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Lessons from the shamrock run: Eat after, not before

“I knew I shouldn’t have eaten before this,” said sophomore financial economics major Joshua Pitaniello, as he vomited into a bush.

On Wednesday, March 29, UMBC Recreation sponsored the 3K Shamrock Run, which was open to all students, faculty and staff.

The first male student to finish, Pitaniello, shocked the event organizers by finishing in 8 minutes and 54 seconds– nearly two minutes before the next person made it across the line. Though he is not involved in university-sponsored athletics, Pitaniello runs 3 laps around the loop every other day, usually adding a slight detour to make it an even 7 miles. Upon crossing the finish line on Wednesday, he asked for his time before relieving his stomach contents in the nearby foliage. “Sorry, not pretty,” he said, raising a hand in apology.

The first finishers in the male, female and faculty/staff category were awarded prizes. For this race, they were Under Amour fitness bands, which are similar to the popular FitBit bands.

Julia Ciattei was the first female student to finish with a time of 13 minutes, 50 seconds. The sophomore mechanical engineering major takes part in four to five-mile treks with the Running Club a few days each week.

Club Sports Coordinator Kristen Alexander claimed the title of first staff member, clocking in at 17 minutes and 9 seconds.

Volunteers at the finish line recorded participants’ times as they completed the course. The first 150 participants, regardless of time, received free t-shirt. The 3k track, approximately 1.86 miles, went around roughly half of the loop. Race marshals stood at corners, directing students to stay on course. UMBC Police were also on hand.

Recreation Coordinator Erica Lloyd oversees the operations of UMBC intramurals, which offer leagues made up of all UMBC-student teams in various sports. Intramurals are typically a relaxed commitment level, with around one game per week. Club sports, however, travel to other schools and complete outside of the UMBC community.

UMBC Recreation now sponsors two races, one 5k and one 3k, each semester. This spring’s 5k will take place in April around Earth Day. Lloyd noted that races are popular particularly at UMBC. Students are encouraged to register ahead of time so that staff members can analyze which demographics are participating in events and which they may need to focus their marketing efforts.

“We try to test out a bunch of different events each semester, but some are staples and we stick with them,” said Lloyd.

On May 5, Recreation is partnering with Off-Campus Student Service, Resident Student Association, and Student Events Board to sponsor a Glow Dodgeball Event—Cinco de Mayo taco bar and DJ included.

UMBC Recreation and related departments strives to create programs that appeal to Retrievers, despite the prevailing culture that does not always prioritize athletics.

“It’s a little bit different but I think the objective is to try to create programs that best suit your student population. So for us, soccer is huge. We offer indoor and outdoor soccer every semester because we want to cater to the students.”

Numbers for the Shamrock Run were down slightly this year, with 147 total participants compared to last year’s 190. Organizers suspect that the postponement (due to inclement weather) contributed to lower participation. The race was originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, before spring break.