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 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!

See It: Run Free: The True Story of Caballo Blanco

Hey MKE Runners! Exciting news: the Milwaukee Running Group – OMG is sponsoring a one-night only viewing of “Run Free: The True Story of Caballo Blanco,” a feature-length documentary about ultra-running legend Micah True. The movie will be shown at the Times Cinema in Milwaukee on Wednesday, November 11 at 7 p.m.

Run Free JPEG Poster Large

Tickets for the event are $12 in advance at or $15 at the door the night of the show. The Times Cinema is located at 5906 W. Vliet St. in Milwaukee.

From the news release:

Micah True, better known as Caballo Blanco – the White Horse – was the focal character of Christopher McDougall’s 2009 best-selling book “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” about the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico. Also known as the Rarámuri, or Running People, they are some of the best long-distance runners in the world.

Caballo Blanco was an enigmatic visionary who lived and ran with the Tarahumara after moving to remote Copper Canyon in the 1990s, and who created the fifty-mile Copper Canyon Ultra-Marathon to honor their running traditions and aid in their sustainability. Now in its thirteenth year, the race attracts hundreds of local Tarahumara to the village of Urique to compete alongside some of the best runners in the world. All race finishers receive five hundred pounds of corn, which the international runners traditionally donate to the local Tarahumara, commemorating the spirit of sharing, or “kórima,” which is a way of life among the natives of Copper Canyon.

The documentary is directed by Sterling Noren, a filmmaker from Seattle who met Micah True in 2009. Most of the material for the film was recorded in the weeks leading up to the 2012 race. Shortly after that race, Micah True disappeared in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico during his daily run, prompting ultra-runners from all over the country to drop everything and join in the search. His body was recovered several days later, found on a trail in a deserted canyon by some of his friends.

“We wanted to tell the story of Micah True in a way that was exciting and authentic, so that viewers could get a sense of what an amazing and inspiring person he was,” said Noren, of Seattle. “Micah’s vision lives on and his legacy is honored in this film. The film shares Micah’s compelling message of love, hope and kórima with the world while helping sustain the people and culture that meant so much to him. We’re honored to be part of this project and are committed to keeping Micah’s mission alive.”

Caballo Blanco Photo - CopyMicah True, aka Caballo Blanco

“Micah’s genuine passion for honoring the sacred running traditions of the Tarahumara people was the essence of his being,” said Maria Walton, executive producer of the film and Micah True’s girlfriend at the time of his death. “We made this film to share Micah’s vision of hope for the Tarahumara culture and empower people everywhere with his joy of running.”

The 90-minute film recently won the 2015 Bud Greenspan Memorial Film and Video Award, presented by the Track & Field Writers of America. In addition, the film also was named winner of the prestigious Award of Excellence from the IndieFEST Film Awards, which recognizes film, television and new media professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, contributing to profound social change. The IndieFEST Film Awards said of its latest winners, “The IndieFEST is not an easy award to win. Entries are received from around the world from powerhouse companies to remarkable new talent. The judges were pleased with the exceptional high quality of entries,” of which Run Free was singled out for its creative excellence.
Most recently, the film was named the Best Documentary at the 2015 Arizona International Film Festival.

A percentage of the film’s profits, including from DVD sales, will go to benefit Norawas de Rarámuri (Friends of the Running People), the non-profit agency founded by Micah True to preserve traditional Tarahumara culture. Norawas de Rarámuri works to provide maize, non-GMO seed corn, and cash awards for participating Tarahumara runners, both men and women alike. On this way, the organization offers Tarahumara families nutrition during drought and support for a tradition of small farms necessary to both physical and cultural survival.

For more information about the film, go to

The Milwaukee Running Group – OMG offers training runs every day except Friday with over 350 members of all abilities, who share motivations ranging from “staying healthy” to “training for marathons.” Most of the runs are held on the east side of town and are geared for all abilities, including beginners. The group also gets together for several social activities that do not involve running. For more information, go to

This is an event you won’t want to miss, MKE! Who already has tickets? We can’t wait to see the movie.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

We Heart Track Part Two: MKE Track Workouts

Last week, we featured tracks around the city where you can get your speedwork on. This week, we’re sharing a few local groups you can meet up with when you want to fly.

This summer, let’s get faster together, MKE!

Badgerland Striders Track Workout
Tuesdays @6:30pm
Hart Park, Wauwatosa
Details: The workout is led by Matt Thull from ThunderDome Running. Participants should be warmed up and ready to start by 6:30pm. During the late fall and winter months, workouts are held at the Pettit National Ice Center indoor track and are led by Angie Smith.

Greater Milwaukee Track Club
Dates vary
Marquette University Track
Details: The goal of the club is to encourage adult cross country and track & field participation. No performance standards to join. Members can attend group workouts that are typically held a few times per week at the Marquette outdoor track.

InStep – Delafield
Wednesdays @6pm
InStep, 615 Genesee Street, Delafield
Details: Runners meet at the store for a 10-minute warmup run to the track. Program runs May – October.

Milwaukee Running Group (OMG)
Tuesdays @6pm
Shorewood High School
Details: There are two separate groups – one for faster runners (6-10 min pace) and one for slower runners. The group is pretty informal and workout suggestions are always welcome.

Performance Running Outfitters
Thursdays @6:30pm thru August 13
Hart Park, Wauwatosa
Details: Participants should be warmed up and ready to start by 6:30pm. Workouts may include tempo runs, hill repeats, intervals and sprints. All abilities are welcome. Know your 5k race time to be put into groups.

We’re curious: Do you prefer to do speedwork alone or with a group?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Let’s Get to Know . . . Anne Coffman

Anne Coffman only started running three years ago, yet she’s already run more marathons than some who have been running for years.

Read on to learn how she got started in the sport, her involvement in the MKE running community and how she trained for last year’s MS Runs the US relay race – 220 miles over nine days!


Age:  43

Years running: 3 years

Favorite workout: Short but intense speed work sessions – it breaks up the long distance running.

Favorite distance to race: Half marathon – it is long enough to be challenging but short enough that training does not take up much time.

Favorite song to get pumped up pre-race: Hmm … nothing specific pre-race, but when I am nearing the end of a treadmill run, I always switch to Crazy Bitch for the last half mile. It never fails to make me pick up my pace.

Favorite post-race treat: Grilled cheese sandwich!!!

Must-have gear: In winter, my Brooks Utopia running jacket – it is the best I’ve found. In summer, anything by Lululemon.


How did you get started with running?

I got started when I was going to a PT conference in New Orleans and some of my PT colleagues posted online that they were doing the Rock N Roll Half Marathon the weekend of our conference. I figured if they could do it, I could too. That was my first half in February 2011. After I did another two half marathons, my son told me “Mom, that is pretty good but you could never do a full marathon”. Little did he know how his mom takes on a challenge! I did my first marathon in October 2012 and have done 12 since then.

What does a typical training week look like for you?

I usually run T/W/Th moderate distances or speed/hills. Saturday is long runs. I also lift weights 3x/week and cross train with boot camp style classes 1-2x/week.

You’re very involved in the running community. Can you tell us a bit about the organizations/groups you’ve worked with?

I first joined Badgerland Striders when I became interested in running and I spent my first summer doing their fun runs and Saturday build up runs. But when winter came, I was looking for a group that runs more regularly and discovered Milwaukee Running Group (OMG). The group has organized runs almost every day of the week, all year long, and it has been a much better fit for me than the Striders. I still am a Strider member – I moderate their Facebook page and love doing their races. But OMG has been more of a running community and social network for me, and we have a fantastic group of people who have connected through running.  On a more national level, I met a group of friends who are Marathon Maniacs – literally crazy runners who run races many times per month. They convinced me to join and do my three qualifying races in the fall of 2012. Maniacs (and the half marathon version called Half Fanatics) are a great social network, especially for those who like to travel to races. And like OMG, I have met some wonderful friends through the Maniacs.


Can you tell us a bit about your experience with MS Runs the US as well as how you trained to run your relay leg?

I applied to run MS Runs the US because Ashley Kumlien is a good friend and I am inspired by her passion and commitment to finding a cure for MS. She needed runners for the inaugural year and even though I had not even done my first marathon yet, she assured me I could do the distance. My week of running was late July, so I had already spent winter of 2013 training for a marathon in May. After that, I switched gears to building miles, lots of long runs. I ran 5x/week with my longest runs on Fri/Sat/Sun to get used to consecutive running days and built up to 70 miles/week. I did back-to-back marathons and a 35 mile run. Being a PT, I knew that training well would be crucial to making it through the MS Run week without getting injured. And after all that training, I did my first (and only) 50 mile race in September. I loved being part of MS Run the US but I don’t ever want to train to that level again!

Can you tell us a little more about Milwaukee Running Group?

OMG is an open group, organized through Meetup, and anyone can show up to run with us. It is only $5 to join (to cover the Meetup costs) and we have group runs most weeknights as well as Sat/Sun mornings. The group has a lot of social events also –Packer parties, brunch after group runs and a Christmas party. In terms of running, we do a lot of races together, and it is always fun to see fellow OMG runners on the course and afterwards. For me, signing up via Meetup keeps me accountable to showing up for the run – it keeps me from skipping out!

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with the Badgerland Striders?

I joined the Striders first, as they were the only group I knew of in Milwaukee. Striders are a more organized/structured group that puts on races and holds monthly meetings. I think they offer a great service to the local running community by putting on low-cost, top-quality races.

What are your favorite Milwaukee races and what do you like about them?

I like the Brewer Mini Marathon, the Rock and Sole Half Marathon and Lakefront Marathon. All those races have so many local friends, and it is fun to see everyone on the course. I like the Discovery Run because of the post party celebration – can’t beat that one!

What are your running goals for the upcoming year?

I am doing Boston for the first time in April so the winter will be spent training for that race. I am also doing Big Sur the weekend after Boston. After that, my schedule is open. I hope to do a little more traveling with my kids and fewer races this summer. But I am sure I will end up doing many local races just for fun.

Thanks for chatting with us, Anne! If you’re a runner in MKE, we’d love to chat with you. Send us an email at 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!

Running With a Group Makes The Winter Miles Less Lonely

Remember MKE, this weekend we turn back our clocks one hour. This means our morning runs will be a teensy bit lighter – for a short while. And our evenings run will be very dark.

Which makes now the perfect time to join a running group! For both safety and camaraderie, running with others is a great way to make your winter miles more pleasant. Fortunately, there are several to choose some in the MKE area – in fact, if you look hard enough, you’ll never have to log solo miles again.

Here are a few local run groups with regular meetups on our radar:

Milwaukee Running Group – This meetup group costs just $5 annually and hosts group runs nearly every day of the week. Runners of all abilities are welcome. The routes differ each week, including some trail running meetups. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit

Performance Running Outfitters – Both the Shorewood and Brookfield locations offer weekly group fun runs on Thursday evenings at 6pm. The groups run between 3-5 miles. All ages and paces are welcome. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit

1375815_10151888496477629_1023669780_nAfter a recent group run from the Shorewood store location

Sole Sister’s Club – This meet-up group is free to join and offers at least one group run each month. All women are welcome to join, regardless of age, race, color, creed or speed. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit

Black Girls Run – This national organization has a Milwaukee chapter that offers run meetups. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit

We Run This – This women’s only group offers group runs in varied locations around the city. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit

Fleet Feet – The Brookfield store offers free Tuesday evening and Saturday morning group runs. On Tuesday evenings, the group meets at 6 p.m. and runs 3-5 miles. On Saturday mornings, the group runs 3 miles at 8:45 a.m. All ages and paces are welcome. To learn more about upcoming group runs, visit

Tell us: Are there any groups in town that you like to run with? If it’s a group we missed, feel free to add it in the comments section!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!