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The Shamrock Marathon was born in 1973. It was the brainchild of Jerry Bocrie, who along with his wife Lori would serve as race director for 30 years. The inaugural marathon had 59 entrants and 38 finishers, and the weekend also featured 1-mile, 2-mile, and 6-mile races. In 1976, the 6-miler gave way to an 8k, which has remained a part of the weekend in one form or another ever since.
The event continued to grow and evolve in the 1980′s. In 1982, the 10th annual Shamrock Marathon was named the Largest Sporting Event in Virginia, and in 1984, the first post race party was added. World class athletes such as Bill Rodgers, Jeff Galloway, and Grete Waitz, all ran one or more Shamrock events, with Grete setting a then world record in the 8k in 1986 (25:03).
During the 1990s, the Shamrock Sportsfest really began to take off. In 1990, Runner’s World ranked the Shamrock Marathon as the “Cream of the crop, the race to run on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.” In 1992, Shamrock was recognized again by Runner’s World as one of the Top 20 marathons in the country. In 1996, Shamrock received its first segment on ESPN’s Running and Racing program. In 1997, the Shamrock 8k made Runner’s World’s Top of the Line list on their “Exclusive Listing of 101 Great Road Races.” In 2000, improvements continued as online registration became available.
In 2003, Jerry and Amy Frostick took over the Shamrock Sportsfest in its 31st year, inheriting an event with three races and close to 5,000 participants. Since 2003, the Frosticks have grown the Shamrock Sportsfest weekend to a world class event that includes five races and over 24,000 participants, and their efforts have been recognized. In 2006, Runners World named Shamrock the “Best Schwag–Perks and Prizes worth Bonking For,” and the “Most Family Friendly Races.” In 2009, the Operation Smile Final Mile was named the “Youth Event of the Year” by Running USA. During their tenure as race directors, three world records and 32 national records have been set, and several participants have qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
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