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Winners of Shamrock Run 8K get their weight in beer

The Shamrock Run will bring 20,000 runners to the downtown area this weekend. It's Portland's biggest running event, dating back to 1979.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Shamrock Run, Portland’s biggest running event, will bring 20,000 runners to the downtown area this weekend

"When you see those thousands of people just streaming constantly across the finish line, you're witnessing something really special," said Greg Pressler, the voice that has welcomed thousands of runners to the Shamrock Run's finish line for the last 25 years.

There are six distances total, and the finishers of the 8K, 15K and half marathon get a medal incorporated with a bottle opener in their design. The winners of the 8K get an extra bonus: their weight in beer.

In the years past, race winners would hop on a scale— balanced by cases of beer.

"Well, the race founder and his team had a partnership with a local micro brewery, and they said, 'wouldn't it be fun if we had some kind of way to give the top runners the top finishers beer as a prize?'" said Pressler.

Credit: Runnerspace.com
A Shamrock Run race winner sits on a wooden balance scale, as boxes of beer are place on the other side to determine their 'weight in beer' prize

Widmer was the local sponsor. This year, the sponsor is Michelob ULTRA. 

Another new prize in 2023: the Shamrock Showdown. It's a team competition amongst local running clubs, with the top three men and women splitting a grand in prize money.

RELATED: Here are the road closures for Shamrock Run on Sunday

This is the 45th Shamrock Run, it was first held back in 1979. The event has a long-standing charity component.

"OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital has been a grateful beneficiary of the Shamrock Run since 1996. The hospital became the primary beneficiary in 2002. In total, the Shamrock Run has contributed close to $800,000" says Lynette Yasuda with OHSU.

Credit: Ryan Bethke / @RWBmultimedia.
2019 Shamrock Run along the Portland waterfront

The run was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Last year's event happened the very same weekend when Oregon's mask mandates were lifted. 

You can find the event schedule here.

Chris McGinness is a meteorologist and reporter for KGW. Got a story idea or a great photo you want to share? Email him at cmcginness@kgw.com or reach out on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

WATCH: Shamrock Run through the years

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