Festival overlapping during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, it just made sense to figure out a way to partner and create a bigger impact for the city and charity. We couldn’t be more delighted to make it official, and we look forward to co-hosting the city’s biggest, greenest celebration yet.”
As parties go, fewer are more festive than the one celebrated at Shamrock Run Portland. Try naming another race that will award 8k winners their weight in free beer.
And few races have doled out more money to its leading charity. Shamrock named OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital as its primary beneficiary in 2002 and since then has raised nearly $600,000 for the world-class hospital.
After a three-year hiatus, nearly 15,000 runners and walkers returned to downtown Portland last year to revive the iconic tradition. The event was canceled just days before the race in 2020 because of COVID protocols. In 2021, the event was put on as a virtual run.
Said Portland’s Carrie Dimoff after winning last year’s women’s 5K, “I always get so fired up for the Shamrock 5K. It’s my favorite local road race. I gave it everything I had.”
Another Portland resident, Katrina Hombrebueno, was dancing on the grass with a light rain falling during last year’s post-race festivities.
“It was good vibes today,” said Hombrebueno. “It felt like we were back together, having fun. It was good to see everyone again, dancing, having fun. Shamrock puts on a party.”
For more information or to register for Portland’s premier running event, please visit ShamrockRunPortland.com and follow @ShamrockPDX on social media.