Join in for the 4th Annual Oak Leaf Trail Cleanup!

Welcome to May, everyone! At long last, all signs point to the arrival of spring: sunny days, warmer temps, birds chirping and plenty of runners hitting the local trails.

One of the most popular running trails is the Oak Leaf Trail, which extends through Milwaukee County and beyond. It’s a local running gem but it could use a good spring cleaning. That’s why several Milwaukee running groups are teaming up for the 4th annual Oak Leaf Trail Cleanup!

Below, Patrick Bieser with Milwaukee Running Group OMG, tells us more about the upcoming cleanup.

Can you tell us a bit about the event?

People who pick up trash in public places live longer, have fewer cavities, and enjoy that good feeling and glow you get when you do something good for the planet.

The 4th annual Oak Leaf Trail Cleanup is one of those planet-friendly, guaranteed-to-make-you-glow events. The cleanup will be held Sunday, May 6 from 1-3:30pm and will focus on a mile long stretch of the trail near Colectivo at the Lakefront. We expect over 100 people of all ages to gather on the lawn north of Colectivo starting at 1pm. We will return from the trail – with trash-filled bags – around 3:30pm. All volunteers are welcome to stick around and enjoy free snacks and beverages on the lawn.

This is a family, kid, and dog friendly event. Friends are welcome, too!

It’s great to hear several running groups are coming together to clean up the trail. Which groups are participating in this year’s clean up? And can people still join in if they’re not a member of one of these groups?

The Milwaukee Running Group OMG is excited to team up again this year with Badgerland Striders, Tri-Wisconsin, Splinter Striders, and members of the November Project. You do not need to be a member of one of these groups to participate. In fact, this is an excellent chance to learn more about these groups and meet their members. These groups are the most active running, biking and workout clubs in Milwaukee offering year-round fitness activities for insanely cheap membership dues, or free-forever in the case of November Project!

What makes the Oak Leaf Trail such a valuable community resource?

The east side segment of the Oak Leaf Trail is busy, 16 hours a day, with bikers, runners, dog walkers, and occasional raccoons, wild turkeys and deer. It’s a Milwaukee treasure, and one of the reasons we love running and biking here. The trail is 120 miles of railroad bed converted to smooth asphalt circling Milwaukee and showcasing our neighborhoods and charms.

Why should people come help out for a few hours?

When a friend has a problem, you don’t turn your back. The east side Oak Leaf Trail has a trash problem every spring (a winter hangover) and it needs your help. Other groups have walked the trail in the past few weeks picking up trash, but they’ve missed most of the harder to get to places along the trail. We’ll tackle those spots because we’re runners and we don’t give up easy!

As a bonus, we’ll ask people to keep track of the most interesting things found during the cleanup. Take a picture and send it to mke.run.group@gmail.com or post it to the public event Facebook Page.

Do volunteers need to bring anything?

OMG and Badgerland Striders will provide trash bags, trash-pickers, logistics, and a free picnic after on the lawn outside Colectivo. Volunteers should bring work gloves and clothes to get a little muddy. Recent drainage improvements to the trail have reduced the puddles that lined the trail in past years, but there is still mud! The costs of the cleanup will be covered by The Milwaukee Running Group, Badgerland Striders, and the Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful organization.

Any other comments?

Are you a runner or biker who uses the east side trail? Join us for a few hours of trail cleanup. Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of the Oak Leaf Trail!

Thanks for chatting with us, Patrick! This looks like a fantastic event and a great way to help keep our city and trails clean for everyone. To learn more, visit the Facebook event page.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

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Race It: Five Fifty Fifty Run/Walk

One in five American adults is diagnosed with a mental health condition in any given year. Yet these conditions are often swept under the rug – people don’t want to talk about them or admit they’re struggling. That’s why Milwaukee native Adel Korkor decided to start the Five Fifty Fifty Run/Walk Series. Through a series of run/walks across the country, Korkor hopes to bring awareness to the issue of mental health and help those who are suffering know they are not alone.

Below, Korkor tells us more about the run/walk series and how the community can get involved!

Why did you decide to embark on this journey?

We have a mental health crisis in America! About 300 people are dying every day from suicide or drug overdose. Depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness diagnoses are on the rise. One out of every five Americans suffers from mental health issues. In addition to being common, mental illnesses are disabling and costly. This run/walk series is design to bring awareness to all of the above.

What’s the general route for the series? How did you decide on the start/finish?

We will start in Hawaii (May 5) and end in Milwaukee (June 23). The logistics dictated our plan. We divided the country into eight regions. We will fly in between but drive within each region. The route can be found on our website www.fivefiftyfifty.com.

How have you prepared for the series over the months? What type of training did you do?

I have always been a runner. I have added core training and am doing more cross training with the addition of cycling and elliptical activities.

What is your run plan/approach for the 5ks?

I hope to run every race. I do not have a certain time to hit.

Are there any challenges you expect along the way? How will you overcome them?

There will be many challenges: weather, air travel, transportation, race logistics among others. However, my team of five individuals who are managing the process are trying preemptively to deal with any anticipated challenges.

What motivates you to run?

Running has saved my life. I suffered from a panic attack in my early 40s and running has helped me control the symptoms of anxiety and manage my disease.

What are you looking forward to most during your upcoming journey?

Meeting people, sharing stories, enhancing awareness, removing stigma and raising funds.

How can people participate in the Five Fifty Fifty Run/Walk Series?

Go on our website www.fivefiftyfifty.com, sign up for one or more of the races. If they are unable to join the run/walk for any reason, they can sign up for the virtual run/walk. Donations through our website are also greatly appreciated.

Can you tell us more about the organization the series benefits?

The organization that will primarily benefit is my foundation www.adelbkorkorfoundation.org. My foundation’s goal is to make the world a better place for individuals with mental health issues. Other participating and collaborative organizations and foundations will benefit as well.

Any other comments?

There is no time to waste. We have a crisis on our hands and as a society we must react positively and constructively.

Thanks for chatting with us Adel and best of luck with your upcoming journey! To learn how you can get involved with the Five Fifty Fifty Run/Walk Series, check out the website: https://fivefiftyfifty.com/

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Race It: Lucky Leprechaun 7k

What could be luckier than racing on St. Patty’s Day? If you want to run a few miles to start the holiday, consider registering for this year’s Lucky Leprechaun 7k. It’s guaranteed to be a great time whether you want to run a fast time – and beat a leprechaun! – or take it easy and run or walk the course with family and friends.

Below, local race contact, Timothy Sluga, tells us more about this year’s race. For race specifics, see our Featured Races page.

Can you tell us a bit about the Lucky Leprechaun race and what makes it unique?
This year the race is on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s both a big deal for us and the community. Finishers will have the chance to join race sponsor, Leff’s Lucky Town, for a post-race bash that will also serve as the traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The distance is also 7k, a quirky difference from the traditional 5k and 10k races runners typically participate in.

We’re also working with the MACC Fund and a portion of every registration will go to help them in their research dedicated to childhood cancer and related blood disorders.

The race is celebrating its 6th year in Milwaukee – is there anything new or different happening at this year’s race?
A big difference is that this year’s race actually falls on St. Patrick’s Day. It gives runners and walkers the option of getting a great workout in before joining the rest of the community in the holiday celebration.

A 7k race isn’t common – why was this distance selected?
We chose 7k for a couple of reasons. One, it just naturally fits with the name – lucky number 7 for the Lucky Leprechaun. Also, there aren’t too many 7k races around. Some people just get sick of doing the traditional 5k distance and some are looking for a race that’s a bit longer. The distance adds up to just over 4.3 miles, so it’s not as daunting as some people make it out to be when they see 7k.

What about the course – are there any major hills or tight turns runners should prepare for?
The course is relatively flat, so there’s nothing that is going to crush anyone. At just over 4 miles, it will go by kind of quick, but it will give runners and walkers some great scenery through Hart Park, scenic downtown Wauwatosa and into some of the connected neighborhoods.

Tell us more about the Out Run the Leprechaun contest – what are the details and how can people win?
Out Run the Leprechaun is to give some motivation for some of the faster runners to step up their game. Simply, we have a Leprechaun running in the race and it’ll be out to crush the competition – after all, it is the Leprechaun’s day. We have some special prizes for a few people who beat the Leprechaun in the race. Our Leprechaun is no joke, though, so you’ll have to step up your game to beat it.

Are there any other awards offered?
We have finisher awards for top males and females, but our run isn’t all about awards. We’ve kind of found a niche with families and friends who like to get out together and enjoy a run or walk as a group. It’s incredible when you see a family represented by someone as young as two, in a stroller, and as old 80, finishing together. It’s an altogether different kind of award.

What do participants get with their race registration?
Every runner receives an official race t-shirt. Runners who signed up for a couple of weeks in December also receive a pretty sharp Lucky stainless glass. Runners 21 and over will each receive two free beers after the race to help transition from the run into St. Paddy’s Day! We’ll also have chips, coffee and hot chocolate provided by Zilli Hospitality Group and bananas from Maglio & co. In addition, we hope to have some discounts and offers from local businesses to help keep people in and around Hart Park and downtown Wauwatosa.

What are some of the pre- and post-race happenings?
Pre-race we’ll have music playing by DJ Sinclair as well as some refreshments. Post-race is going to be a blast. Leff’s Lucky Town is providing two beers for each participant over the age of 21, as well as live music and a festive St. Patrick’s Day experience. We expect a lot of runners to hang around, so it should be a lot of fun.

Are volunteers needed? If so, how can people get involved?
We always welcome more volunteers. For people who want to be a part of the community, but might not be all that interested in the run itself, this is the perfect way to achieve that. If people are interested in volunteering they can contact Michael Bielawski with the MACC Fund at MBielawski@maccfund.org or 414- 955-5835.

Any other comments?
We’re really excited for the race. The response to registration has been great and we’re expecting a great crowd for a morning of exercise and an afternoon of fun.

We are lucky to be working with an awesome group of race sponsors. Performance Running Outfitters shares an unbelievable passion for running that really gets the community excited for our events. Zilli Hospitality Group has been great to work with and stepped up to take care of our pre- and post-race snacks. Maglio & Co. came on board late with bananas for everyone. WaterStone Bank gave us a great sponsor central to Wauwatosa. And, of course, who can forget Leff’s Lucky Town for bringing the party!

Thanks for chatting with us, Timothy! There’s still time to sign up for this year’s Lucky Leprechaun 7k. If you’re interested in getting in on the action, register here: https://raceroster.com/events/2018/12414/2018-lucky-leprechaun-7k

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Try It: Badgerland Striders Tuesday Night Workouts

So you’re training for a spring race and need to get some quality speedwork in but it’s Wisconsin and it’s cold and dark and icy when you need to run. Times like these make it difficult to work up the motivation to train. But with a group of runners, the workout becomes that much easier.

The Badgerland Striders offer Tuesday night workouts at the Pettit National Ice Center throughout the winter months to help runners get faster while also having fun running with a group. Erin Smith, one of the workout coaches, tells us more about these workouts and what to expect if you decide to join in the fun!

Why did the Striders decide to start offering Tuesday evening workouts?

The workouts have been taking place in some capacity since summer of 2014. We wanted to provide a more structured running workout for our members. The workouts were originally only running based and we have just recently added in the functional strength portion.

Where are the workouts held and when? About how many people show up each week? The workouts are held Tuesday at 6:30pm. In the winter (December to March/April) we are indoors at the Pettit National Ice Center. In the summer (April to September) we are outside at Hart Park in Wauwatosa. We have about 30 people show up weekly. There is no need to register, just show up and be ready to go!

Take us through a typical workout …

A workout generally consists of 3 to 4 miles of hard running; which can be adapted depending on fitness level. We also include strength and conditioning exercises. There are also breaks so runners have a chance to recover between activities. A runner can expect to be at the workout for about an hour.

Why do you include strength and conditioning exercises as part of the workout?

Runner’s generally run because they love running not because they like doing burpees or squats. Adding in the functional strength helps to build the supporting muscles that many runners neglect, but in the long run will help them improve speed and endurance and, hopefully, prevent injury.

Who leads the workouts? How do you decide what type of workout to do each week?

The workouts are led by myself and Terri Bodden. We are both RRCA certified running coaches and have a passion for running and helping others achieve their running goals. For the winter workouts at the Pettit, we focus a lot on functional strength and maintaining a running base, but also pushing the pace a bit on the running part. In the summer months, we focus more on gaining speed.

Can runners of all abilities join or are these workouts better suited for more advanced runners?

The workouts are written with all ability levels in mind, and we adjust the workouts on the spot to make sure everyone is comfortable and gains something from the workout. I think for beginning runners and slower runners, the idea of this type of workout is intimidating. We make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable.

What type of running base would you suggest runners have before attending a workout?

While all ages and abilities are welcome, and we don’t turn anyone away, it is best if you can run a few miles before you join us.

Are the workouts geared toward a specific race distance?

The workouts are not geared toward a specific race distance. Each week is a different workout so it can help with any race distance that a person might be targeting, from the 5k to ultras.

What are the benefits of doing speed work with a group?

Any workout with a group helps provide accountability. You might not want to run, but you’ll go because you told your friend you would meet them there. Or you might not want to do the last set, but everyone else is so you do too. In most cases, people don’t regret either of these decisions. It’s also nice sometimes to just show up and have a coach tell you what to do for the workout. Everyone can suffer (I mean enjoy) together.

Thanks for chatting with us, Erin! For more information about the workouts, checkout the Badgerland Striders Tuesday Night Workouts Facebook Group.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

A Gift for Every Runner on Your List

Holiday shopping for the runner in your life can be a stressful, energy-zapping task. But this year, Performance Running Outfitters made things easy by providing gift ideas for every runner on your list – so you can spend more time running and less time shopping!

All items listed below can be found at Performance Running Outfitters!

Running Buddy:

Our running buddies make every mile go by a little bit faster. Say “thank you” with one of these great gifts, like the Believe or Compete Training Journal, with 52 weeks of space to detail workouts, or an insulated Hydroflask (keeps hot drinks hot up to 6 hours, cold drinks up to 24 hours). Even the most positive runner could use a little motivation, which is why we love Momentum wraps, with sayings like “Make It Happen” and “Run and Be Happy.” If you prefer running buddies of the four-legged variety, go hands-free with the Stunt Puppy Stunt Runner leash! And keep your buddy’s noggin nice and warm with a cute, fleecy pom beanie from Salomon!

New Runner:

Whether there’s a new runner on your list, or one coming back from a layoff, most runners could use some updated gear. Stay warm, dry, and visible with the Sugoi Zap jacket, with 360 degrees of visibility (available for men and women). Store the essentials with the Nathan Zipster belt, with two dry zippered pockets that can accommodate phones, keys, and more. Every runner needs socks, and we’ve got plenty! (Plus, all Feetures and Balega socks are Buy 3, Get 1 Free until 12/31/17!) There’s no need to worry about hydration on the run with an Amphipod handheld bottle, and we’ve got plenty of sizes to choose from. Have a racing fanatic on your list? Give them the gift of no more pin holes with Race Dots, the magnetic bib positioning system. And finally, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is the perfect watch for new and veteran runners alike, with built-in GPS for running, cycling, swimming and more!

Stylish Runner:

Running gear isn’t exclusively for running anymore! Give the gift of style with some of our newest picks, including the New Balance Heat Route jacket (women’s only, but don’t worry, we’ve got some awesome jackets for men, too!) and Saucony Freedom Runner shoes (a lifestyle shoe with a running shoe midsole, so it’s soft and supportive). The Oiselle Lux Runfinity scarf is cute and warm, with soft buttery fabric that she’ll love! We also have a fresh crop of Stance Run socks for men and women, including the new tie-dye crew (pictured). And of course, no outfit is complete without a pair of Goodr polarized, non-slip sunglasses, with so many amazing color combinations that will make any runner happy!

Winter Weather Warrior:

Sub-zero temperatures don’t scare our Wisconsin winter warriors! Help your favorite runner stay warm, dry, and running all winter long with our favorites, including the Feetures Elite Merino crew-height socks, with just enough cushion and a whole lot of warmth. Every winter runner needs a good selection of do-it-all accessories, and that’s why we recommend the Craft hybrid glove, which can convert from gloves (with an e-tip) to mittens in a snap, and the Buff polar fleece neckwarmer, which can be converted from neckwarmer, to balaclava, to headband, to hat… you get the idea! Yaktrax Run traction devices will turn any regular running shoe into a grippy powerhouse, with a carbide spike plate and metal springs to provide traction. And of course, it’s all about the clothes! Stay warm with the Salomon Drifter jacket, made with Primaloft Eco Insulation (available for both men and women). This jacket is light enough to layer under a shell, but warm enough to tackle colder temperatures with ease. Winter runners will also love the Sugoi Sub-Zero Zap tight, with 360 degrees of reflectivity, phone-ready pockets, and a soft fleecy lining (available for men and women).

Thanks to Jess and Team at Performance Running Outfitters for all the great gift ideas!

Tell us: What’s on your wish list this year?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Race It: Drumstick Dash 5k

Hey friends! Today’s post is courtesy of one of the best-loved races in town – Drumstick Dash 5k! Learn about this year’s race as well as how moving your feet on Thanksgiving day will help Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin provide meals for those in need.

For race specifics, see our Featured Races page.

The popular Drumstick Dash 5K, presented by Sendik’s Food Market, returns to Miller Park at 8:30am Thanksgiving morning. A Milwaukee family tradition since 2012, this sixth annual 3.1 mile run/walk once again benefits Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.

You may run/walk on your own, with your family or as part of a team. All participants receive warmth in their heart, a free long-sleeve cotton tee and complimentary coffee from Starbucks, while supplies last. An official Brooks Running event, all walkers and runners will also receive a special merchandise discount from Brooks. Have your picture taken with Bernie Brewer and Dash the Turkey! Parking at Miller Park is free.

Those traveling out of town on Thanksgiving to visit loved ones will still be contributing to the cause by participating in the Outta Town Dash Around.

“We are proud to have the Milwaukee Brewers and the Brewers Community Foundation host this incredible Thanksgiving morning memory for families at Miller Park,” said Jeff Graves, president of Vision Event Management, promoter of the Drumstick Dash 5K. “Miller Park is home to so many magical moments from Spring to October, and we are thrilled to see so many families coming together with smiles on their faces for those less fortunate in our community who really need assistance in the cold winter months.”

In 2016, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin was able to provide Eastern Wisconsin hungry neighbors with 46,900 meals from the monetary donations and more than 2,400 pounds of food collected at Miller Park during the 2016 Drumstick Dash.

For every $1 raised through the Drumstick Dash 5K, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is able to provide three meals for those in need in Eastern Wisconsin. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is the leading hunger-relief organization in the state. They develop innovative solutions to increase access to healthy, nutritious food and works collaboratively with communities to implement programs that focus on strengthening the four pillars of household stability – Food, Health, Housing and Employment.

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distributes approximately 29 million pounds of healthy and nutritious food to more than 550 members, including food pantries, meal programs and shelters throughout 36 counties in eastern Wisconsin. Together with their members, they provide the equivalent of more than 20 million meals a year to nearly 400,000 people, including 124,000 children and 41,000 seniors.

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin will accept food donations on the morning of the Drumstick Dash 5K. Suggested nonperishable items to donate include peanut butter, cereal, tuna, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice and canned soup. Cash contributions will also be accepted. Every $1 donated provides 3 meals to a hungry neighbor.

Other generous supporting partners of the 6th Annual Drumstick Dash include Performance Running Outfitters and FOX6.

To register or to learn more about making a donation, please visit www.DrumstickDashMilwaukee.com. You may register online through November 22nd. Kids under four years of age are free but must still be registered.

Bring your family, dress in holiday garb (random participants in costume will be awarded prizes) if you’re so inclined and come move your feet so others can eat! See you on Thanksgiving morning at Miller Park for the 6th Annual Drumstick Dash 5K presented by Sendik’s Food Market!

Thanks to Drumstick Dash for the great information about a wonderful community event!

Who’s planning to race a turkey trot this year?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!