Race Review: Rockin’ Brews Races


On Saturday, September 4th, the Rockin’ Brews races took place in Madison, Wisconsin. Hosted by Madison Events, this Labor Day tradition is a favorite for many midwestern runners who came out to celebrate the unofficial end of summer.

Distances offered included a full marathon, half marathon, half marathon walk, full marathon relay, and half marathon relay. Phew…what a handful for the RD’s to manage! And manage it they did, by hosting an incredible race weekend, which truly included something for everyone. Oh, and did I mention that it is also a Boston Qualifier!!!

At 7am, the full marathon and full marathon relay runners began followed by the half marathon and half marathon relay runners. The half marathon walkers were the last to begin. I’ve never participated in a race that offered a half marathon walk and kudos to the RD’s for this option. There are a lot of walkers that would enjoy the challenge of a half marathon but many traditional half’s close the course before walkers would be able to finish. It was fun to see the walkers challenging themselves with this distance and tackling the long time on feet.

The course was all paved and mostly tree covered as runners circled Lake Monona. At times we ran right next to the Lake and other times through scenic neighborhoods of Madison. We were treated to the skyline of Madison, including the Capitol building and even ran under the Frank LLoyd Wright Monona Terrace. There were slight hills throughout the course that never seemed to go away! There were no massive climbs but enough steady elevation throughout to keep your quads and hamstrings challenged throughout. The rain stayed away so runners had an overcast morning with low 70’s to run.

Half marathon runners and walked completed the loop once, while full marathons looped twice. Before starting the second loop, full marathoners were greeted by warms crowds at the start/finish line and a great DJ encouraging runners on.

Parking was free, plentiful, and close to the start/finish line, which was right outside of the community center. The community center houses a waterslide and pool, which was closed for the season. On my second loop of the full, at the 26 mile mark, I’ve never been so happy to see a waterslide!

All runners received a Rockin’ Brews t-shirt and finishers medal. Runners also received a free entry into the Finish Line Festival where you could sample as many beers as you liked. This race was well attended and offered a fun atmosphere for all. I will definitely be returning to this course and encourage you to add this to your race schedule for next Labor Day. You will not be disappointed by this event. Congratulations to all of the finishers and huge thank you to the Race Directors, volunteers, and police that put on this amazing event for us.


  1. Great to see runs are coming back .I have been running for 40 years .Actually ran 2 Marathons Disney World and the Marine Corp after 9 11 .Daniel Joseph Usalis is still running .Completed Sprint USA age group championship in Milwaukee about 1 month ago 40 to 45 age .We ran those 2 marathons together and darn proud of him .He has always been competitive and qualified and ran the Boston Marathon ‍♀️‍♂️


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