- 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
When I signed up for this race a few months ago, I knew I was taking a chance on the weather, but I would never have thought it would end up being the weekend that Mother Nature decided to throw a record breaking snowstorm at WI! Thankfully the majority of the snow was fell to the north of Milwaukee, but that didn't mean MKE was spared! But I'll touch on more of that later!
Pre-Race/Packet Pick-up: Packet pick-up was at InStep Physical Therapy and Running Center downtown Milwaukee, in the historic Third Ward District. Getting down there is not difficult (as long as there is not construction!). There is some street parking, but your best option is the parking ramp just around the corner from InStep. Parking in the ramp is $5 for the first 2 hours, so it also gave me some extra time to check out a few other shops etc downtown.
Packet pick-up itself was a quick in and out! A quick signing of a waiver, and in just a few minutes I had my race shirt and bib in hand! I took a few minutes to do some shopping in the store before heading out to wander downtown a bit. And when I say wander for a bit, it was a short while! It was COLD and WINDY! The wind off the lake was brutal and I knew right away that if this was how race morning was going to me, I needed to start preparing myself now!
Race Morning: Since I was staying with a friend on the north side of MKE, I had about a 25 minute drive to the start line. After changing my mind 4 times of what layers I was going to wear, I headed out... in the pouring rain... towards the start line.
Parking at Eastabrook park near the start/finish line is very limited so by the time I go there at about 7:15am, the closest lot was full. I knew there was a lot they recommended parking in that was a little further out, with shuttles available, so I started heading there. Along the way, I found another lot that was just down the hill from the start line that had been opened up. I pulled in and got one of the last 5 parking spots! SCORE!
It was still raining ,but one of the advantages of driving an SUV, with the back hatch open, I had a covered area at the back of my open vehicle for my final prep! I spend the next few minutes organizing my gear, filling my flasks and packing my pockets. I was already thankful for my water and wind resistant jacket... the wind had not let up since yesterday!
This is a smaller race and there is limited area to find shelter from the elements, so plan accordingly! Many of us were huddled close to the small building in the park (I think it was a snack bar, but I really didn't look - I was just trying to stay out of the wind if I could!)
Just before 8am, they asked us to start heading towards the start line. the 10k and Half marathon would be starting soon. Both of these races start together (the 5k was starting at 10:30am if I remember correctly) with 3 waves. Most races that I have run, the different color of your bib was to indicate which race you were running. Here, it signifies which wave you are starting in, based on your estimated finish time. I had a green bib, so I was in the 3rd wave. With all the wind and rain, the start was a bit of a cluster as everyone was eager to just get going. Bib color ended up ust being a "guideline" of when you started.
The course: This course starts in the park and follows the road out to the end. Then you have a short hill up to the trail just after mile 1. The majority of the route follows this trail, with a few out and backs until it heads back into the park just after mile 12. If you want hills, this course is NOT it. Aside from the hill to get to the trail, the rest of the course is relatively flat, with one hill at about mile 8-ish that you hit just before the turn around (and then go right back up that same hill). I could definitely see this as a fast course, when Mother Nature is not throwing rain and 30+ mph wind gusts at you!
The Swag: I love the 1/2 zip pullover top that we received! It's a high quality fabric and will be added to my regular rotation! The bling? Let's just say, the half medal is the tallest race medal in all of Milwaukee!! When I hung it next to my medal from Rock n Roll DC from a few weeks ago, the medal from Brew City is easily quadruple in size! I'm all about the bling so this one is right up my alley!
As I mentioned, the course is on the trail and through the park, so the scenery is about the same throughout... trees along the trail and then the occasional highway overpass to cross, giving you a quick look at a few buildings. But I can honestly say that I was NOT really looking at scenery on Saturday!
The only snag I had with the event (weather not included) was at the finish line. I am not a fast runner, and in these conditions, I am not even a middle of the pack runner. By the time I finished, many of the 5k runners were finishing. Because your race bib color was to indicate your starting wave, those at the finish line passing out medals had no easy way to tell what distance you ran (the distance was noted in on the bib, but the font was small enough that it was not easily readable). I was first given a 5k medal and then had to stop at the second table to get the right one from the gentleman that was working as fast as he could to get the 5k medals out of their bags. When I told him I needed a half medal, he quickly grabbed one from the other pile next to him. Not a big deal, but maybe in the future, bibs should be noted better as to the distance the participant is running, instead of the wave to start!
Overall, this will go down as a race I will soon not forget! It was well run, well organized and a good flat course! Yes, I would considering running it again... but I'll make sure I have a chat with Mother Nature first!
For my full review of the race, including dealing with the wind and rain, you can find more on my blog here: http://crazyhamster.run/2018/04/maybe-i-should-have-been-a-duck.html