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Shamrock runner’s tip: ‘Keep running’

Bob Taylor, 90, of Oak Park, ran the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday.

Bob Taylor, 90, of Oak Park, ran the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Recalling the last 100 yards of the nearly 5-mile Shamrock Shuffle brought a smirk to Bob Taylor’s face moments after he crossed the finish line Sunday morning in Grant Park.

“I thought about sprinting it, but then I thought, ‘Nah, I don’t want to show off,'” said Taylor, who at 90 was the oldest in a crowd of over 23,000 runners.

With a finishing time of 01:21:33, and an average pace of about 16 minutes per mile, Taylor, a retired construction engineer who lives in Oak Park, placed first in his age group.

He was the sole runner in the 90 and over group, which race organizers created this year for Taylor.

“I struggled a bit on the hill,” Taylor said of a slight incline near the finish line that can feel more like a mountain to a weary runner.

There are no tricks to his running longevity. “Just keep doing it. Keep running in your 70s and 80s,” Taylor said.

His diet is simple: “Not too much red meat. Lots of veggies. Lots of fruit.”

Moments after sharing his nutritional habits, though, Taylor revealed the contents of fuel-up Saturday night dinner: pizza and ice cream.

Taylor, who ran his first marathon at age 64, plans to run eight more short races this summer. He last ran a marathon when he was 79.

Perhaps the key lies with trying to keep up with his wife and training partner, Stacia. The 72-year-old can also lay claim to winning her age bracket with an average pace of just over 10 minutes per mile.

The Shamrock Shuffle is the largest 8k in the country and is used by thousands as a springboard to the spring running season.

Taylor’s post-race plans: a nice hot bath.

More than 23,000 runners participated in the Shamrock Shuffle.

More than 23,000 runners participated in the Shamrock Shuffle. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

The Shamrock Shuffle is the largest 8k race

The Shamrock Shuffle is the largest 8k in the country and is used by thousands as a springboard to the spring running season.