|The media team before the 2011 Shamrock Shuffle|
The race recently announced a unique feature that will be part of the Shuffle's 33rd running and will involve any interested members of the media. It's a charitable challenge among media members who will team up to compete for bragging rights, team prizes and a monetary award to be donated in the winning team's name to support the Chicago Park District's youth running programs. The Shamrock Shuffle Media Challenge runners don't have to be fast or fierce or even race regulars--and you don't have to feel like your far-from-fast pace, if you fall into that category, would deem you undesirable as a teammate. The draft will attempt to evenly divide runners to avoid stacking by pace, which could make winning the title even tougher. The winning team will be determined by the lowest cumulative team time which will be calculated by adding together each team member's 8K finish time.
Winning team members gain bragging rights among their peers as well as a commemorative award and VIP hospitality at the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. But perhaps the greatest gift is what will be given back to the community. On behalf of the winning media team, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K will donate $5,000 to the Chicago Park District. Nike, an Official Level Sponsor of the race, will match that donation to provide a total of $10,000 in support of local youth running programs organized by the Chicago Park District. It gets better: The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K and Nike will also provide their expertise by mentoring the coaches who are part of the park district's youth program. Running experts will provide information and tips so the coaches can learn more about getting the full benefit and enjoyment out of a running program geared toward youth.
"Running is one of the most accessible ways for kids to stay healthy, and having recognized members of the media help promote that message by participating in a fun and healthy event like the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K provides a terrific example for local youth who look up to these individuals," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski in a press release. "The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K is all about having fun and inspires friendly competition among family, friends and co-workers. The Media Challenge was created in that same spirit and fits nicely with our approach to the race."
Look for us in special Media Team designated gear (thank you Nike and Fleet Feet!) behind all the elite speedsters. Yep, that's one of the awesome perks for participating in this friendly competition--we get to start at the tail end of the elite wave before the streets get completely flooded with shufflers.
Photo provided by a 2011 Chicago Media Team member (unfortunately I cannot remember who).