Race Review: BeYOUtiful Half Marathon


On Sunday, May 8th, I attended the BeYOUtiful Half Marathon in the city I can’t say – Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. There was a half marathon and 5K distance option for runners to select from.

Although this race had a rocky start in the planning stages, it was executed perfectly by Great Lakes Multisport Crew. A few months before race day, the race day was sold to GLM. Runners were sent an email notifying us of the change and introducing us to Andrew Braun, the owner. Andrew is not new to the race scene, as GLM has directed several races over the years, and I knew we would definitely be in good hands with him. One huge bonus is that Andrew’s whole family is there to make the day special for runners. In a pre-race email, Andrew introduced us to the whole Braun crew.

The on-site Race Director will be Cole Braun, my dad. He’s the OG race director for the Braun’s and our events businesses with Great Lakes Multisport. You’re in great hands, and you know you’ll be getting a big high five when you come to the finish line.

The Race Day Athlete Services director will be Jenny Braun, my mom. Give her a big Happy Mothers Day hello! In my opinion, she’s the best mom there is. If you have any Registration needs, she will take care of you.

The Volunteer Coordinator and Athlete Services support is my beautiful wife, Karly Braun. She’s getting her first race management experience this weekend. Any Merchandise ordered can be picked up with her.

I mean, how great is that, especially for a Mother’s Day race! Runners were truly taken care of from the start to the finish. Parking was extremely easy and just steps from the start/finish line. All runners received a short sleeved shirt, wine glass, and rose! I promptly stuck my rose in a water bottle before heading out to race and utilized the wine glass that evening for some much needed relaxation!

Not only did this race switch owners, but the course had to be changed several times before race day. I know the race team was working countless hours with the city to get the course set and runners really appreciated all of the emails letting us know of the course updates.

Despite this challenge, race day went off without a hitch. The half marathon runners began at 8am, followed by the 5K runners at 8:15am. All runners began together and entered the Lake Country Trail for about a mile before heading into an adorable subdivision to loop around and circle back to the Trail. Half marathon runners continued on the trail until about mile 3.5 at which point we turned and ran directly back to the start/finish line area, where we looped back out to do it a second time.

I’ve spoken before about the benefits of a looped course and will echo that again. A loop really allows runners to plan for the higher miles when they hit fatigue. Knowing which portions of the course they can pull back on and gain a bit of energy is super helpful.

There were aid stations along the course and a few spectators viewing areas. Runners had ample space on the trail and quickly fell into their pacing packs. I had the pleasure of running with two other ladies who were getting the run in before celebrating Mother’s Day.

The real challenge of this race was the wind, which was relentless on the “out” portion of the course. It became a tailwind on the “back” but wow, it really carried a punch.

Thanks to everyone who worked hard to make this race happen and congrats to all of the runners who came out and hit those miles in that wind!

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Mandi has been running for over 25 years and has participated in the Chicago, Detroit, and Boston Marathons. Mandi regularly competes in regional events and enjoys being a part of several running groups including CARA and the Badgerland Striders. She is a co-host on the Ten Junk Miles podcast and looks forward to hosting the Chicago Athlete Podcast. An RRCA certified coach and Les Mills certified instructor, Mandi is also a coach with Chicago Athlete Coaching. Mandi is a local government attorney by weekday and race warrior by weekend.


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