I moved my family to the Chicago area from Los Angeles in 2017. In 2018 I made it through the lottery process and ran in the Chicago Marathon (see my other review for those details) and fully expected to repeat in 2019. Much to my chagrin, I received a "Sorry... you were not selected to participate in the Chicago Marathon..." email. WTH? So as I was bitching and moaning on social media (along with hundreds of others), lo and behold I receive a DM through Twitter from the Race Director inviting me to run the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon - "just a couple hours outside Chicago" along with a discount code - BRILLIANT! I signed up and my training commenced. I had no idea this would turn out to be the one of my favorite marathon events in recent memory. The race director communications were superb. I always felt informed and appreciated, all the way to the day before when I received notice that there will be water on the trail so add some extra socks to your gear bag. The bus service to the start was easy-peezy and having a high school as a warm staging area was awesome. I don't know if they added a little extra to the collection basket in the months leading up to October, but the weather was AMAZING. I have never run in such ideal conditions. Brilliant sunshine and cool breezes keeping my body at optimal temps. For a "small, hometown race" the crowd support was very consistent and fun. I was wearing my LA Dodgers gear (in hopes that my efforts might propel them to the World Series - no such luck) and was playfully jeered along the way, "The Dodgers suck but I'll cheer for you, stranger!" one spectator shouted. True to their Midwest heritage, folks were just so darn neighborly. On a quiet country road, one gentleman was sitting in the back of his parked pick-up truck, banging away at the accordion, speakers blasting out polka music while his wife danced and waved nearby. At the finish, two things must be mentioned (1) the med student who escorts you away from the finish, giving you a once-over and making sure you're feeling all right was an exceptional touch and (2) was the fact that we got our post-race nutrition in a BAG! No juggling, fumbling and dropping half-eaten bananas and water bottles as you limp out of the finisher chute. Shout out to the Lakefront Brewery for providing some of the best tasting post-race beer ever. The superb organization, pancake flat course and friendliness of the participants all made this an exceptional experience.