New This Fall: The Lake Michigan Trail Marathon!

Attention MKE Runners: There’s a new marathon in town!


The Lake Michigan Trail Marathon (a Boston qualifier!) will make its debut over Labor Day weekend in the Milwaukee County Parks along the shore of Lake Michigan. The event will also include a 50-kilometer race, a half marathon and a 20-mile “training run”.

“Instead of leaving town to  go to the Kettle Moraine State Forest for a long trail race, we are bringing in the trail race here to the city,” said event director Chris Ponteri.  “We are calling it an ‘urban trail experience’”.

Registration opens on Monday, February 3 at 9 a.m., and the link to the registration site can be found on the event website at

Here are the details:

Date: Sunday, August 31

Location: Sheridan Park, Cudahy

Cost: Marathon – $70 February 1 to June 30; $80 July 1 to September 3; $90 on race-day; 50k – $80 February 1 to June 30; $90 July 1 to September 3; $100 on race-day; Half Marathon – $45 February 1 to June 30; $55 July 1 to September 3; $65 on race-day; 20-Mile Training Run – $20

Details: All participants for the chip-timed marathon, 50k and half marathon will receive a tech shirt, a high-quality finisher’s medal and reusable goody bag.  The top 3 male and female overall finishers will receive special awards. The top 3 male and female finishers in each age group will also receive an award. For the 20-mile “training run”, participants will get a shirt and a bag, but not a finisher’s medal.


The capacity for all four events combined is 1,200 runners.  This includes 400 for the half marathon, 300 for the marathon, 300 for the 50k and 200 for the 20-miler.

The course will wind through South Shore Park and Bay View Park in Milwaukee, Warnimont Park in Cudahy and Grant Park in South Milwaukee.  Much of the course will be on the paved Oak Leaf Trail, however the course will also go “off road” and venture deep into the woods where runners will find the dirt-covered Forked Aster and the Seven Bridges Hiking Trails.  They will even run a little over a mile on the sandy beach in Grant Park.

“This is not a difficult course as far as trail races go,” Ponteri said. “But what makes it so unique is that runners will get to experience a lot of different types of terrain and also have some spectacular views of the lake.”

Despite the trails and sand, Ponteri thinks it will be a good course to run a decent marathon time.  The course for the marathon will take runners on a south loop to Grant Park, then a north out-and-back to South Shore Park followed by another south loop. There are not many big hills or sharp turns. The slowest part of the course will be the portion on the beach, due to the sand.

The 50k (31.1 mile) race will include two south loops and two north out-and-backs.  The half marathon runners will do the south loop and an abbreviated out-and-back to the north.  The 20-mile course will be similar to the marathon but the second south loop will be shortened.

 One of the goals of the race is to educate and raise awareness of the Milwaukee County Park System, especially along the south shore of Lake Michigan.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Friends of Grant Park.  A second charity partner is the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Sponsors include Performance Running Outfitters and Running in the USA.

So, that’s the scoop, runners! Who’s planning to join us at the race?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

5 thoughts on “New This Fall: The Lake Michigan Trail Marathon!

  1. This sounds so beautiful! The hard part will be figuring out which distance I want to do!

  2. I was really excited to see this new race but then I looked at my schedule for that month and realized that I’ve got the Madison mini on the 16th and then if I did this race too I’d have the Kettle Moraine 1/2 not even a whole week later on the 6th of September. It just doesn’t seem wise to try and fit this one in under those circumstances… there’s always next year. 🙂

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