“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Mini to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
Saturday August 22, 2015. Sunny, 70’s, little humid. 7 am. Madison, WI
This is the third year running this race, despite my love for the Hawkeyes, I keep going back. Madtown is fun when there are no B1G contests in town.
There is a 5k that starts at the same time, then finishes at the same place.
Registration: This was available online and started at $65, increased to $95 before it closed a few days prior to the race. Participants could then register at the expo for $110. Included in registration was a short sleeve, unisex tech shirt; bib with your name; timing chip; post race beer & finishers medal.
I registered early and took advantage of the free pint glass deal. The name on your bib was also included with earlier registration.
Expo / Packet pick up: This took place the day before the race at the Union South, from 11 am to 8 pm. There was parking in a nearby ramp, but it gets crowded. The expo wasn’t too big, but had your average variety of vendors – running stores, races, running supplies, race merchandise, freebies. Packet pick up was simple, show an ID, get your bib, shirt and bag. Someone else could grab your things by showing a copy (paper or digital)
Josh, Laura and I spent some time looking around, but really no great deals or anything we could live without. We all got a a free Buff style headband. I was also in charge of grabbing fellow BibRave Pro’s packets, Laura & Christine, very easy process. Also we signed up for the free pint glass, however not every volunteer checked for this so we had to go back to get Josh & Christine’s glass. We also stayed at the host hotel, which was about 3/4 mile walk to the expo, so we did not use the parking ramp.
Pre-race: There are many parking ramps in the area, but arriving early is key, as the line to get in backs up. There are many port-o-potties around the start. Bomb dogs made the rounds. Due to construction, the starting corrals were separated from gear check with construction apparatus, however the area was easy to navigate. There were many maps available prior to the race and at information tents. Gear check was inside the Union (at the Terrace, where the race finishes.) There were about 6 starting corrals, already pre-assigned on your bib, labeled alphabetically. There were announcements on a loud speaker as well as music. With about 15 minutes to go, the National Anthem was sung live. When we made it to the corral, there was an announcement that they were closing the corrals.
Race/Course: The race runs through Madison, highlighting some of the attractions on paved surfaces. We saw the capital, ran through a farmer’s market, down State St, around Camp Randall, near the Kohl Center, through the Arboretum, by the Zoo, near a golf course, through campus and ending at Lake Mendota.
- paved, a few areas to watch, but no major potholes or road hazards
- each mile marked with a number poster, clock and flag warning system
- Lot of hydration stops with Lemon-Lime Gatorade and Water. Paper cups. Each station was different in whether it was Gatorade or Water first, some stations didn’t have the Gatorade in the Gatorade cup. One station was behind on filling their water cups. The stops became more frequent towards the end.
- no food stops on course
- photographers, but mostly towards the last few miles
- hilly, nothing too steep
- Volunteers galore, police watching major intersections
- Misting spots along the course
- Some roads open to traffic or bikes
- port-o-potties along the course
- timing mat splits at 5k, 10k and 10 mile
- Medics along the course
This being the 3rd year I have ran this race was also the 3rd year of a different course. It seems there is always construction in the area, Usually it’s not a big deal, but I feel like there were more hills this year. Also my watch had 12.99 miles, not a huge deal to be off by .1. Also the course was fairly crowded, making it hard to stay to the right or on the path of the course, so having open roads to vehicles and bikes is tough. We all shared the roadways, but something to be alert too.
Post Race/Finish: The Finish line had an arch, timing mat and clock. A volunteer hung a medal with a beer opener, around your neck. A bottle of water was handed to you. Then the crowded finishers chute was full of food options – banana, granola bar, bag of popcorn, whole chocolate milk- lots of things to hold. There were banners set up to take finishers photos.
After a small walk, you arrived at the “14th mile finisher’s party.” The post race area was on the Lake in front of the Union on the Terrace. Lots of seating and live music. This is were you could redeem your beer ticket for a Wisconsin Brewing Inagural Red. Non drinkers could get a soda or Gatorade. There were brats and pitchers available for sale. You could also check your results with the QR code on your bib. There was a merchandise tent set up, which is were you could get more finisher’s information.
This post race is one of my favorites. You are encouraged to hang out and have a beer. No rushing you to move along. Josh, Laura and I were able to meet up with a bunch or running friends. I love meeting my running friends, it’s too bad it takes a year to reunite with some of them.
We got to meet up with Amy, Christine, Julia, Laura, Mike, Dylan and Krista(?). We enjoyed taking photos, drinking beer and catching up. This is why I love running, or one of the reasons, the people.
Overall: I will be back! Yes the entry fee does get steep, but despite construction woes the race goes off without problem, great organization, easy packet pickup, and excellent post race. Madison has also won over this Hawkeye fan. You should run this race once.
Personal: This was race one of #madpocket2base, a 3 race weekend. I didn’t have any goals but to get training mileage and finish. Despite the short course, I put in a decent, for me, half time, 2:09.
If you want to read more reviews of this race, check out Bibrave.com