Let’s Get to Know … Alison Newcomb!

It’s no secret we adore Performance Running Outfitters – their stores are the place to find the best running gear in MKE. So today we’re excited to feature one of their assistant managers, Alison Newcomb.

Alison began running at an early age but, like many of us, took several years off before getting back into it a few years ago. Read on to learn how she got her passion for the sport back and how she’s now training to run stronger than ever!

Age: 33

Years running: 20 (with a nine year break in the middle due to an injury that kept me out of it as much mentally as physically)

Favorite workout: I’m a big believer in strength training since I’ve come back from my injury. One of my favorite workouts is my heavy leg weight lifting days – doing squats and deadlifts. Exercises that I couldn’t do properly with just my body weight two years ago, I’m now doing with more than my bodyweight. I really feel accomplished when I do these workouts. When it comes to my running, I still love my LSD runs (long slow distance). There’s nothing quite like it for clearing your head and getting a little perspective.

Favorite gear:

  • Garmin 235 – I am a big techie, so my GPS watch is a favorite. I love seeing all the details about my run, especially on hill or speed workouts – the graphs are great. Some days I’m at a loss for how I trained before it because of all the features.
  • R8 by Roll Recovery – This recovery tool is sooo amazing. I know how important rolling is, but sometimes I don’t want to get on the ground and do the work. The R8 does deep tissue massage without the awkwardness of a foam roller. Plus, it’s compact, so it’s easy to take to a race or training session. In addition, it’s an FDA registered device!
  • Momentum Wraps and Sweaty Bands – These both add a little style to my workouts. The Momentum Wraps are a great pick me up. I wear them pretty much 24-7. While they’re perfect for workouts, I love them for when I’m going out, too. As someone with bangs, the Sweaty Bands are perfect for keeping my hair out of my eyes during a workout. Plus they’ve got great patterns and colors. I always make sure both match.

Pre-race routine: My breakfast has become a major part of my routine. I was having problems with GI issues due to the fiber content in my traditional pre-race breakfast and finally tweaked it to what it is now. It’s a little odd, but it works for me: one egg over hard, a Greek yogurt, and a piece of English muffin toast with half peanut butter and half raspberry jam. The amount consumed is tweaked based on the distance. At the race I do a half-mile warm up and stretch. I try to throw a few strides in as well.

Favorite post-race treat: A Papa Murphy’s Delight pepperoni pizza with green olives (I like the salt) and a NAP!

Favorite distance to race: 10K – at this point in my running career I don’t have to change up my daily running routine much to get ready for a 10K, meaning I can still have a social life while getting ready for a race. I actually ran my first 10K in Germany and took first in my age group. When they presented me with my award they said I had come “all the way from America” to beat the Germans.

Favorite inspirational running quote: Currently I am feeling really connected to a line from Bart Yasso’s book My Life on the Run, “If you don’t feel welcomed in a sport or a job or a family, you don’t stick around. Running is about acceptance—of yourself and others.”

If you could run with anyone, who would you pick and why?

Probably my cross country “brother” and “sister”, Kraig and Erin. My dad coached high school cross country, so even when I was little I hung out with a lot of runners. Kraig was on my dad’s team when I was quite little and spent a lot of time at our house. He did very well in high school and college and ended up competing in the Olympic Trials. Erin ran with the high school team while she was in middle school. I took her under my wing and she became the little sister I never had. Erin went on to have a very successful high school and college running career as well. While the three of us have vacationed together and done other “family” activities, we have never raced together. I would love to do a destination race with my cross country “family” and their families. It would certainly be a fun, memorable run.

How/Why did you start running?

I started running the summer before my freshman year of high school. I had been a jack of all trades when it came to sports in elementary school and middle school, so when it came time to pick A SPORT, I was at a bit of a loss. Turning to my family for guidance was just the thing I needed since my dad was the boy’s cross country coach and nearly everyone in my extended family runs. That first summer I ran with our rec department’s Runner’s Club and went from not being able to run a mile to making varsity for our team’s first meet that fall. It was a huge learning experience for me and an amazing confidence booster – I was hooked.

How does running improve your life/outlook? What keeps you motivated to run?

I believe running is about personal growth – both on and off the course. I became more confident, outgoing, compassionate, and driven because of running. That personal growth is why I keep running. There is always a new goal to set.

What does a typical training week look like for you?

I try to cover a lot of different areas during my weekly training. This year, I’m working with my running coach, Nicole (Momentum of Milwaukee and Performance Running Outfitters’ training guru) and my strength coach, Max (AMC Energy Fitness) to really tailor my program to be more strategic in my training. I normally do a variety of types of runs, including pace work, speed work and hills. I’ve also added more biking to my cardio cross training this year. I work major muscle groups on my strength days – legs, chest, back, shoulders and arms. I’ve also refocused on core this year, which means about four days of core exercises engaging various muscle groups. Lastly, I try to hit up a yoga class. It’s another great core workout and helps me with my flexibility.

How are you involved in the local running community? What prompted you to get involved?

When it comes down to it, finding like-minded people who I could train with and learn from was the reason I got involved in the local running community. I work at Performance Running Outfitters in Oak Creek, so I engage with runners on a daily basis. Before I started working at PRO, I attended almost every single one of their fun runs. Running with PRO was a no brainer. It was a wonderful way to meet like-minded people, try out new gear, and, most of all, have fun. Now that I coordinate the fun runs I get to help build that community. I’m also a Mother Runner (although I’m only a puppy mama) and member of Badgerland Striders and Oiselle’s Volée. While some of the community that comes from these groups is primarily online, I appreciate the fact that while I have a retail schedule, there are people cheering me on and going through the same sorts of struggles that I am. Some of these friends I see in person, but even if I never do, I know they are there for me. I also try to volunteer at a local race at least once a year. Take the time to hand out medals at a local race sometime – it’s a truly transformative experience.

Tell us a bit about what it’s like to work at Performance Running Outfitters – we imagine it must be super motivating to work while surrounded by runners, running shoes and running gear!

Working at a store devoted to your passion is AMAZING. Not only do I get to see and test all of the shoes and gear, I also get to learn from my coworkers, customers and vendors about all things running. What was at first totally overwhelming is now really rewarding. The more I learn, the more I can share with our customers. I also love getting to know each customer – their experiences and goals – in order to tailor their experience whether they are a new runner or seasoned veteran. Plus I get to run at work when we host our in-store events, a total plus.

Tell us a bit about your most memorable race – what makes it stand out?

My most memorable race to date was the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2015. After a stress fracture in my tibia in college, I hadn’t run for almost nine years until I found a “shiny” new pair of running shoes, which helped me find my passion again and set the goal to run my first half marathon. I had just finished looking at pictures from the 2014 Princess Half and how fun it looked and thought, that’s the goal. A perfect goal for a runner who is a self-proclaimed DisNerd. My family, friends, trainer and physical therapist became the best possible support system I could ask for. The race was so emotional; not only was I running at Disney, which was an experience in itself, but I had worked hard toward my goal and found my passion for running again. My parents and husband also attended the race and were the best cheer squad I could ask for.

What’s on your race bucket list?

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon (just registered for!), The Tenacious Ten, Nike Women’s Half Marathon (somewhere abroad), Walt Disney World Half Marathon, The Runner’s World Half Marathon (and Festival), and the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon. I’m all about the racecations.

What running goals are you looking to tackle in the next few years?

My main goals are to continue to stay healthy and grow as a runner, whether that means new training, new distances, or new personal bests. This year I am specifically focusing on being more strategic and training smarter. I’m looking to make core and recovery a priority, support others in achieving their goals, and continue to eat balanced meals. With everything that I am working on, I’m hopeful I’ll PR my half as well.

What are some of your favorite Milwaukee races?

Firecracker Four – The Firecracker Four is the perfect local 4th of July run. Running through Hales Corners is such a treat because families come out and sit in their driveways to watch the race. You may even get to run through a sprinkler or get shot by a super soaker! It also brings a large community of local runners together. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with people you may not have seen over the winter months.

Brewers 10K – The Brewers 10K was the first race I ran after coming back from my stress fracture. It’s a very sentimental race for me because of that. I also enjoy that you get to run on the field – my husband and I are Brewers’ fans. This past year was especially fun, because my PRO family was in the stadium cheering me and other runners on. It was great to get a little push at the end.

What makes Milwaukee a great place for runners?

Milwaukee is a great place for runners, because there are so many opportunities to connect with one another – lots of running groups, fun runs and races. There isn’t a week in Wisconsin that there isn’t something going on, which is pretty amazing. And there is something for everyone; whether you are running your first 5K or completing your first Ironman. Plus, there’s always someone there to support you in your journey, you just have to look.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Alison!

If you’re a runner in MKE, we’d love to chat with you. Send us an email at keeprunningmke@gmail.com if you’d like to be featured or know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Let’s Get to Know . . . post.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Race It: Run4Food 5k

The most delicious race finish? A finish that ends steps away from a Bloody Mary bar and tasty eats!

One of Milwaukee’s newest races, Run4Food 5k, will offer just that on Sunday, March 12 @9am. And in case you’re thinking about skipping out because of potentially nasty March weather, the race will be held indoors at the Wisconsin Center.

Below, race director, Chris Ponteri, tells us more about the event.

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This is the inaugural Run4Food 5k – can you tell us why the race was created and give us a general overview of the event?

The race is being putting on by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association as part of its annual Midwest Foodservice Show at the Wisconsin Center. They want to have a 5k race to give attendees something fun and healthy to do while they are in Milwaukee.

What makes this race unique?

Two things: 1) It’s indoors, and 2) The food theme. There will be “tasting stations” with food from several of the show vendors, including a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar after the race.

What was behind the decision to run the race indoors?

When I heard the Midwest Foodservice Show is in March, I suggested doing it indoors since they have a nice space for it and who knows what kind of weather we will have that time of the year. As far as I know, this will be the first race of its kind in Milwaukee. We have the Icebreaker, which is held at the Pettit Center, but that is on an existing running track. For this one, we will be creating our own course.

Running an indoor course is something most runners have never done – can you tell us about what the course is like?

The corridors at the Wisconsin Center are wide and in a U-shape, and we are going to connect by going through the kitchen area. The course will be a square shape and will be about a quarter mile long so participants will have to do around 12 laps.

Are there any other awards offered?

There will be prizes for the top three overall male and female finishers and age group awards in yet-to-be-determined categories.

What do participants get with their race registration?

Participants will get a shirt, a goody bag and free food and drinks after the race.

Tell us about the post-race party – it sounds like there will be a lot of great eats and drinks on hand for runners to sample!

In additional to the Bloody Mary bar with Tito’s Vodka and Jimmy Luv’s flavors, MillerCoors will be serving Leinenkugels, Blue Moon, Redd’s and Henry’s Hard Soda. There will also be food and/or drinks from Harvest Hill, Alpha Baking Co., Klondike Cheese, WhiteWave Foodservice, Campbell’s Soups, Kent Precision Foods, Outback Steakhouse and CiderBoys, with more to come.

Thanks for chatting with us, Chris, and for giving us the scoop on this new MKE race!

To learn more about the upcoming Run4Food 5k, or to sign up, visit https://raceroster.com/events/2017/11049/run4food

Enjoy what should be a gorgeous weekend for running – can you believe temps in the 50s are in the forecast? We’re getting spoiled this February!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Race It: Bloop

Here’s an exciting announcement to start the weekend: Milwaukee has a new race this spring – Bloop!

We bet you’re asking, “What’s a Bloop??” Chris Ponteri, Bloop’s Race Director, explains it’s short for “Bay View Loop” and can be used as a verb or a noun.

Verb: To complete a half marathon, marathon or ultra-marathon by running 1-mile loops around Humboldt Park in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood on Saturday, April 29.

Noun: A lap around Humboldt Park.

So let us introduce Bloop – Milwaukee’s newest race! Here are the details:

What: Bloop

When: Saturday, April 29 @8am

Where: Humboldt Park Pavilion, 3000 S. Howell Avenue, Milwaukee

Bloop offers both the marathon and half marathon distances as well as a 6-hour timed Bloop. All three courses officially close at 2 p.m.

What really makes this race unique is that the course is a 1-mile Bloop. So marathoners will do 26.2 Bloops, half marathoners will do 13.1 Bloops and those who opt to do the 6-hour timed Bloop will do as many Bloops as they can within the allotted time.

There will be one aid station near the start/finish, and all participants are responsible for providing their own drinks. A table will be set up to store bottles during the race, and volunteers will hand them to you and retrieve them when you are done. Bathrooms will be available near the start/finish as well.

All Bloopers will receive a stylish hoodie and unique finisher’s medal. The top three Bloopers in each race will also receive an award.

Registration is currently set at:

  • Marathon: $60
  • Half Marathon: $50
  • 6-Hour UltraBloop: $70

Prices will increase on April 1.

To learn more, or to register for the race, visit runbloop.com.

Tell Us: Are you in for the inaugural Bloop?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Will Two Treadmill World Records Go Down On Jan 29?

It’s that time of year when runners complain about winter weather forcing them to run on the treadmill – otherwise known as the dreadmill to some. But your hour-long training run will seem like a piece of cake when you hear what one local runner is attempting at the end of this month.

On January 29, Dave Jesse – MKE runner and endurance coach – is making an attempt to take down two treadmill world records. Starting at 6am at the Princeton Club in New Berlin, he will start on a treadmill adventure that is expected to last til 7:44pm-ish.

Below, Dave tells us a bit about the records he is chasing and how he is training his way to the record books!

What records are you chasing during the event on the 29th?

There are actually two records that I will be “chasing”. The first is the farthest distance covered on a treadmill in 12 hours, which is currently at 89.36 miles. After that, I will continue running and try to reach 100 miles to set the fastest 100 mile run on a treadmill, currently at 13 hours 44 minutes and 42 seconds.

How did you decide to take a crack at these records?

A friend posted a link on my Facebook page and said that he could see me doing this and that I should. Maybe I should stop listening to that friend!!!

What’s the longest time and distance you’ve run on the treadmill?

Currently my longest run on a treadmill is 5 hours. I hope to get up to 6.5 hours before the attempt.

How have you been training for this attempt?

I have been basing my runs around a time commitment instead of a mileage commitment. Most of my training has been on the treadmill. The other key component is nutrition. For a longer event such as this, your success can hinge on nutrition so I have been practicing that as well.

15873115_747174255445790_3877453573379325325_nPhoto from the No Limits Athlete Tracker and Fundraising page

Have you decided on a running strategy to help you break these records? If so, what is it?

Great question! My crew and I have discussed this very topic and have tried various formats. As of now, the plan is to break the time into 60 minute “segments” with the first 15 minutes of each segment to be done at a consistent pace. After that the plan currently is to take the speed up by .5 mph for one minute every 10 to 15 minutes. Hydration will happen every 10 minutes and I will have “real” food as needed.

A lot of people say they get bored when running on the treadmill. How will you stay focused?

For me, what works on the training runs is to be doing something every 10 minutes (or less). This can be as simple as taking a drink or increasing the pace for a predetermined amount of time or even going up on the incline as well. Doing this allows me to focus on the 10 minutes that I am currently in while looking forward to the “change” that is upcoming.

Are there any rules you need to follow for your record attempt?

All kinds! First, and most important, is that I personally cannot touch the treadmill as I am running. I will have someone standing by to increase pace or whatever needs to be done. Also, I cannot be off the treadmill if the belt is moving. If for any reason I need to leave the treadmill the belt must be stopped. The 12 hours is continuous so I can stop and use the restroom, if needed, but the event time does not stop.

In addition, I need to provide as evidence witness statements, documentation of milestones (10 miles, 26.2, 50K, 50 miles, 75 miles), a general log as to what has happened during the event, as well as a video capturing the entirety of the event (the complete treadmill must be seen in the video the entire time, so the camera will be in a “fixed” position”).

Tell us about the fundraising aspect. Who will this event benefit? Why is this cause important to you? How can people contribute?

Last year I started raising funds for the awareness of ALS and plan to continue to do that this year as well. However there is an instructor at the gym where I train who was diagnosed with cancer. When I found out, I remembered what a good friend once said a few years back. “Don’t fly over a mission to get to a mission”. Those words ring true for me for this event. More can be found about the fundraising efforts on my athlete Facebook page or at the following link: www.gofundme.com/christiandiompy

Any other comments?

Just a special thank you to those that are helping me, not only on the day of event, but through the training process as well. These are some very special people.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Dave, and best of luck on the 29th!

We’re always interested in talking with runners about running. If you have a story tip or info about an upcoming race/event, email us at keeprunningmke@gmail.com

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Race It: 2017 Polar Bear Dash 5k

January 1 marks the start of a new year. So why not make a splash?

The Polar Bear Dash provides a fun 5k course for runners to test their speed and then an optional dip in Lake Michigan after the finish line to test their courage. Make no mistake – it will be cold no matter what the temperature is on race day but we know a lot of you pride yourselves on being able to take whatever Mother Nature throws your way!

Below, Race Director Bill Schneider tells us more about this year’s race, including a new contest that just might get you to take the plunge.

Get race specifics on our Featured Races page .

What makes the Polar Bear Dash different from other 5k races in the area?

The Polar Bear Dash is the first race of the New Year. Why not start the year off on the right foot…then the left? It is a winter race taking place on New Year’s Day morning with an indoor heated packet pickup and post-race gathering area. The unique part of the race is an optional dip into Lake Michigan right after the finish line, which is located on the Grant Park beach. Runners who take a full dip in the lake are eligible for prizes. The race is run entirely in Grant Park in South Milwaukee on a completely closed-to-traffic route. There is no better way for runners to start the year off. Our charity partners are the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. We also have hot chocolate at the finish line!

Is there anything new or different happening at this year’s race?

New this year will be a contest to see who enters the water in the best and most creative way. Every year we take video of runners jumping into the water; this year we will choose 5 or so of the most creative ways people get into the water and post the video on our Facebook page. Our Facebook friends will then vote to determine which one they like the best and that person will receive a free entry into the next Polar Bear Dash.

pbd-16-02All photos courtesy of Bill Schneider

We are also looking into having a bonfire on the beach to help warm up those runners who do decide to brave the water as well as for the friends and family that come to watch the excitement on the beach.

What are the course uphills, downhills, turns, etc. that runners should know about?

The course begins at the Grant Park Clubhouse and finishes down at the beach. There is a small uphill at the beginning and then a beautiful run through the park. The race finishes with long downhill to the beach. If the roads are clear of ice, this can be a very fast course. If there is snow, runners need to be more cautious.

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Who were last year’s winners? Are any of them back to contend for the win again this year?

Last year’s overall winner was Mike Treder with a time of 17:57. The female champion was Kelly Ryan with a time of 20:00. At this time we do not know if they will be defending their titles but we sure hope they come back.

Is there anything participants should know about water stations, etc.?

This race is only a 5K so unless the weather is unusually warm, there is not a water station along the course. We do not want to cause a slipping danger by having water spill onto the road. If the weather is warm, we will have an aid station along the course. Of course, there is plenty of water at the finish line in Lake Michigan. We do not suggest drinking that water, however. There will be hot chocolate at the finish line for all participants and snacks in the clubhouse after the race.

Can you talk us through the dip into Lake Michigan – how does it work? How many participants have taken the plunge in previous years? Do participants have to take a dip to qualify for awards?

The finish line of the Polar Bear Dash is on the beach in Grant Park about 10 to 20 meters from the waterline. We encourage runners who are 18 and older to take a dip into Lake Michigan after the race to celebrate the New Year. However, this is completely optional. Awards for times in the 5K are separate from awards for the brave souls who jump in the water.  We do have a drawing for prizes for those who decide to take a FULL DIP into the water. And by Full Dip, we mean entire body, head to toe.

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The South Milwaukee Water Rescue Squad has helped us every year with keeping the runners safe as they jump in the water. They will have two members in the water assisting anyone who needs help. We have up to about 40% of the runners jump into the water depending on the weather that day. Last year we had great weather for a dip with temps in the 20s and low winds. In other years, the winds were higher with temps in the single digits. We have less that go in on those days. It is a great site to see everyone going in the water.

How do most people do their dip into the lake? What are some of the funniest/most memorable dips into the lake that you’ve seen over the years?

I love watching the runners jump into the lake. There are many different ways people go in. Some just casually wade in and that is as far as they go. Some run in as fast as they can and after a few steps in, dive into the water.  There is a lot of screaming that happens when the water hits their bodies. Some of my favorite ones in the past were couples running in together holding hands or the guy who did a cannonball last year. Costumes are always fun to see as well. In my opinion, the ones who run into the water are the best.

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Do you have any tips for runners planning to take the plunge?

I think the best advice I could give is once you commit, do it quickly. Run in as fast as you can. The slower you go, the worse it is. Also, wear shoes into the water. It can be quite painful walking over the stones and ice with bare feet. Have dry clothes to change into right away once you are out of the water. Most importantly, have fun and make a great memory.

Any other comments?

We look forward to starting the New Year off on the right foot again this year and invite everyone to make their way to Grant Park on New Year’s Day to participate or spectate. Everyone who participates is helping not only themselves, but also the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. We hope to see you out there.

Thanks for chatting with us, Bill! To learn more, or to sign up for the race, visit http://www.polarbeardash.com/.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Winter Running Style Guide

Sniff. Our warm fall weather is gone and in its place we have winter. Like actual winter. Can you believe the forecast calls for a few single digit temperature days next week??

The only consolation is that we finally get to show off our winter running gear. Need a few style pointers or ideas for sprucing up your winter running wardrobe? The team at Performance Running Outfitters put together this handy style guide to help you look hot as you burn up the track/roads/trails!

Saucony Brisk Long Sleeve

The Saucony Brisk Long Sleeve features a soft, four-way stretch comfort with great moisture wicking fabric. A herringbone pattern with a long, slim fit makes this piece an easy crossover from fitness to fashion.

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All pics courtesy of Performance Running Outfitters

Saucony Fast Track Tight

With a wide, flattering waistband, a compression fit and a bold print, the Saucony Fast Track Tight will add style while you’re working out or hanging out.

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Brooks LSD Thermal Jacket

The LSD Thermal Jacket combines protection and performance. With windproof nylon on the front and a soft, merino blend on the sides and arms, this jacket provides super lightweight insulation.

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Craft Weather Jersey

For the techy runner! This half-zip wind top has a media pocket on the back, built-in mittens, an angled double-zipper for extra ventilation, and magnets to keep the neck secure whether open or closed.

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Saucony Velocity Long Sleeve

A soft, heathered fabric that can be worn on its own or as a base layer will make this a staple in your running wardrobe.

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Nike Dri Fit Element Hoodie

This hoodie delivers lightweight warmth in a snug, streamlined design so you can keep your miles up when the temperature drops.

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New Balance Windcheater Jacket

Warm up with a lightweight jacket that moves with the body while still providing protection from the elements. It’s light enough to wear in mild conditions, or add a base layer underneath and wear it in cold weather.

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Saucony Dash Seamless Sportop

The Dash Seamless Sportop has body mapped engineered mesh placement that keeps air flowing so you stay cool and dry. This top offers a long, lean fit that won’t ride up and thumb holes to keep your sleeves down and your hands warm.

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The North Face Ampere Wind Trainer

WindWall fabric of the Ampere Wind Trainer cuts the wind while still being lightweight and breathable.   Reflective details will keep you visible as the days get shorter.

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All of the featured styles can be found at PRO’s four locations around the Milwaukee area.

What do you wear to stay warm during winter runs?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Spartan Race Entry Winner!

Good morning! Today, we have exciting news to share – the winner of the Spartan Race entry! Without further ado …

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The winner is … Dan! Please email us within the next 48 hours at keeprunningmke@gmail.com to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!

Stick around, MKE – we have a winter running style guide and more race previews yet to come this year!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!