Race Review: Madison Mini Half Marathon
August 17, 2013
The Madison Mini has been voted by Runners World magazine as one of the top half marathons in the country so it was not a hard choice to pick as my Wisconsin race. If your new to the blog here is a run down of my goal to run a half marathon in all 50 states.
I didn’t make it to the expo because I had to catch a flight after work but my friend Brittany was able to go and she said it was a pretty solid expo with lots of local and national vendors. We stayed at the University Inn which was literally two blocks from the start of the race and I highly recommend it for anyone else traveling into town. Nothing fancy but PERFECT location! The town of Madison is a fun college town and I was hoping for a similar experience during the race.
There was plenty of Bucky Badger love going around the city. The race starts and finishes right on campus near the student union. You can check out my adventures in the city here!
Ok so back to the race! The morning of the race was very no stress. The university’s student union was open so there was not a lack of bathrooms around. I loved not having to wait in line forever to use a port-o-potty! Baggage check was no fuss and before we knew it, it was time to join the other nearly 4,000 other runners to start the race.
Miles 1-4: It is definitely an uphill battle from the start, I feel like we went uphill for the first mile and a half. It was a little difficult to catch your breath but luckily the views of the capital were beautiful and before I knew it the ground evened out a bit as we headed into mile 3. The first water and bathroom stop was not until mile 2.5 which had me worried that perhaps the water stops were too spaced out but from then on I felt like there was a water stop every .75 miles or so. The last mile of the first leg of the journey took you right by beautiful Lake Wingra headed to a more woodsy running path.
Miles 5-7: Straight from the city to the woods, the next 3 miles were some of my favorite miles of the race. The road got a bit narrow here but there was a nice narrow trail path along side the pavement that took some relief off of my knees. These miles were nice, shady and filled with rolling hills. I loved running by the beautiful lake houses getting glimpses of the water and feeling so outside of the city as compared with the first few miles.
Miles 8-11: At this point in the race my legs were really feeling the hills. Not that there were many long steep climbs but there were a lot of gradual inclines. Heading back through suburbia miles 8-11 were used to burn up some miles and get us back towards the University of Wisconsin’s campus. Plenty of friends and family lined the streets cheering us on. I didn’t really enjoy having to run around a parking lot
Miles 12-13.1: These last few miles wound around the back of the campus and along the lake towards the finish. I loved the trail running feel and how spaced out the race was. It never felt too crowded. This portion of the run was pretty flat which was a much needed relief for my legs.
The finish was pumping with music and crowds I liked how well organize it was. Right after your came across the finish line some people (including myself) were even lucky enough to have Bucky Badger gave you your medal. They handed out plenty of water and gatorade and in my opinion the best post race snack ever… popcorn!
Post race you could hang out, grab your free beer or soda and relax on the student union deck. They had a live band and plenty to eat. One of my favorite post race areas ever!
Pros: Not Crowded, lots of water stops and bathrooms, great city, tasty post-race snacks, nice friendly support along the course, awesome post race festival.
Cons: A bit hilly with lots of gradual climbs that kill you without you knowing it, road got a bit narrow at times… and that’s about it, not many complaints!
The medals were cute but was unimpressed with the shirts, mainly because they smelled and were made of cheep fabric. No pics today I’ll have to update the post later sorry!
I loved this race and definitely recommend it! Great town, great race.