Written by: Matt Ten Haken, Director of Sports Marketing
A general misconception is that you need to be an ultra-fit athlete with 3% body fat who trains year-round to enjoy the marathon weekend of events. But the thousands of participants, spectators, and fans who take part in the annual September tradition will tell you it has something for everyone. I have taken part in almost everything the marathon weekend has to offer, so let me give you my thoughts:
Sunday Race Day (The Marathon, Half Marathon, & Marathon Relay) – I have completed the half marathon and been on a team in the marathon relay, but haven’t done the big one yet. I loved the feeling of the start of the race. The sound of thousands of footsteps running in unison at the crack of dawn to one common goal was invigorating. I wish my time would have been better and my legs weren’t as tired, but the finish line is fun too. Tons of food, drinks, entertainment to enjoy. The Sunday races will go on a new route this year to showcase more of the Fox Cities great trail system and waterways.
The 5K Run/Walk – If you are working your way up to the longer races on Sunday, Saturday’s 5K Run/Walk is a great option. The 5K uses the same finish line at Riverside Park in Neenah as the Sunday races and brings along a lot of the same festive atmosphere. The route is relatively flat, so it’s nice for us who don’t enjoy hills!
The Kids Fun Run – It is impossible to attend this event and not smile. Hundreds of little kids participating in running events and other games and activities makes for a great time. My girls have done the diaper dash, toddler trot, and mini-dash (around the bases at Fox Cities Stadium). This year our oldest might move up to the ¼ mile run. There is also a half mile option as well. If you have young kids, I highly encourage you to bring them out to Fox Cities Stadium on Friday night.
The Expo – The expo at UW-Fox Valley is always a great opportunity to get all your registration information, the latest gear, or sit in on an educational presentation. There is a great deal of excitement and anticipation at the expo and runners prepare for the start of their race.
Spectating – If we aren’t running, we like to bring our family out to the race course and cheer on the runners early on Sunday morning. The runners really appreciate the encouragement (and the momentary distraction) and our kids love picking out runners and saying, “Go Green Runner” or “Go Pink Runner”. And if you are from the area, chances are you are going to see at least one person you know.
Volunteering – It takes 2,300 volunteers to pull off the marathon weekend of events. If running isn’t your thing, the event organizers are always looking for a few extra helping hands!
This year’s Community First Fox Cities Marathon will be held September 18-20 and will be the celebration of the 25th Marathon. For more information on the weekend of events, go to: www.foxcitiesmarathon.org.