On Saturday, August 12, I attended the Madison Mini half marathon and 5K. It was a huge event with over 2,000 runners taking to the streets of Madison. The Half Marathon, dubbed the mini marathon, was the largest event of the two races with 1,500 runners competing for the top male and female.
All runners began in downtown Madison at the state’s capital building. Parking lots were located around the start/finish area and were extremely reasonably priced. I paid $3.75 for the three hours that I was parked. Surrounding the capital is the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and there was a very collegial feel as we were walking to the start line. I passed a campus bookstore and a campus chapel, along with various restaurants and coffee shops. It was such a unique area, and I would love to return again to visit.
We begin right at 7 AM to tackle the 13.1 distance. 5K runners began at 7:15 AM, in an effort to spread out runners on the course. There was a pace team, which allowed everyone to line up accordingly. The start line was right next to the state capital which made for a very scenic start.
After the start, we ran through the downtown, which continued to showcase shops and restaurants. We then left the urban area, and entered a trail system, which was lined with trees. This was a thankful release, as the sun had come up, and the temperatures had started to rise.
There were many hills throughout the whole course, totaling just above 400 feet in elevation gain and decline throughout the entire race. There was only one really difficult hill, which came right at the end of the race. It was seemingly unending and extremely sharp, but that could have also been all of the miles on my legs.
The course took runners through many parts of Madison and really showcased the nature that has been kept within the city itself. Much of the course was tree lined, but there were some sections that were exposed to full sunshine. I was thankful that the aid stations were placed every couple of miles and offered both water and Ucan. Ucan has been making great waves in the running and endurance community lately. It is an alternative to other sports drinks and is easier on the stomach. I like the sweetness that it offers, especially later in a race.
We had an out and back at miles 10 and 11 where we were able to see runners heading back to the finish line. I always like a short out and back where I can see who I may have missed at the start line.
We then tackled that last tough hill and wound back into the downtown area into the capital to cross the finish line. It was a great event, completely well organized and professionally done by Race Day Events. All runners received a short sleeved, cotton T-shirt and finishers medal. Finish times were immediately texted to runners who opted into the system. At the finish line, runners had water, bananas, popcorn, granola bars, and a plethora of other snacks to take on their way.
I would highly recommend this race to help close out your summer next year. It was affordable, convenient, and extremely well done. I did not stay the night before, but if you wanted to make it a an overnight event, that would be a great place to do it. Madison has tons to offer visitors. And, if you happen to have a high school student, you may even want to check out the U of W Madison campus while you peruse the start/finish line.
Thanks to Race Day Event for a great event. And congratulations to the race company on their 17th anniversary. Race Day Events has continued to put on great events for runners and always goes the extra mile to make sure the event is built for runners. You can check out their full lineup of races, including a whole series that occurs in the winter!