Nearly 400 runners Shamrock Shuffle their way through Eau Claire

Despite the cold weather and COVID-19, nearly 400 runners show up to the Shamrock Shuffle hosted by UW-Eau Claire.

Kiara Jackson

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Photo by Kiara Jackson

UW-Eau Claire hosts first Shamrock Shuffle since COVID-19 forced a temporary stop.

For the first time since COVID-19 took its hold on the Eau Claire community, the UW-Eau Claire has held their annual 5K, the Shamrock Shuffle.

Hosted by UW-Eau Claire’s recreation center, the Shamrock shuffle is an event that has held much significance to many people, according to many of the 5Ks runners. Despite the cold weather, the Shuffle managed to attract nearly 400 runners on Saturday. 

According to Brittany Wold, race director, even though the numbers have yet to return to the pre-COVID 19 numbers of between 900 and 1000 the race was a great chance for people to have fun while getting involved and being active. 

“Our event really is kind of a great kick-off to the running season,” Wold said. “People look forward to the festive attire, and also just getting their running season starting and being part of the running community again.”

While Wold wasn’t running in the shuffle herself, she said this 5K would be perfect for runners just starting up again. Jazmine Dewey, UW-Eau Claire student, said she agreed, starting off her first 5K of the running season with the Shamrock Shuffle. 

“This group that I am with here, we are like a little running group and we pretty much just do 5Ks all around Wisconsin,” Dewey said. “I’m looking forward to running around with my friends and family and running around Eau Claire.”

Gathering members from all over the Eau Claire community, and all over the United States, the Shuffle was full of people including Lucas Milas from Stanley, Eldon Horton from Wausau, Gonzaga University student Katie Warnke and UW-Eau Claire student Jazmine Dewey. 

Although this event was held at the UW-Eau Claire’s campus, UW-Eau Claire wasn’t alone in the development of this 5K run. 

The shuffle was sponsored by many of Chippewa Valley’s businesses including Direct Fitness Solutions, VIBE Nutrition, Trend Stone, Summit Fitness, Westconsin Credit Union and Fleet Feet, according to UW-Eau Claire’s website.

Hosted by UW-Eau Claire’s recreation center, for some people the Shamrock Shuffle isn’t just another 5K, but a family event. Eldon Horton said he, daughter Renee Barth and the rest of their family, are back for their 15th year. 

“This is the first year my grandsons are doing it with us, so this is a big family event that I’m really looking forward to.” Horton said.

One of the many other runners at the shuffle was Lucas Milas, Stanley-Boyd Highschool student, running the shuffle for his very first time in a Grinch costume and face glitter. 

“We were looking forward to getting dressed up and moving,” Milas said. “We’re just prepared to have a fun time and run the best race we can.”

Milas wasn’t the only one prepared to have a fun time at the shuffle, according to Gonzaga University student Katie Warnke, who said she was excited to run despite not being excited about the weather.

“It’s super cold out, but I am thinking everyone is still going to be in a really good mood and everyone is going to be having a good time,” Warnke said.

Even though the crowd was unable to reach the nearly 1000 participants prior to COVID-19, Wold said that the recreation center and fellow shuffle hosts were still very satisfied and thankful for the runners that did show up. 

“We really appreciate everyone showing up despite the cold,” Wold said. “Being here, dressing festively, seeing all the smiles today was just fantastic and we just really appreciate our runners.”

Jackson can be reached at [email protected]