The 2011 Chicago Shamrock Shuffle | Race report + photo gallery + Simon Bairu interview
Pushing the date back for this years Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, proved to break records. A sunny 74-degree day awaited racers on 9 a.m on Sunday morning, with temperatures rising throughout the late morning. Over 40,000 runners, a record high, showed up to tackle the 4.97 miles weaving throughout the Loop. With the increase in attendees came a change in the layout, the race started and ended in Grant Park, comparable to the Chicago Marathon. Simon Bairu, 27, claimed victory by breaking the finish line tape at 23:34.
With last year’s temperatures below freezing, Bairu (whom I interviewed after the race) was thankful for the weather. “I had a hamstring problem going into the race, so I was kind of cringing with the cold weather,” said Bairu, “It played to my advantage, usually I don’t like the heat, so this is the one time I was grateful to have it. It helped me stay loose throughout the race.” Bairu, a Canadian native, but currently living in Portland, Oregon, said his time did not matter, it was more about getting the win. “I wouldn’t have cared if I was a minute slower or a minute faster,” said Bairu, “I take the time with a grain of salt; it’s just about winning the race and with that I was happy. “ The Shamrock Shuffle was the start to Bairu’s road circuit races, “We’re going to have a training camp in a month, it’s a chance to get stronger and then hit some more big races,” said Bairu, “I definitely plan on doing the marathon one of these years, but this year won’t work because I have the Olympic trials, and if all goes well, I will be at the Olympics next year.” Chicago has left an impression on Bairu, “It’s a great city, the nightlife is so vibrant, I love it here,” said Bairu, “Definitely plan on coming back and running the marathon in a few years.”