Runners join in warm Shamrock Shuffle

April 10, 2011 9:38:27 AM PDT
Tens of thousands of runners stepped off in the Shamrock Shuffle through Chicago's downtown area Sunday.

According to the event organizer's website, the running conditions are yellow, meaning less than ideal.

But when have conditions ever been good for the Shuffle? Last year, temperatures were below freezing, and two years ago, it was snowing. Half of the participants didn't show up.

April 10 is the latest in the year that the 2011 Bank of American Shamrock Shuffle has ever taken place. So, that means the temperatures are higher. They reached near 70 degrees before the race ended.

Approximately 40,000 people were running this year's race, which began at 9 a.m. That is the largest number ever, making it the largest 8K in the world. At least, that's how organizers billed the event.

The Shamrock Shuffle is popular because it signals the beginning of the running season in Chicago, as well as the marathon training season for a lot of people. Runners finally come out of hibernation and get off of their tread treadmills to go outside.

The running course itself is very flat and fast. It winds mostly through the streets of the Loop and is reminiscent of the course that the Chicago Marathon follows through the downtown streets.

ABC7's own John Garcia was among those participating in the race. Most runners were expected to finish the course in about an hour, although many elite runners finished in less time.

Drivers in Chicago's downtown area were advised of street closures in the Loop and near Lake Shore Drive and Grant Park.