This March, approximately 35,000 people will participate in the Adidas Shamrock Run — the largest running and walking event in Oregon, and the second largest on the west coast. Runners and walkers can sign up to tackle a hilly half marathon, 15K (9.3 miles), an 8K (4.97 miles) or a 5K (3.1) course. There’s also a 1K Leprechaun Lap for the kids.
All of the family-friendly festivities start on SW Naito Parkway and Pine Street, right beside Waterfront Park, and end with a festive finish line party, featuring a beer garden, live music and smoked salmon chowder.
Bottom line: You’re pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. Show up well prepared at the starting line, though, and you’ll enjoy those post-race rewards even more. To gear yourself up for a great Shamrock Run experience, try to tackle one (or more) of these training runs we’ve put together for you before the big day.
Nothing quite prepares you for the hilly climb up SW Terwilliger like a hilly climb up SW Terwilliger. For this almost 5-mile jaunt, you’ll park by the Duniway Track, off of SW Sheridan Street, and go from there. Warm up with a couple of nice, slow laps around the track, and then head over to Terwilliger. Run up until you reach the Chart House Restaurant (on your left), then turn around and reverse your way back to the start.
This 3-mile (almost 5K) route takes you along the Willamette River, starting on the east side, at SE Salmon Street, and heading north, up to the Steel Bridge. Cross the Steel Bridge over to the west side, run south along the river, and then up and over the Hawthorne Bridge, which brings you back over to the east side. You can stop at Salmon and Water Street, where you began, or run two laps for a nice, flat 6-mile workout.
Before you try to complete 9.3 miles on race day, you’ll want to build up your mileage slowly and surely in training. This 8+ mile run is hilly, but still totally approachable. You’ll head over to NW Portland to start (somewhere around NW 28th Avenue and NW Thurman Street) and run straight up Thurman, all the way up to the start of the Leif Erikson Trail. You’ll then run to about the 3-mile marker, turn around, and head back downhill to the start.
Practice picking up your pace before the big race with a solid tempo run. Head to Laurelhurst Park in southeast Portland, and run some laps at your goal race pace. Each lap is one mile around, so it will be easy to focus on pace and track your total distance all at the same time. Start with one or two laps, and increase your distance each week, depending on what your goal is.
If you’re going to do the 5K or the 8K, it’s good to practice to integrate some running or walking intervals into your usual workout. Start on the north side of Mt. Tabor Park and walk or run up to the top where there is a nice, flat loop. Then, alternate between running and walking during a lap around. Perform as many laps as you wish, and then run or walk your way back down to the start.
To further prepare, check out the Shamrock race’s official course maps. Good luck!