Race It: Hank Aaron State Trail 5k Run/Walk + Race Entry Giveaway!

The Hank Aaron State Trail is one of the most popular places to run in MKE. So why not celebrate one of our favorite routes by running this year’s Hank Aaron State Trail 5k Run/Walk?

Laura Mueller and the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail want you to join in the fun this year. Read on to learn more about this year’s race, including course tips, prizes, participant perks and more!

For race specifics, view our Featured Races page.

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Can you tell us a bit about the history of the Hank Aaron State Trail 5k Run/Walk?
This is the 16th 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 the great 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 four times over the 15 years.

What makes the race different/unique?
This isn’t your average 5k! 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, and through Three Bridges Park.

It’s also a very fun atmosphere at the start / finish area – Milwaukee’s own De La Buena plays their world music before and after the race, and Ted Perry (FOX 6) is our emcee!

Also – every 44th finisher wins a prize to commemorate Hank Aaron’s baseball uniform number.

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Is there anything new or different happening at this year’s race?
The Run/Walk route winds through the newly opened Three Bridges Park, crossing the Menomonee River two times! Click here for the 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.

FOHAST run prairie

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 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 Trek 820 Bike donated by Wheel & Sprocket, a 2014 autographed Green Bay Packers football, concert tickets for the Pabst Theater, and more!

Can you tell us a bit about how the race will benefit the trail?
Proceeds raised from this event are used for enhancements along the Trail, and youth bike camps for those living in the communities along the Trail. Over 500 kids between the ages of 10-14 have benefitted from these camps, which teach bike safety and encourage active lifestyles and discovery along the Trail.

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 to 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/HankAaronTrail
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HankAaronTrail

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 a free race entry, tell us in the comments section:

Where is your favorite place to run in MKE?

Best of luck to all who enter. We’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, August 4.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

*Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize by emailing keeprunningmke@gmail.com. If the prize is not claimed within that time frame, we will select a new winner.

We Heart Track Part One: Places to Run in MKE

It’s that time of year when, no matter what distance you’re training for, you likely have speedwork on the docket. Fortunately for MKE runners, there’s no shortage of tracks in the area.

We recently asked about your favorite local tracks on Facebook. Here’s our round-up, including notes and recommendations from runners who regularly run at the facilities! Unless noted, the tracks are free to use.

Brown Deer High School
8060 N. 60th Street, Brown Deer
Notes: Restrooms next to the track are usually unlocked during the spring and summer. Easy access to neighborhood roads for warmup and cooldown miles.

Hart Park
7300 Chestnut Street, Wauwatosa
http://www.wauwatosa.net/Facilities/Facility/Details/4
Notes: Bathrooms and a water fountain are available as well as easy access to paved paths outside the track facility.

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Marquette University
Shimek Track & Field
1818 W. Canal Street
http://www.gomarquette.com/facilities/shimek.html

Menomonee Falls High School
W142 N8101 Merrimac Drive, Menomonee Falls

Nicolet High School
6701 N. Jean Nicolet Road, Glendale

Oak Creek High School
340 E. Puetz Road, Oak Creek
Notes: Only open to the public on Saturday mornings from 7-11am.

Pettit National Ice Center
500 S. 84th Street, Milwaukee
http://thepettit.com/sports/run-walk-track/
Cost: $4 for single admission/day pass; $2 for Badgerland Strider members
Notes: Bathrooms, water fountain, vending machines, showers and locker rooms are available.

Pettit National Ice Center TrackPhoto by Bill Flaws – Running in the USA

Pulaski High School
2500 West, W. Oklahoma Avenue, Milwaukee

Riverside High School
1615 E. Locust Street, Milwaukee
Notes: A water fountain is located about a quarter mile away from the track at the Urban Ecology Center.

Riverside High School TrackPhoto by Sheila Wordell (she’s also the runner in the pic!)

Shorewood High School
1701 E. Capitol Drive, Shorewood
Notes: Port-a-potties located around the track for public use.

University of Wisconsin – Parkside
900 Wood Road, Kenosha

Waukesha South High School
401 E. Roberta Avenue, Waukesha, WI

Whitefish Bay High School
1200 E. Fairmount Avenue, Whitefish Bay
Notes: Water fountain located next to the track. Easy access to neighborhood roads for warmup and cooldown miles.

Know of a local track we should add to our list? Tell us about it in the comments section!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Race It: Lake Michigan Trail Marathon

Get excited, MKE – we’re just a few days away from the inaugural Lake Michigan Trail Marathon!

Below, Race Director Chris Ponteri tells us a bit about the distance options and what to expect on the course.

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Can you tell us a bit about the Lake Michigan Trail Marathon? How did you come up with the idea for the race?
The Oak Leaf Trail along the south shore of Lake Michigan is one of my favorite places to run. One day I discovered some of the dirt trails that connect the Oak Leaf to the wooded areas of both Grant and Warnimont Parks and thought it would make a good course for a long race.

What makes this race different/unique?
The varying types of terrain – paved surfaces, dirt, sandy beach, brick and grass all in one race.

Can you tell us about the different distance options?
We have a 50k, marathon and half marathon distance. We also have a 20-miler, but it is not a timed race; it’s more of a long training run for those who want to be a part of the race.

From what we’ve read, the course seems challenging – is a PR possible for runners?
I don’t think I would describe it as challenging; there are very few hills. It is definitely not a fast course since about a mile is on the beach, but not overly difficult either.

*After we interviewed Chris, it was announced the beach portion may not be used within the race courses. From a recent email: “Due to high-water levels, the beach portion of the course will likely not be used. There will be an alternate route heading north in Grant Park that will include both road and trail. We apologize for the late change, but the Lake Michigan water levels are as high as they have been in over a decade. The alternate route will make the course slightly easier (no running in the sand!) but not quite as scenic.”

Do runners need to bring their own hydration or are there water stations along the course?
We will have plenty of aid stations, usually not more than 2 to 2.5 miles apart.

Will overall and/or age group prizes be awarded?
Yes, we have prizes for the top 3 male and female overall finishers in each race (excluding the 20-miler) and also age group awards.

What do participants get with their race entry?
They get a nice tech shirt, a high-quality reusable race bag, and food after the race.

What goals do you have for the race in upcoming years? Any plans to add a shorter distance like a 5k or 10k?
Everything’s on the table! First-year races are a grand experiment. We could add distances next year or even take away.

If you could have anyone come run the Lake Michigan Trail Marathon, who would you invite and why?
I would invite Ben Gibbard (lead singer for Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service) to join us and then play a post-race concert. I know he has done some marathons and maybe even a trail 50k.

Thanks for chatting with us, Chris! There’s still time to get in on the action – race-day registration is available for all race distances. Will we see you on Sunday? 🙂

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Explore MKE With City Running Tours!

Now there’s a way to learn about our great city while also getting your run on.

Whether you’re looking for a guided route, a running partner or simply a change of pace, City Running Tours is the place to find it. Below, Tim Cigelske – aka The Beer Runner – tells us a bit about this brand-new Milwaukee business.

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For people who are unfamiliar with City Running Tours, can you talk a bit about the business and what it offers?
The name basically says it all. Lots of cities offer walking tours, biking tours, bus tours or boat tours. This one just happens to involve running while sightseeing. City Running Tours has been around for nine years, and is now in 16 cities coast to coast, from San Francisco to Washington, DC.

How did you get the idea to bring City Running Tours to MKE?
I heard about City Running Tours when it first launched in New York, and I was one of its first customers when it came to Chicago. I’ve always had the idea of bringing it to Milwaukee in the back of my mind. I recently reconnected again with the owner over Twitter, and that spawned a conversation about launching the Milwaukee chapter. We now have multiple tour guides from the Milwaukee running community.

Who do you see using this type of service?
Obviously, this is a good way for tourists, conference attendees or business travelers to see a different side of the city when they’re traveling. But it’s also a way to learn a lot about your own backyard. I’ve lived in Milwaukee for nearly 15 years but learned new facts while prepping for the Milwaukee History Tour and the Brew City Heritage Tour. You see the city with new eyes and appreciate the story behind things like the duck statue on Wisconsin Avenue or how a park got its name, which you may otherwise pass by without noticing.

Do you see running while away from home as intimidating for people? If so, what are the hurdles and how can City Running Tours help make running while traveling easier?
Definitely. I used to work at a hotel and guests always came to me to find running paths or runner-friendly routes. But it’s still easy to get lost and turned around, or you’re too wrapped up in paying attention to where you’re going to appreciate your new surroundings. So this way you have a guide that takes care of devising your routes and showcasing the city while getting in your workout.

Why might even MKE natives want to try a service like City Running Tours?
To add to my previous answer, running tours are also good for group outings and get-togethers. You could tie into a bachelor or bachelorette party, workplace outing or happy hour for tours that end at the beer garden or Sprecher Brewery. You and your friends get to earn your beer.

Can you tell us a bit about the Group Running Tours? How did you select the routes? What should participants expect concerning paces, etc?
I started using my own favorite routes after nearly 15 years of running around Milwaukee. I use running to explore places myself. Based on popular tours in other cities, the beer and history tours were a no-brainer. I also wanted to showcase our lakefront and the totally underrated river trails. We cater to any jogging pace and offer multiple tour guides for larger groups. I’m always open to new tour ideas if anyone has them for me!

What should people know about the Personalized Running Tours?
It’s like having your own personal running coach, if your coach happens to share interesting tidbits about the city while running. A guide meets you and leads you 1-on-1 on a tour personalized for you. This is a popular option for business travelers or those on a schedule who want to customize their distance, pace and location.

Can you tell us a bit about the corporate and social sightrunning options?
The corporate events provide the customization that the personal tours offer, but on a larger scale. Conferences or business outings can choose their themes, days, starting times, etc and have multiple tour guides host them.

How can people connect with City Running Tours?
All of the place! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and I’m also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as @TheBeerRunner.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Tim! City Running Tours sounds like a great addition to the city and we look forward to trying one of the tours!

MKE runners: What is your favorite route to run in MKE?

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

A New Course For This Year’s Hank Aaron State Trail 5k + A Race Entry Giveaway!

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?

Below, Laura Mueller and the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail tell us a bit about this year’s race, including details about the new course that winds through Three Bridges Park!

For details about the race, please visit our Featured Races page.

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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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Kristine Hinrichs

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.

FOHAST run prairiePhoto by Kristine Hinrichs

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:

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!

Lake Michigan Trail Marathon Will Offer Two Course Runs

Mark your calendars, MKE – the Lake Michigan Trail Marathon is hosting two course runs in the upcoming weeks. This is your chance to get familiar with the race course and also enjoy some time with your fellow runners!

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Here are the details for meetups:

Dates: Saturday, July 12 and Saturday, August 9

Time: 7 am

Location: Sheridan Drive, in front of the Patrick Cudahy statue

Details: Participants can choose between two options: the south loop, which is about 9.5 miles and the entire course, which is about 15.5 miles. Both courses will be marked and there will be water and sports drink at the start, 9,5 mile mark and the finish. Runners are encouraged to bring their own beverages for during the run. A course leader will run with the group, around a 9:00-9:30 min/mile pace.

For more information about the Lake Michigan Trail Marathon or the upcoming course runs, visit www.lakemichiganmarathon.com.

That’s it for today – We look forward to seeing you at the course runs!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

Seen on the Run – Whitnall Park Edition

Recovery miles are meant for taking your time and enjoying the ride. This time, we took a lap around Whitnall Park to enjoy the crisp fall air and the beautiful – still green – park sights.

Here are a few things we saw:

photo(7)Welcome to Whitnall Park!

photo(2)First, let’s tackle the hill to the Botanical Gardens . . .

photo(6)Remember, after making it to the top of the hill, you get to run down!

photo(5)A mini waterfall seems like the perfect spot for a quick break

photo(4)Choose your own adventure

photo(6)The road stretches on and on and on

photoIt’s hard to see in this pic, but a family of geese were enjoying the day!

photo(3)What a beautiful, picturesque route!

What have you seen on the run lately? Tell us in the comments or share a pic on our Facebook page!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!