Race Review: Syttende Mai Races


The Syttende Mai Run/Walk took place on Saturday, May 14th and is the oldest long-distance race in Southern Wisconsin. This Norwegian Marathon is a, point to point, 20 miles, with a 10 mile run or 17 mile walk.

Hosted by Race Day Events, this is one of my favorite spring running events. It is an incredibly unique race with distances and race options that you do not see too often.

Although you could park at either the start or finish line, I opted to arrive early, park at the finish, and hop on a school bus to the start line. The start line was located in Madison, Wisconsin, where runners were greeted by the King and Queen of the festival. The race kicks of the Syttende Mai festival, which takes place in downtown Stoughton and features food and fun for all.

The 17 mile walk had a rolling start and walkers began before the runners to give them a head start on the course. Runners began at either the 20 mile or 10 mile start at 7am and began the trek back to Stoughton.

The course wove through country, winding roads and included many hills. Runners were treated to farms, residential areas, and even a cemetery, as they made their way the 20 miles from Madison to Stoughton.

There were aid stations along the way, which became extra important as the heat increased toward the second half of the race. It was fun to overlap with the walkers, which began about mile 7 or 8 for me.

The race wove through downtown Stoughton before finishing at a park. A point to point race is hard to put on but Race Day Events executed the event perfectly and runners were treated to a unique, fun experience. I encourage you to add this to your race schedule nbext year. It’s a bit of a drive but completely worth it!



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