What does it take to get a couple hundred athletes to run five miles on a 10-degree day in January? A super fun after-party! This race rarely brings good weather, but most participants are simply running to burn the calories they’ll be consuming at the post-race party.
S-No-W Fun Run is held at the Grand Geneva in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, on the first Saturday of January. The race began in 1980 at the Playboy Club (the Grand Geneva) with over 1,000 runners trying to earn a trophy or medal given by a Playboy bunny. All preregistered runners also receive a beanie and are eligible for a variety of door prizes throughout the after party.
The race definitely forces you to earn your post-race calories as both the course and conditions can provide quite a challenge. The course changed slightly this year and began at the Forum on the golf cart path before taking runners down a welcomed hill and past the airport buildings before exiting onto town roads for another 1.5-miles out-and-back. Once you are finally able to feel your toes again (around mile four), you see the lovely downhill you began the race with. Quads and lungs burning, you reach the top of the hill and realize you still have a half mile to go, but luckily there are fans cheering from their balconies, excited for you to soon be joining them on the dance floor!
New for 2018, S-NO-W Fun Run was selected to host the Road Runners Club of America five mile Wisconsin State Championship. This meant that the overall male and female winners plus Masters (over 40), Grand Masters (over 50) and Senior Masters (over 60) received special awards. In addition, S-NO-W Fun Run gives age groups awards for each age. This greatly increases everyone’s chances of earning a medal to wear all throughout the after-party!
I should probably talk about the after party now, right? This is hands down the highlight of the entire day. Held in the Grand Geneva Forum, runners are immediately treated to a “Schnapps Stop” as they re-enter the building after crossing the finish line. Runners then quickly get in line for a burger or brat along with their choice of five different beers. Most runners will then venture to their hotel room to shower up and change into the theme (pajama party for this year) before coming back for four more hours of partying.
Oh, and dancing… who doesn’t love seeing runners dance? The two biggest dances of the night, the Sausage Dance and the Big Hunk Dance, see men and women advancing to rounds by receiving cheeses or sausages, which get bigger as the rounds progress. This portion of the day might even be more competitive than the run itself! This race is highly recommended to anyone who simply enjoys being around runners (especially since the post-race party is also open to non-runners!).