Latest reviews by Ben Lamers

(2020)
"New Venue, New Owners"
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The Cupid Shuffle was the 5th (and as it turned out...last) race of the WI Winter Run Series.

Like other races in the series, with new ownership came a change of location. This year, the race was just north of Milwaukee in the suburb of Glendale.

Much like with the other races in the series, packet pickup was either the day before the Performance Running Outfitters or at the venue the morning of.

With the race starting at a Bierhaus, I wasn’t sure what the parking would entail, but there was plenty of it. Easy parking, and tons of space inside the venue before the race started. In fact, the Bierhaus was already serving in case you wanted a pre-race beer (not gonna lie, it was tempting).

The most interesting part of this race, I thought, was that the 5k and 10k were totally different. The 10k would do an out and back north on the Oak Leaf Trail, while the 5k did the same thing, but south.

Overall, despite it having snowed during the week, the Oak Leaf was was cleared, except for a couple slick spots. As you’d imagine for a bike path, this course is super flat. The only issue with having an out and back on a bike path becomes the spacing. When you have runners going both directions, it gets a little crowded on the path.

The results, per the usual, were a little bit of a cluster. Delayed and hidden in the basement of the building. I was think it shouldn’t be that hard to pump out the results, but I guess it is at this series.

For everything else, it’s rinse, wash, repeat. Soft cotton shirts, beer that isn’t redeemable at the race, and medals for all finishers.

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(2020)
"Brand New Race"
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The Souper Bowl 5k was a new inclusion to the Chilly Willy Series this year, and also a new race altogether. As you might imagine, it took place the morning of the Super Bowl, and encouraged runners to bring a can of soup to donate to a local shelter.

If you run the entire Chilly Willy Series, this was your second race in three weeks at Frame Park. The drill was the same, two loops of the path, and keep the river on your left. For the Souper Bowl, the race had the start/finish at the pavilion, meaning the course was a bit longer than a 5k, but who cares.

For those who don’t know, Frame Park is probably the flattest race course you’ll run. Since it only goes right along the River, there are no hills to speak of. The paths are nicely cleared and salted by the city, so traction wasn’t an issue at all.

Packet pickup was only at the venue for this race. Very quick process even with everyone doing it morning of. The entire series also offers indoor areas before the race, and this building doubles as the Parks and Rec building in Waukesha so there’s plenty of space.

The post race features both a hot chocolate bar as well as beer from local brewery Brewfinity. Results are almost instant, and runners can get them simply by scanning a QR code.

Silver Circle Sports always puts on a great event, and even a first time race like this one is no exception

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(2020)
"Flannel 5k"
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The Flannel 5k is the 6th race in the Chilly Willy Winter Series (and what turned out to be the last one this year).

If you’ve run the entire series, this one takes you back to Menomonee Park (where the first series race was) which is one of the Waukesha County Parks.

Packet pickup was only at the venue on race morning. But with a roomy building, this wasn’t at all an issue. All of the races in this series have a building for before and after the race.

The course is one of my favorites of the series. It effectively makes a loop around the park, with an out at back in the first mile to get the distance. And that out and back is where the hills are in this race. But you get them out of the way, so the rest is smooth sailing. The 10k does the loop twice.

Overall it’s a simple course. You do a loop through a county park. And there are no other roads so it’s virtually impossible to get lost.

Parking can be a little tricky for this one. There is a lot right at the building and start/finish line, but it fills up fairly quick. There are other lots in the park, though, just be prepared to walk a little ways to the start.

Like all of the Chilly Willy races, the post race features a hot chocolate bar as well as beer from local brewery Brewfinity. This year also featured the addition of a post race chili cook-off which I was all about.

As with all of Silver Circle Sports races, this was incredibly organized. You can’t go wrong entering one of these

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(2020)
"Frosty 5k"
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The Frosty 5k is another part of the Chilly Willy Winter Series in southeastern Wisconsin. It’s also a part of the Waukesha Jamboree which takes place in the community.

What does that mean for the race? Not a ton. Except that there is a Pancake breakfast that you can attend after running.

Packet pickup was only offered race morning for this race. Fortunately all of the Chilly Willy races have an indoor area, so you don’t have to freeze while waiting for the race to start. The indoor area at Frame Park, where the race is held, is also the Parks and Rec building in Waukesha, so there’s plenty of space.

You will probably never run a race so flat as Frame Park. The path goes around the park and Fox River. To get the 5k you do the loop twice, so it’s very simple. To be right on a 5k we started at a different spot than the finish (having the start/finish line the same gets you about 3.4). This year, we started on a narrow part of the path partly because of the distance aspect, and partly because it was snowing like crazy.

The city of Waukesha did a great job clearing the paths in the morning, but as the snow continued to fall the course got covered in a layer of snow and/or slush depending on where you were.

Overall the course was in good condition for the weather, and there was no mistaking where to go with both signs and volunteers.

The post race featured a hot chocolate bar and the aforementioned pancake breakfast.

The shirt was very meh. Cotton and blue, like so many race shirts now. Probably not one you’d run in, but nice to just wear around.

Overall, as always Silver Circle Sports puts on a nearly flawless event, and this one is no exception!

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(2020)
"Big Chill 5k"
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The Big Chill is the 4th race in the WI Winter Run Series, and the only one that takes place outside if the Milwaukee Metro area.

Overall, this series had its fair amount of issues with new ownership, but this race was one of the better run. Likely since it’s one of two that didn’t change from last year. The only issue this year was a stalled car that was leaking gas on the course that we were told to “avoid as best you can.” Cool.

Packet pickup like always was either at Performance Running Outfitters the day before, or on site race morning. If anything improved the most, it was the efficiency of packet pickup at the series.

Parking for this one is always an adventure. Hartford Union HS has a somewhat limited parking lot, limited further by the fact that the race uses part of it for staging and the start/finish line.

This year, the indoor hangout area was also limited a bit as we were in the school cafeteria as opposed to the gym like in years past.

In years past, the a Big Chill was notorious for being a little bit short of a 5k. So the new owners added a small section onto the course...and now it’s a little long. Whatever.

The course itself runs almost entirely through neighborhoods. While I like this, I always question the wisdom of neighborhood routes when the roads aren’t closed. Granted on a January Sunday that isn’t much of an issue, but you still need to be on the lookout for cars.

It also isn’t the flattest course. It isn’t “OMG hills for days.” But you’ve got some nice inclines (especially around Mile 2). It also seems like without fail there are parts of the course covered in snow. And yes, I know it’s a January race in Wisconsin, so that’s expected.

At this point I could probably copy and paste the post race for all the Winter Series runs. Long wait for awards, poor communication for when overall awards will be, and no beer despite our beer ticket (only redeemable at the brewery).

The shirt is fine. Soft cotton with an ok design. You wouldn’t run in it (probably) but it’s comfy at the least.

You also get a finishers medal for both the 5k and 10k. I don’t love that, but if medals are your thing, you’ll get one

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