Runners went for gold at this year’s Shamrock Shuffle

Macey VanDenMeerendonk

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March 25, 2020

Photo by Gabbie Henn

UW-Eau Claire students and locals participated in the Shamrock Shuffle last Saturday.

UW-Eau Claire students and Eau Claire locals dressed in green last Saturday to participate in the Shamrock Shuffle, the annual 5k hosted by UW-Eau Claire Recreation and Sport Facilities.

Eau Claire has hosted the run for the past 20 years, while the Little Leprechauns 1k for 3- to 10-year-olds, and the Littlest Leprechauns 0.1k for 2-year-olds were added in the last three years.

Brittany Wold, the event coordinator and the university’s fitness coordinator, said the event sees a lot of returning participants from previous years and allows for a mix of people in different age groups to join the action.

“Our 1k and the 0.1k have pulled in different demographics which is something that we love,” Wold said. “It really is an event for all ages.”

The planning starts in October with city applications, sponsorships and marketing. Marketing for the event starts in January.

Groups and teams were able to compete in the race together. Teams like the UWEC Triathlon Club, Chancellors Hall and the UWEC Cheer & Stunt team all participated in the race.

Jacen Barron, a sophomore business management student and member of the cheer and stunt team, said the team was working the first half of the event and then decided to run.

Barron said he liked that people got dressed up for the race and that it made the event more fun. He said he knew people who traveled to come to the race and it was cool to see people getting into the event.

“People go all out for the shamrock theme and it’s pretty cool to look at and see all the goofy costumes people bring out,” Barron said. “You see people from all over so it’s kind of cool that people would travel to come run in Eau Claire.”

Samantha Doller, a junior computer science student, said the cheer and stunt team ran as a way for team bonding and it was a tradition they did every year. Doller said her favorite part about the event is the course.

“The track is really cool how it’s right along the Chippewa (River) for most of it, so it’s kind of pretty,” Doller said.

The race started at the top of the campus hill and went along the river. The participants had to run up the long hill of Clairemont Ave. before running the stretch in front of Sacred Heart Hospital until they reached the finish line in front of McPhee.

There is typically around 1,000 participants every year, Wold said, but this year with the flu season hitting and the weather, the number dropped down a few hundred.

“Families being sick or people not being able to get out and run to train like they have previously has had a lot of people out,” Wold said, “but we have over 700 participating and we are very proud to have that number.”

The event is a fundraiser for Eau Claire Recreation and Sport Facilities to raise money for the student leadership development. It helps student employees fund their attendance for a certification or professional development workshop, Wold said.

The most important part of the event, Wold said, is that it is for all ages.

“The kids are so excited to be participating in an event like this and the energy around those kids running is so awesome,” Wold said. “All the families that come out for the 5k are fantastic and seeing people having a really great family day is amazing to our department.”