The Shamrock Run

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Twelve years ago my pre-teen brain decided to get into some trouble.  The Shamrock run, an annual spring tradition in Portland, promised the winner his and her weight in Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve. As a 14 year old I thought it would be just hysterical to win the race. What would they give me? They couldn’t possibly give me 82 pounds of beer.  I had dreams of winning, becoming the coolest kid in school and hosting all night parties that included elephants and fire dancers. These parties likely ended with me jumping off the roof into a pool to the cheers of my newly made friends. The fact I didn’t know anyone who had an elephant, or pool for that matter, didn’t cross my mind. I just assumed if I won the rest would take care of itself.

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The closing scenes from the 1968 Peter Sellers movie, “The Party” really give an idea of what I envisioned winning the Shamrock run would lead to.  You can watch the full movie free on YouTube here “The Party” or skip to about 1:15:00 in and watch a bit, you will quickly get the idea.

Curiosity and imagination got the better of me.  I trained hard all winter.  I got a new pair of Nike Air Skylons the week before the race and laid out my racing uniform the night before.  I was ready to make some mischief, cause the race director a headache and gain instant popularity with the 8th Grade class at Mt. Tabor Middle School. I was convinced I could win, but on race day things didn’t go exactly as I expected. I ran hard but a whole lot of older guys ran faster.  I watched in envy as the winners (most of them wearing backpacks and 4 layers of sweats) were weighed in front of the crowd of runners and then lugged cases of beer from the stage. I left the race empty handed but excited. I hadn’t won, but I would eventually.


Twelve years later, I’ve got 150 pounds of Henry Weinhard’s coming my way. As I’ve got a lot of big races on tap I’m happy to give the Shamrock Run spoils away, so email me if you’re thirsty!  Also… if anybody has a pool or a elephant, let me know.



2 thoughts on “The Shamrock Run

  1. David, this is such a fun story and great memories of your running career as a youth. You have put many miles under your feet since your first Shamrock Run. May the good Lord give you strength and energy for many more!

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