On a sunny, windy weekend day in Victorian Square, a mass of green-clad running partygoers gathered in and around O’Skis Pub & Grille to enjoy an Irish breakfast, $5 Irish coffees, and maybe a green beer before the Shamrock Shuffle. Groups of friends took pictures under the arched rainbow, all smiles and a lucky pint glass filled with green beer waiting for them at the finish line.
At high noon the runners take off through the streets of Sparks, winding through the Prater neighborhood. There is practically no traffic, lots of encouragement along the way, and plenty of bouncing green tutus and people-watching. At times I was following the “Kiss My Shamrock” group with shamrocks strategically-placed on their backsides, while at other times I found myself behind Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
At the start and finish lines, the green T-shirted “Run? I thought they said RUM” group breezed through the 5k but opted to stick with the green beer (instead of rum) after crossing the finish line. A K9 dog trotted along with a smile on its face had a green bandana around its neck that said “Insert Treat Here”.
Jamie Umphres of the “Kiss My Shamrock” group said, “I had an injured knee so my friends and I walked it but it was still fun. Anytime people can get away from the TV and social media is great.” Regarding they got the idea for the “Kiss My Shamrock” theme, Umphres says that they saw it on Pinterest and her friend has an Irish husband where this was always a joke between the couple. The group got together and had a T-shirt decorating party to prepare for the Shuffle.
“This is my first Shamrock Shuffle and it isn’t as extravagant as some of the other runs in the area, but the after-effect is fun,” she says as she holds up her green beer. “I really hope that the City of Sparks continues to encourage activity and that they keep up the community and camaraderie that comes out for these events where you can bring the whole family.”
Trophies were given to the fastest men and women runners, best costume was given to a creepy-looking Joker, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles won best group costume.
In total, about 400 people came out to the 5th Annual Shamrock Shuffle to enjoy green beer and good costumes while getting a little bit of exercise as a prelude to the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.
“Anytime we can get people out and about it’s good,” says Shamrock Shuffle runner and Sparks City Councilman Donald Abbott.
To view the results and photos, visit http://crawlreno.com/event/shamrock/.