- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
Sunday, November 14 at 7:10 am. (The full marathon started at 7am, and the wheelers started 5 minutes before each distance. There was a 10k and 5k that would start after the half.) It was overcast, temps in the 30s and it was windy, rainy, snowy.
Registration: This is available online, and closes a few days before the race. However, you can register at the expo the day before the race. The price increased as race day approached. Included with my registration was a personalize bib with timing strip, a long sleeve gender specific shirt, along with a reusable bag of are specific flyers. Race day pickup was available for a $30 additional charge, which you could add to the runsignup registration at any time.
Expo/ Packet pick-up: The expo was held the Friday and Saturday before the race at the Monona Terrace. Someone else could have picked up your bib if you had a copy of their ID. Times were posted on social media and in pre-race emails.
*I was not able to attend the expo this year.
Pre-race: The race starts and finishes at the Capital, which is the heart of Madison. Surprisingly enough on street parking is free, just blocks from this area, but arrive early before the roads are closed. Gear check was set up, just had to attach the number from the bottom of your bib. This was located near the start/finish just by the information tent. The information tent was also where you could pick up your bib on race day (if pre-paid.) There were a long line of port-o-potties set up, with minimal wait.
The starting corral was fenced off and back fed, so if you wanted up towards the front, you had to walk through everyone. There were pacers available to line up according to your pace. The marathon started first, with the half 10 minutes later, so you had to pay attention to what you were lining up for and where you were seeding yourself, as the corral system was the same for all races. There were some announcements and singing of the National Anthem. The announcer made sure to inform runners what race was starting and when.
-Terrain: The entire course is on pavement. There are spots that are new smooth asphalt, but other areas with potholes, nothing major, just pay attention. I also noticed some banked roads.
-Elevation: Madison has hills, they were on this course, the biggest hill is at mile 8-9 and for fun near the end.
-Photographers: on the course, and photos were posted the next day online FOR FREE!!
-Aid Stations: There were plenty of hydration stations on course, each had Gatorade- lemon lime, and water. The Volunteers were vocal as to what they had to offer, which was good as some stops had the same cups. There were some stops with Gu gels.
-Spectators: There were a few here and there, some fun signs.
-Volunteers: Friendly people on the course, there were law enforcement at the major intersections helping cars across the streets.
-Course markings: Each mile was marked with a sign. There were cones on the roads that were open to traffic, closing off just parts of the roads. Arrows were taped down to the roads at the turns.
-Race tracking - App available to download to track runners
-Scenery- This course is near the lake and through residential neighborhoods.
Finish/Post Race: The starting area is the finish chute, so the arch with a timing mat are easy to spot. Once across the line, a volunteer handed you a medal. Then you were handed a bottled water. If you wanted a foil blanket you could get one. Then a photo backdrop. The food options of stew, mac and cheese or brat and potato salad were next. Then a cookie, banana and chocolate milk. Then there was the post race beer tent, you could exchange your bib ticket for a Mich Ultra, Sprite or Coke. There was a merchandise tent set up and tables with chairs to enjoy your post race food.
My Race: I was undertrained and just wanted to complete my 4 year medal series. I actually had 2 entries into this event as deferrals piled up. I got that clarified and added the $30 race day pickup to my registration as I wasn't able to get to the expo. I woke up at 2 am and drove to Madison. I was super early to get my bib as I wanted to make sure to get a shirt - which isn't guaranteed on race day. (The shirt seemed too big for me this year, but it's a nice soft material.)
This was my 3rd time on this course, so once I had my bib and used the bathroom, I wasn't too nervous or excited, I just wanted to make it to the finish line. I lined up and just kept moving through the race course. Nothing too exciting happened. I made it to the mile 8-9 hill and walked up that. Then I walked again at the hill near the finish line.
I was sooo happy to get to that finisher's medal. It completes the medal series I started in 2017. After I chose the post race brat and potato salad, I stopped at the information tent to ask if there was an additional center piece to the medals - and there was!! I gave them my name and they gave me the center circle coin thing.
It was cold! I walked back to my car, parked for free on a nearby street, and enjoyed the post race food in my car, on the heated seat.
I say this every year - I really do not care for this course. There are a lot of things to see in Madison, and this course lacks those things. However, this is at least the 3rd half marathon in Madison and I do appreciate that they are all different courses for each event.
Overall: Madison is a great place to run and visit - unless it's game day. I might take a break from this event, but I do recommend it. While I think I caused my own headaches with my registration, they did a good job with management - especially with the Covid year in the mix and making sure race day felt the same as it has in the past.