For the second year in a row, Milwaukee is dedicating a full, fun weekend to running, with people of all ages and abilities getting a chance to see the city’s great neighborhoods and landmarks, compete in exciting events and party afterward in sweaty celebration, whether they completed a race or just cheered on those that did.
The PNC Milwaukee Running Festival will once again take over the town Nov. 5-6, and everyone from elite professional racers to novice recreational joggers and supportive fans is invited to take part in the unique weekend that showcases the city and allows people to experience it in a new, incredible way.
The world-class event, put on by the Milwaukee Running Festival nonprofit organization, aims to enhance civic pride and tourism, reflect our diverse culture and history and make the city a better place to live by boosting the local economy and giving back. The Festival brings together governmental agencies, community and charitable organizations, neighborhood groups, local businesses and the public for a safe, healthy and unforgettable event that includes a mile race, 5K race, half marathon and the marathon, which is a Boston Qualifier.
Utilizing the resources of an impressive organizational staff, dozens of local sponsors and lots of neighborhood volunteers, with a Wheelchair Division so that athletes with disabilities can participate, a corporate wellness program and a kids partnership with the area Boys & Girls Clubs, the Festival is truly a community event intent on improving Milwaukee for more than just one weekend.
New in 2016 are a series of parties – parties! – in more than a dozen locations, many that feature live music and refreshments, which will provide extra motivation for runners and engage the local neighborhoods. There will also be a Health & Fitness Expo with food, vendors and kids activities, the Finish Line Festival that caps it all off Sunday in beautiful Veterans Park and much more.
There's still time to register online or the day of the event.
Here is a Milwaukee Running Festival spectator guide, which includes course parties and race information. Now lace up your shoes and get going!
Mile 1 of the marathon and half marathon
Where: Colectivo Coffee – Lakefront Café, 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive.
When: 7 to 7:15 a.m.
Why: Wake up to the sounds of the Paradigm Drum Line and the taste of coffee!
Mile 5.5 of the marathon and half marathon
Where: Jack’s American Pub, 1323 E. Brady Street, and Rochambo Coffee and Tea House, 1317 E. Brady St.
When: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Why: Experience one of Milwaukee’s most unique neighborhoods. Enjoy Bloody Mary's, Irish coffee, tea and breakfast while listening to one of Milwaukee’s hottest bands – Negative/Positive. Plenty of room on the sidewalk for spectating.
Mile 6.5 of the marathon and half marathon
Where: Brewers Hill neighborhood, Corner of Commerce and Pleasant Streets
When: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Why: Live music by the Brewtown Brewgrass, fun signs and chalk art.
Mile 7.5 of the marathon and half marathon
Where: Milwaukee Brat House, 1013 N. Old World 3rd St.
When: 7:45 to 8:45 a.m.
Why: Beer, brats, brunch and live polka music.
Mile 8.6 of the marathon and half marathon
Where: Marquette University, Wisconsin Avenue between 13th and 16th Streets
When: 7:45 to 9 a.m.
Why: Join the Marquette students as they cheer on their running president and all of the runners. Various student clubs will be represented and the college radio station will be playing music. Free refreshments will be provided.
Mile 10 of the marathon
Where: Historic Concordia neighborhood, 35th and Wisconsin
When: 8 to 9:30 a.m.
Why: The Paradigm Drum Line from Mile 1 makes an encore performance here.
Miles 12-14 of the marathon
Where: Sherman Boulevard from Lisbon to Burleigh
When: 8:15 to 10:30 a.m.
Why: This will have a neighborhood festival atmosphere up and down the boulevard. Washington High School students will be out volunteering and cheering, the Rufus King High School drum line will be performing, and several neighborhood groups will be participating. Since runners go up and down the boulevard, this will be a primo spot for spectating.
Mile 15.5 of the marathon
Where: Washington Heights neighborhood, Washington Boulevard from 47th to 54th Streets
When: 8:30 to 10:45 a.m.
Why: Live music, vendors from the neighborhood, and a chance to watch the runners sprint past the Mayor’s house.
Mile 17 of the marathon
Where: Miller Brewery, 4251 W. State St.
When: 8:45 to 11 a.m.
Why: Visit our "celebration station" where you can sample one of Miller’s finest adult beverages (21 and over). This is Milwaukee, after all.
Mile 19.5 of the marathon
Where: Urban Ecology Center, Hank Aaron State Trail and Canal Street
When: 9 a.m. to noon.
Why: Watch the runners before they head into the final 10K at our mile 19.5 aid station hosted by charity partners Team Red, White & Blue. Lots of room to spectate along the Hank Aaron Trail.
Mile 22 of the marathon and Mile 9 of the half marathon
Where: Great Lakes Distillery, 616 W. Virginia St.
When: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Why: Creative artisan distillery drinks and jammin’ beats from DJ Shawna and 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s Marcus Doucette will liven up this prime corner location.
Mile 23 of the marathon and Mile 10 of the half marathon
Where: Radio Milwaukee/Stone Creek Coffee, 220 E. Pittsburgh Ave.
When: 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Why: Great patio location, plenty of music to pump up the runners and coffee to pump up spectators.
Mile 24.5 of the marathon and Mile 11.4 of the half marathon
Where: Lakeshore State Park, 500 N. Harbor Dr.
When: 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Why: Experience the incredible views of Lake Michigan from this island park. The OMG Milwaukee Running Group will be blasting out some music and providing the runners with a much-needed push as they make their way to the finish line.
Finish Line Festival
Where: Veterans Park, 1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.
When: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Why: You’ve made it to the finish, now it’s time to celebrate! Enjoy a beer from Miller Coors, chocolate milk courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Gatorade, snacks and water from Meijer, lunch from one of Milwaukee’s finest food trucks, and a host of other activities for kids and adults.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.