Madison Marathon Participation Grows As Industry Recedes


As the running industry reports a decline of up to 9 percent in participation rates, this year’s Madison Marathon saw growth of 1 percent. “It’s not a huge number but compared to the industry trend we’re very happy to be heading in the right direction,” says Race Day Events Marketing Director, Brodie Birkel. “We’re doing the right things to find new participants, retain repeat participants and the execution of the event is always very sharp. People are starting to take notice of this world class event in Madison, Wisconsin.”

Four years ago, the Madison Marathon took a chance on splitting the traditional Memorial Day weekend event into two separate event weekends, which meant moving the full marathon to November. It has seemingly paid off very well and runners have been very happy with the addition of a November event in Wisconsin. “November is running season in the Midwest. The cool weather is ideal for running a marathon,” said multiple-time Madison Marathon finisher, Steve Donovan. “Also, being from the area, you get to train in great weather all summer.”

“With additions such as free race photos, a PR [personal record] Bell, live participant tracking and great finish line food and beverage, we hope to continue to buck the industry trend. There are a few tricks up our sleeve for 2017 as well,” Birkel added.

Race Day Events produces the Madison Marathon, Run Madtown, The Wisconsin Tri Series, Run Santa Run 5K, The New Year’s Day Dash, Lake Monona 20K and Horribly Hilly Hundreds. They also support over 300 other events yearly with course, rentals and timing services.

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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run several shorter distance races and two half marathons. Her goal for 2017 is to try a triathlon, and eventually do the Chicago Marathon. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism. Working at Chicago Athlete, Holly has been able to explore photography a lot more, which is one of her main hobbies. She enjoys taking photos at endurance races, and is also passionate about nature photography and portraiture.


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