- 3 miles/5K, 5 miles/8K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other
- Road Race
- Event Website
The 2016 event took place the first weekend in November. The marathon was on Sunday Nov. 6. The start was 45 and sunny, and the temp would increase to about 70 degrees. This was the second year for the event.
Registration: You could sign up for the race via the website, the price increased as race day approached. There was also registration available at the expo. There was a VIP option too, which got you additional perks including close race day parking. Included with registration was a personalized bib with timing chip, a reusable cloth bag, and a long sleeve gender specific tech tee. (with thumb holes)
Expo/Packet pickup: The expo was held at the Harley Davidson Museum the day before the race from 10am-5pm. A kids race took place this day too. The expo was where you were to pick up your bib. A friend could grab yours with a copy of your ID, you could also pay to have a race day pickup. The bib pickup was in the back, it felt a little disorganized, and they kept shouting where or what line you should get in to grab your things. In general the area felt cramped,so maybe that was the issue. I got my stuff with no issue as there were not as many full marathoners, so that line was short.
The actual expo was ok. Lots of area vendors including sporting goods stores and area races. There weren't too many freebies, but vendors were handing out the flyers that were already stuffed in your reusable grocery bag, that you got with your bib. There was parking for free near the museum, but it was packed. The area itself was fun to check out as well, even more so if you are into motorcycles.
Pre-race: The race started at Veteran's park, which is along Lake Michigan. There was a small parking area here for those who had VIP access. There was additional parking at nearby ramps for a fee. There were what seemed like a lot of port-o-potties with hand washing stations. However, there was a really long line for all of them with about 20 minutes before the race start. Gear check was available, you had to use the clear bag inside the re-usable grocery bag given to you at packet pick up.
There were no corrals, but a self seeding system to line up with pacers, or near a pace per minute sign on the side. The course is open for 7 hours, the last pacer was for 5 hours.
There was a Team Triumph start before the marathon. The race was waiting to get an ok from the Sheriff, so after the live National Anthem, there was a short wait before the race started.
Race/Course: The course is a great tour of MKE, passing by the MLB park, Breweries, and through downtown.
-Terrain: this course is almost all paved, there are sections of old cobblestone brick in downtown, some strange curb jumping parts across grass, through parks, and a lap around a high school turf football field.
-Elevation: this race doesn't have any steep climbs, but enough hills to keep the leg muscles fresh.
-Scenery: This race had a lot to take in, city views, parks, industrial areas, Lake Michigan
-Photographers: they were on course, but I only saw them near the start and finish areas. Available for FREE to download.
-Aid Stations: There were a lot of hydration only stops on course. There was water and Gatorade, always in paper cups. I would say 95% of the time they were in different cups, one stop had G second. There was a gel stop around mile 20. Some AS also had port-o-potties. (I struggle with road races and lack of food on course, I try to bring my own, I would really love a banana or orange slice on course)
-Volunteers: Every corner you turned there was a volunteer, always cheering and clapping for you, The law enforcement was very attentive to traffic on portions that were not closed to traffic.
-Spectators: This race is void of spectators, it was weird running through downtown with no one there. A bar or 2 was open - a guy was playing some polka music outside a German place. Otherwise unless you had family or friends, it was a lonely race.
-Course markings: there were mile markers for each mile, and clocks with timing mats at certain points.
-General: The last few miles were open to people on the lake path, so there were some bikes and tourists to dodge that didn't seem to care I was running a race.
Finish: There was an announcer greeting everyone at the finish. Once across the timing mat a medal was hung around your neck and a bottle of water. Then there were volunteers handing out bananas, cookies, granola bars, bags of pretzels, cliff bars, and chocolate milk. Then you could grab a cup of water or G. Then at the end someone handed you a bag to put it all in.
Post Race: In the post race area, there was a DJ playing some music, picnic tables, tailgating style games, food trucks (additional cost) and the beer. Each participant was carded, and received a wrist band that got them a beer, and a craft soda, this was in addition to the beer tag on your bib. This area also had a place to get your results.
My Race: The goal - run the second half faster than the first. Strava had a challenge to get free shoes if you could accomplish this. I had 3 races in this time frame, I had to give it a go. The plan was to run the first 13 miles around a 12 minute per mile pace. ( I am slow, I don't care, I still ran the entire race.) It really drives me nuts to constantly look at my watch, but being a lonely course, it's what I did. It was hard to start slower, but I kept repeating "run your race." Then at Mile 13, I tapped into my granola bar, and said I needed a 11:30 mile, I was also trying to catch the 5 hour pace group. Mile 14 I was feeling great, I couldn't keep the pace slow...I think I was sub 11 minutes, and I kept going with that. I thought, ok, try to slow it down to 11 min miles, and then at mile 20, push it to 10 min miles. Whoa....things got tough at mile 21, my watch was logging miles at .6 tenths longer than the actual mile markers, and it was starting to heat up a bit, I also could have eaten a banana or some real food, so I tried to eat some granola bar. Those last few miles were tough, but I knew I had a small cushion. I crossed the finish line in 5:09. I ran the first half in 2:38, and the second in 2:31. I was proud of myself and coach Garmin, for accomplishing this. My Garmin did have an overall distance of 27 miles, I am ok with being off a couple tenths, but this felt that long. I would have been close to a PR too.
Overall: There were some hiccups but I will chalk that up to being a race in the second year, I personally didn't have any huge issues except the course was long. I really liked the course and I wouldn't hesitate to do this again.