The Hank Aaron State Trail is one of the most popular places to run in MKE. So what better than a race that helps enhance and maintain the trail?
For details about the race, please visit our Featured Races page.
Can you tell us a bit about the history of the Hank Aaron 5k?
This is the 15th annual Hank Aaron State Trail Run/Walk. We had humble beginnings with just a few hundred participants, but now have grown to 2,000+ participants and volunteers!
The Trail is, of course, named after Hank Aaron. Hank and his wife Billie are invited to the 5k every year, and we have been fortunate to have Hank visit with us 4 times over the 15 years. One year, he visited with former Governor Doyle, who showed Hank a scrapbook he made at age 10 with Hank as his hero.
What makes the race different/unique?
The course for the most part is on the Hank Aaron State Trail, traveling through the revitalized Menomonee Valley and along a wonderful stretch of the Menomonee River. The fabulous De La Buena plays their world music before and after the race, and we usually have a recognized personality as our emcee.
Also – every 44th finisher wins a prize to commemorate Hank Aaron’s baseball uniform number.
Is there anything new or different happening at this year’s race?
For the first time, the Run/Walk route will wind through the newly opened Three Bridges Park, crossing the Menomonee River two times! Click here for the new route.
Three Bridges Park is a restored natural area that was formerly used as a rail yard. The Park and the Trail connect with the near South neighborhoods along National Avenue and are used by the new branch of the Urban Ecology Center as their outdoor classroom.
What is the course like? Do you have any tips for runners hoping to PR at the race?
The course will start and finish at the Miller Park Sausage Haus. We have a wide start on the parking lot and the ring road around the parking lots and then a short stretch on Canal Street including a water stop.
The course then narrows to the 10’ wide-paved bike path as it crosses the Menomonee River at 33rd Street Court, heads west on the bike path through the new park, crosses back over the river on a covered bridge and back to Miller Park along the Menomonee River. Basically, travel east going out and west coming back on a flat terrain. The tightest turns will be entering and exiting the bridge crossings.
Are there any overall and/or age group prizes awarded?
There are awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place male and females at five-year intervals from age 10 and under to 80+. There are also awards for the fastest team (top 3 times), largest team and team spirit. And don’t forget about the prize for every 44th finisher!
What do participants get with their race entry?
Each registered participant will receive a t-shirt and pre- and post-race refreshments including Colectivo coffee, sport tea and bakery, Cargill Grill hamburgers and Sprecher root beer floats.
There is also a prize drawing and a silent auction. Items this year include a Mountain Bike, gear from Erewhon and REI, a cruise on the SV Denis Sullivan, and more!
Can you tell us a bit about how the race will benefit the trail?
All profits from sponsorship and entry fees are used by the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail (FOHAST) to enhance, sustain and promote the 12-mile bike and pedestrian trail through the heart of the Milwaukee area. FOHAST support local bike education programs for urban youth, sponsor public art installations, way finding and information stations along the stretch.
Any other comments?
FOHAST continues to be an advocate of the Trail, working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, local communities, organizations and businesses to bring the Trail to reality. From the 5k, to our annual Spring River Clean-Up and Planting to our hikes through history, the Friends helps people enjoy and appreciate all that the Trail has to offer.
We invite you to learn more about the Trail and our organization and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the Hank Aaron State Trail.
Many thanks to Laura and the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail for all the great info about the race! If you’d like to learn more about the upcoming race, here’s how you can connect:
- Website: http://www.hankaaronstatetrail.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Hank-Aaron-State-Trail/163490387040068
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/HankAaronStateT
Who wants to win a race entry?
The Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail have generously provided a race entry for one lucky Keep Running MKE reader.
To enter to win the prize, please visit: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck! We’ll announce the winner next Tuesday!
That’s it for now. As always …
Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!