Monday, October 19, 2009

E-mail sent to runners on October 15, 2009

LFM 2009 is now history. For 29 years, the Badgerland Striders Running Club’s Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon has welcomed marathon runners to the finish at Veteran’s Park from our start at Grafton High School.

I am sure that by now most of you have heard or read about the events surrounding our female winners. In my ten years as Race Director I have done my best to ensure that you – the runners – have been informed of important race-related events and issues. This year is no different. Hence, this very long e-mail summarizing the events and rules that governed the decisions.

The Lakefront Marathon is a race sanctioned by USA Track & Field (USATF). This sanction has many dimensions for us and for the runners. For example, it is USATF that provides standards for certification of race courses – this ensures that you are running the correct distance and that your performances are accepted as qualifiers for other races, most notably the Boston Marathon. USATF has extensive rules for the conduct of long distance races, many of which apply to our race as the USATF State Championship, one that provides prize money and a sanctioned race. What many people don’t know is that in the case of a championship race or one that involves prize money there are really two races going on at the same time – the one for the Open/prize money or Championship awards and one for what might be termed “citizen” runners. In some cases the rules are different for each race. In general, however, the Rules of Competition were formulated by USATF to ensure a level playing field for each race and to ensure that the race(s) are conducted in a safe manner.

I will briefly summarize the process used for addressing potential rule violations. In our case, it is the responsibility of our race management leadership to bring potential issues to my attention. Potential violations can also be identified by other competitors. It is then my responsibility to bring the issue to the attention of our USATF Official – someone who is an expert in the USATF Rules and their application. Once that official makes a determination, the runner involved has the option of appealing the decision to a Jury of Appeals who makes the ultimate decision. It is important to note that there is no mechanism in road racing to allow a time to stand but to be “qualified” by an asterisk indicating that the competitor was not eligible for awards or a provision to apply a time penalty.

In the case of Cassie Peller, a race official indicated that they had observed a vehicle stop halfway between the (approx) 21 and 23 mile aid stations, a woman got out of the vehicle, and then ran with her for some distance providing fluids to her as she continued running down the course. This appeared to be a clear violation of the rule that prohibits receiving aid outside of the immediate vicinity of an aid station. It is important to emphasize that it is not a violation of the rules to take water from a child or citizen aid station so long as that aid is available to any runner who might run by. In this case the aid was for a specific competitor and by any definition outside of the vicinity of an aid station.

Ms.Peller was informed of the investigation of the potential rule violation and did not dispute it. She was then disqualified by the USATF Official and informed of the decision. As Ms. Peller indicated at that time that she would not appeal the decision, Jennifer Goebel was declared the Female Open winner at that time. Ms. Peller, however, subsequently appealed the decision; and the issue was considered by the Jury of Appeals - who sustained the official’s decision.

The case of Ms. Goebel involved the use of an iPod (portable listening device). Many of you will recall all of the discussion concerning this issue in 2008. At that time their use was prohibited for ALL competitors in USATF sanctioned races. This was a rule that I personally opposed and wrote to USATF to support a change that would allow the race to make the decision. In December, 2008 USATF modified the rule - the race now has the authority to allow runners who are not competing for Open/prize money awards or for USATF championship awards to use them. For 2009, the race committee changed the rules to allow them for “citizen” runners (long before Grandmas and Twin Cities made similar changes). This rule, however, still applies to the elite runners competing in the Open/prize money or Championship race and is well-understood by the people to whom it applies.

Some members of the running community identified a photo of Ms. Goebel at approximately the 24 mile mark showing her to be wearing a “portable listening device”. This photo was reported to me, I was compelled to refer the matter to the USATF Official, and informed her of that referral. Again, the official considered the matter and decided that she should be disqualified. I communicated the decision to her and she appealed it. The Jury of Appeals then considered her appeal and sustained the decision of the Official.

Corina Canitz has been named the female open winner and the results declared official.

As we move forward from the 2009 race, it IS important to emphasize that I have the upmost respect for the talent of both of these young women and respect their decisions to move on. I have told them both that they will always be welcome at our race, should they decide to compete here again. As we move on with our planning for 2010 we understand that every experience in life is a learning experience and will learn from this.

Speaking of 2010, we hope that you will all join us in celebrating our 30th anniversary on Sunday October 3, 2010. We will welcome our 35,000th marathoner to the finish at Veteran’s Park – and it might just be you! We will open registration early next year – and let you know via this e-mail newsletter.

As always, we thank you all for your support of our race.

Kri s & the Race Committee

Friday, September 25, 2009

Get Your Seat to Enjoy 26.2

That is - someone else's 26.2 miles - yep a whole marathon! We're inviting neighbors and friends to walk on down to the course - just head to the lake - to cheer the runners on. Some good spots include:

Lake Drive through Whitefish Bay, Shorewood and Milwaukee (to Kenwood) - be sure to watch for traffic and stay on the east side of the street.

The BEST spots are along Lincoln Memorial Drive south to Lagoon Drive - the runners REALLY need your help here.

Stop by the Bradford Beach House and be part of our "24 Mile Club" or grab a cup of coffee at Alterra on the Lake and cross the street.

Monday, June 8, 2009

June LFM News

It is hard to believe that it is June already! WOW - you amazed all of us by your support for our 2009 race - we filled on May 19 - three weeks ahead of last year - amazing!!!

I'd like to announce an exciting program put together by our sponsor, In-Step Running and Walking Center. They have put a seminar series together at their Third Ward store to help you prepare to run the best LFM ever and do it without injury or problems. The first session is on June 25th and is free of charge to LFM registrants - $5 for everyone else. Take a look at this flyer for more information on the series as a whole and the first session-

Also - don't forget the Pasta Dinner sponsored by the American Cancer Society -

I'd also like to clue you in to a GREAT improvement to the last mile or so of our course. Even though we know that many of you really have enjoyed all of the zig zagging along the marina and running over the grass and down the curb, we will be making a change in that part of the course. Although all of the details have not been finialized, you can be sure that the course will cross Lagoon Drive at Lincoln Memorial Drive - Yippie!!

The course change is possible because we have made an IMPORTANT CHANGE IN THE LOCATION OF THE RUNNER PARKING. There will be NO parking off of Lagoon Drive. Instead, we will provide free runner parking in the O'Donnell Park parking structure on the corner of Lincoln Memorial Drive and Michigan Street - this is south of the finish area. This free parking is available for runners taking the bus to the start ONLY. The buses will load from this area as well.

As the summer goes on, some of you will (alas) get injured or have things come up that will prevent your participation. If that happens, you are welcome to come to the expo to get your shirt or authorize a friend to get it. However, please don't ask to transfer your entry to another runner or another year - we don't allow that. Also - and this is really important - do not give your number to someone else to wear. First - it is unsafe - how would you like us to call YOUR family if that runner went to the hospital? Second, that runner will be DQ'd and you will BOTH be barred from participation in future LFM's. As much as we hate to do that, we had to DQ and bar several people in 2008 and will do so again in 2009, if we need to.

Finally, we are working on the bringing you another great health and fitness expo - same great site, MSOE's Kern Center. If you do business with someone who you think would benefit by exposure to all of our great runners, let us know and we will contact them. Also - let them know that YOU think that it would be a good idea for them to participate. We are also trying to increase the number of goodies provided to our runners - maybe you know of a business that has a nice product that they could provide as a sample or an advertising specialty. In either case, have them contact me in the usual way -

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Entries for 2009 Race

We know that there are many people who were disappointed when they did not register for the 2009 before we filled. There is ONE last chance for two lucky and generous runners. Every year we provide two entries to the Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail (FOHAST) for use in raising funds for their kids programs. For those not familiar with the trail, it runs from the Milwaukee lakefront west through the Valley. Many of the kids in the adjacent neighborhoods have no concept of the world beyond their block or immediate neighborhood - they have never been fishing, never seen Lake Michigan just a few miles away, and have never enjoyed nature like most of us can. This is a good organization with good programs that need our support. FOHAST is a bonafide charitable organization.

This year the two entries will be made available for a donation of $250 each according to the following protocol:

Interested runners are to send an e-mail to FOHAST - - indicating their interest and that they are prepared to make the $250 donation.

E-mails will be accepted until noon CDT on Monday June 15.

Each e-mail will be assigned a number that will be used for a random selection.

The first two people selected will be contacted via e-mail and directed to send their $250 check to FOHAST. As soon as the checks have cleared, the entry form will be mailed to the runner. The runner then submits the entry to LFM.

If either of the selected runners fails to follow-through, FOHAST will go down the list in the order randomly designated until both entries have been distributed.

PLEASE do not contact LFM directly about the status of your e-mail.

It is also important to note that these are the ONLY legal entries avialable. We do not allow the transfer of entries from one runner to another, do not set them aside for other charities, and can not increase our field. If you hear of a runner trying to "sell" their number, please report this - we are serious enough about this issue that several people were DQ'd for this offense in 2008 and both the registering runner and participating runner were barred from participation in LFM this year.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

More Great News for LFM Runners!

First - I understand that some of you have had trouble with the link to our hotel block at the Hyatt. We are correcting it on our site but here is the correct one...

Now that we have that straight...If you have already registered for the race, great for you! 2009 will be a great marathon year here in Milwaukee. If you have not registered, there IS still time but know that we are filling somewhat faster than 2008 when we sold out the first week of June. At this rate, we will sell out in May. Remember that registration totals are posted on our web site so you can always see where we are with the limit. I do need to emphasize that the last 500 spaces go VERY quickly. If you are sure that you want to run in 2009, don't wait too long.

In terms of our 2009 race plans, I have already posted information about our new pace teams - you asked for pace teams and we have found a way to provide it without taking our attention from the important elements of the race.

Over the years many of our runners have used LFM to raise money for a variety of charities. In support of these efforts, in 2008 we set up our Charity Page in the "Pre-Race" tab on the LFM website. This allows you to tell everyone about your fund raising and the charities that you will support with your run - also what that charity means to you. We will continue with our charity page in 2009 and hope that you let us all know about your fund raising plans.

As an extension of our charity support, I am now very happy to announce a partnership with the American Cancer Society (ACS) for 2009. We have designated them as
an official LFM charity and encourage you to review the information about their program that is posted on the Charity Page. If you are interested in more information about this program, I encourage you to contact Amber Flanagan at

A key part of this new relationship will be the LFM/American Cancer Society Pasta Dinner - yep - a pasta dinner! Many of you know that we have not provided this in the past due to limitations on managerial and volunteer resources. A pasta dinner is an established part of the ACS charity program and they have agreed to open the dinner to ALL runners and their families and friends. We will provide details on location, cost and ticket purchase as ACS finalizes the details.

We hope that you are as excited as we are with the debut of pace teams and the pasta dinner - we are listening to you!

Stay tuned for more exciting details on 2009 race plans and on special planning already underway for our 30th anniversary in 2010.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions concerning the race.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We need to let everyone know that the LFM relay sold out on March 14th. No on-line entries were accepted after we reached our limit. To be fair to those who mail their entries, we will accept all entries post-marked on the March 14 closing date. We do appreciate the support of all of those who have registered and hope that those who did not get in will put us on their 2010 calendar - October 3, 2010.

The marathon is about 25% full. If you are on the fence, you still do have time to decide on your plans for 2009. Note that we do post the number of registrations on our web site so that you can have an idea as to the entry totals at any given day. That said, you do need to realize that those last 500 spots go VERY quickly - people on the fence making their decision - so be careful when registrations get to that point.

We so appreciate the support that our runners show for LFM every year. We hope that you will be happy with your choice to run our race in 2009.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pace Teams for 2009

I told you to stay tuned... In our post-race survey many of you told us that you'd really like us to add pace teams. In fact, many of you said that you'd even be happy to see an increase in the registration fee to cover the cost of bringing in someone to organize this professionally.

I am sure that many of you will be happy to hear that we have been able to arrange for pace teams for the 2009 race.
We have retained an experienced pace team provider to organize this in 2009 to ensure that runners using the teams will have pace leaders who can "deliver" (just like our USPS sponsor :)). We will have pace teams spanning finish times from 3:20 to 5:00 hours. Details will be posted on our web site in a few days - so take a look!

If you are an experienced pacer, stay tuned for information about serving as a pacer, too.

Oh - BTW - we did not increase the registration fee for 2009 to accommodate this cost (as we were not sure we could make it happen) but will probably have to do so in 2010.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Registration Update

It is great to see that so many of you have registered in this first week. At this rate, we will fill sooner than last year!

For those already looking for race details, note that we have updated almost all elements of the web site - or at least those that we can at this point. I will up-date the Rules section soon. The site contains reservation links to our co-host hotels - the Hyatt and Courtyard by Marriott. You might note that the Charity Page is pretty empty. We invite any of you running for a specific charity to send me an e-mail - with the link and with a paragraph about why you are running for tha group and what it means to you. We'll post these again this year.

As always, feel free to e-mail us directly at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Registration Opens January 29th

Registration for the 2009 Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon and THREE person Relay will open on Thursday January 29th. Our 29th anniversary race will be held on Sunday October 4, 2009. Please follow the link on our web site for on-line registration.

Note that - in light of current economic conditions - we have not increased the registration fee for the marathon in 2009.

You will note that we have changed the relay to a three-person event beginning in 2009. This was done to enhance safety on the course by removing the relay exchange that was at approximately 11 miles. Parking issues and traffic congestion in this area presented potential hazards to the runners, volunteers and the public. Relay legs will approximate 7, 12, and 7 miles. In recognition of this change and after considering runner comments from 2008, relay runners will now also receive a long-sleeve Race Ready technical shirt. The registration fee for the relay was set in recognition of this additional cost - and value to participants.

Many of you have e-mailed and asked about our position on Mp3 players for the 2009 race. You may know that USATF changed the rule in December to provide greater flexibility for local race committees. Runners competing for prize money and for USATF awards will be prohibited from using Mp3 players. Other runners are cautioned to consider the potential safety issues presented by their use but will be allowed to use them.
If you decide to use them, please make sure that the volume is low enough for you to hear what is going on around you - for your own safety and that of other runners. We will closely monitor the course - runners who fail to heed the direction of race officials WILL be disqualified.

Last year many runners asked that we provide pace teams. We do expect to do this in 2009 - but we are still investigating our options. Stay tuned.

We are also very excited to report that the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon was named the Road Runners Club of America 2008 Road Race of the Year!!! This is a testament to the work of more than 1500 volunteers, the support of the Badgerland Stirders Running Club, and to the hospitality of our host communities. It is rare for a race this size to be managed and run entirely by volunteers - we think that you all see the difference.

We will be updating the web site as we finialize race details. In the interim, check back here for my quick up-dates.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the Finish Line on October 4th