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Runners to your Marks! Shamrock Shuffle Gets Spring Running Season Underway March 16

2018 Shamrock Shuffle. Photo supplied.

It might not feel like the beginning of the outdoor running season just yet — but it will be soon!

On Saturday, March 16, the season of many outdoor running events gets underway with the 16th annual Shamrock Shuffle, for the first time fully owned and operated by the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County (BGCDC).

Madison365 is the media sponsor of the Shamrock Shuffle.

“The original founding members made this event amazing” as a part of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, says BGCDC Director of Special Events Alex Murray. “They made it a tradition and a staple in Madison.”

Since the beginning, the community event has doubled as a fundraiser and donated proceeds to  a number of local charities, including the BGCDC. But it’s had to operate as its own nonprofit organization, which comes with a lot of legal requirements, paperwork and expenses.

“We had to pay for our own accountants, our own insurance,” says Matt Anderson of running shoe store Fleet Feet, who’s been a sponsor of the run since its second year. Handing off those responsibilities to an existing nonprofit allows more of the proceeds to benefit the BGCDC and its programs. Anderson is also on the board of directors of the BGCDC.

“Fundraising dollars are huge,” says Murray. “This is a form of revenue for us that is really crucial to making sure that everything that we do is done effectively, efficiently. A lot of these dollars go towards our programs that maybe don’t get the full spotlight. We have a few big marquee programs which are amazing, but we have so many different things that go on. We want to make sure that we can provide these opportunities as well as anything comes up, any opportunity that comes up, we don’t want to turn something down that will benefit our kids.”

Anderson says last year’s race, with nearly 3,500 participants, raised about $100,000 through registrations and sponsorships. Murray said registration for this year’s event is trending toward about 3,000 participants.

“This is a fantastic way to get the community together,” Murray says. “Whether you know it benefits a non-profit or not, going to this sort of event is really fun. It brings you closer to the people around you, closer to the community, closer to the businesses in your community.”

The 10k run gets underway at 8 am on Saturday, March 16, and the 5k run and 5k walk start at 8:15. All three events start and finish from the corner of State and Frances streets in downtown Madison and wind their way through the isthmus and UW campus.

Weather forecasts are looking better, but the event will go on “rain or shine, wind or snow,” Murray says.

And because it’s a Madison event, it even has its own official beer called “Small, Far and Away,” brewed in collaboration by Wisconsin Brewing Company, One Barrel, and Black’s Brewing in Ireland.

“It’s an all around great start to your St. Paddy’s Day weekend,” Murray says.

Registration is open now. The 5k run and walk cost $30 and the 10k run costs $35. All prices will go up by $5 on race day.