• Virginia Beach,
    United States
  • March
  • 5 miles/8K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

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Whatever you run for, come run with us during the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend. Celebrate your race and the “Luck of the Irish” with 25,000 runners from all 50 states and around the world. Lace up your sneakers, adorn yourself in green and conquer the streets of Virginia Beach, Virginia, on March 20-22, 2020. You’ll enjoy flat, fast and scenic courses along the beautiful oceanfront and recover at our huge finish line celebration featuring live music, ice-cold Yuengling beer and much more.


RICHMOND, Virginia, United States
7 10
"Shamrock Half is an AWESOME race - completely flat, extremely well-organized and supported, with the best after party anywhere"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Rebecca 's thoughts:

The weather for the 2016 Shamrock Half Marathon was nothing short of miserable - 50 degrees but it felt like it was in the 30s due to the rain and 20-30 mph winds. This type of weather is always a possibility in Virginia Beach in March, so make sure to bring trash bags &/or disposable ponchos, a shower cap (to keep your hat dry), body glide and waterproof gloves. (Hand warmers don't work when they become wet.)

After being so miserable in the starting corral that I was honestly considering pulling myself out because I thought I was on the verge of hypothermia, I warmed up once I started running and ended up with a sweet PR in spite of the conditions!

The course: I don't think the course could be any more flat. Supposedly there's a slight incline up to the halfway point, but it was so slight I didn't notice it. At the start, runners have all 4 lanes of Atlantic, but then it narrows to 2 lanes after a couple miles. Since the road is crowned, you have to either run in the middle or switch sides periodically. The course begins on Atlantic, right in front of the old Cavalier Hotel, then runs down Atlantic for a few miles before heading west on Shore Drive. Right before mile 6, the course turns right into Fort Story and runs through Fort Story, then follows Atlantic south to 37th street where it turns to run the last part on the boardwalk. I'm told there are usually huge crowds of supporters along the course, but the weather kept all but the hardiest souls inside. Shore Drive is a pretty run through maritime woods and swamp, Fort Story is mostly boring (except for the part where you run by the 2 Cape Henry lighthouses), and the last part was pretty much a blur for me. I thought I'd enjoy running down the boardwalk but at that point I really just wanted to be finished. It's a fast course but some complained of difficulty running against the wind, and it's always windy there.

Support: Support on the course was excellent. There were 7 water stops, each with water, Gatorade, and portipottis. There were lines at some of the portipottis but I didn't have to use one so can't comment on the wait. There was at least one goo stop but I always carry my own. I usually carry my own water but didn't need to in this race, which was nice. There were also a number of unofficial stops - beer stops, a cupcake stop, and a couple of young girls handing out Kleenex (which was a huge hit).

Finisher's goodies: At the finish, we got a large medal with both lighthouses on it, which doubles as a bottle opener, an awesome finisher's beach towel, a hat, and a bag to carry it all. We also got a cookie, a granola bar, a banana and a bag of something like pretzels or chips. Race t-shirts were short sleeved, made of some technical fabric that doesn't look or feel technical.

In addition to the half marathon, there's a full marathon, 8K and 3 challenges. I really loved the challenge metals and I plan to do the Dolphin Challenge (8K on Saturday & half on Sunday) next year.

Post-race party: The post-race party was awesome! It was held in a big tent on the beach near the finish line. Each runner got 4 beers (although at the end they weren't really counting) and stew. I wish there had been more food options besides stew. There was also someone selling small snacks to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but nothing really substantial. The bands were fantastic! Just good old classic rock and some 80s tunes. There were lots of people dancing and a number of beer cup pyramids being constructed. The party ended promptly at 4 pm, but then everyone walked over to Murphy's for more good music and beer. I was happy I stayed Sunday night so I could fully enjoy the festivities.

Parking/Lodging: I can't comment on parking, since I stayed in a hotel right by the finish and within easy walking distance from the start and didn’t use my car again until I checked out. Since Virginia Beach is a very commercialized beach, there are many hotels within walking distance of the start and finish, and I highly recommend staying in one if you plan to run this race. Book early because they all fill up - every single room. I decided to run this race at the last minute and couldn't find a room anywhere near the race. I ended up in a room at the Best Western that a friend didn't need. The Best Western Plus Oceanfront is the most convenient hotel to the finish line and post-race party. It was very easy for me to zip up to my room to change into dry clothes before heading to the party. I was even able to avoid using the portipottis because my hotel was so close. Other close hotels are Hampton Inn, Hilton (already booked for next year), and La Quinta.

Expo: The expo was large, but not as large as I expected for such a big race. There was a wide selection of vendors, including vendors I haven’t seen at other expos. I got there around 2:30 pm on Saturday and it wasn't crowded at all. After I picked up my packet, I listened to Bart Yasso's talk, which was interesting and funny. There were a number of other programs that I missed because I got into town so late. There is no race day packet pick up but someone else can pick up your packet with a copy of your ID and a note.

Overall, I’d do it again in a heartbeat, and am already planning to return next year.

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