Correction: Dathan Ritzenhein did not run in the race
The 35th running of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle drew Olympians and professionals alike, but in the end it was an amateur who took first place out of more than 33,000 runners.
Phillip Reid, a high school teacher from San Luis Obispo, Calif. won the race with a time of 23:08.
“It’s beautiful,” Reid said. “It’s an honor to come here and represent my club and California as a whole and come away with a win.”
The 27-year-old high school teacher plans to continue his racing streak this month with other races in California, but said the Chicago running scene was one he wouldn’t miss.
“You know I am a teacher, I teach high school, and to be able to train and to be able do what I love is a great honor, especially in the city of Chicago,” he said.
Coming just a few minutes after Reid was female winner and Olympian Lisa Uhl with a time of 25:54.
“I probably wanted to be a little closer to 25 minutes, but really the goal was just to go out and win and enjoy the day,” she said. “It’s beautiful. It’s such a great atmosphere.”
Uhl, who raced in the 10,000-meter race in the 2012 London Games for Team USA, said she’s looking forward to her next trip to the games.
“The next three years are all geared toward making that Olympic team in 2016 and hopefully this time being in a position where I’m not just going, I’m trying to win a medal,” she said.
The Iowa runner said although she has a heavy track month ahead of her, she couldn’t skip out on a race in her Midwestern city.
“I love Chicago,” she said. “I’m a Midwesterner, it’s always felt kind of like my big city home compared to Iowa.”
But the hands-down winner of the event came when Adam Finney crossed the finish line.
The wheelchair winner of the event, Finney, a Chicago-native, plans to also race in the Boston and Chicago marathons.
“It’s good to have a hometown kid show his face in the race,” he said.
And the wheelchair racers continue to grow in the racing world, with the competition become fiercer.
"It’s growing and we hope just in the years to continue the field progressing with elite athletes and just “making it bigger,” he said.
Female wheelchair winner Diana Helt, also from Chicago, said she’s also hoping to bring her wheelchair racing to the Chicago marathon.
“Really glad to be out here and starting this season’s work towards the Chicago Marathon,” she said.
Helt said she's been running 25 miles or more each week on indoor “rollers,” similar to a treadmill, to prepare for this year’s running season and said the outdoor experience was a welcomed change of scenery.
“It turned out to be a great day and a really great course,” she said. “It’s great to be outdoors and really able to interact with the other runners,” she said.