Monday November 15, 2010
Over the last six weeks we have been winding down from the 2010 marathon, taking care of post-race runner questions, and beginning to plan for 2011 (though that actually began quite a bit before the 2010 race…). We really appreciate the time that many of you took to respond to the post-race survey. We look at every single comment to find ways to improve our race – more than 700 of you provided at least one comment and many of you commented on several questions – that is a LOT of input. We were very pleased with your overall rating – 99.6% of you said that you’d recommend the race to a friend. All I can say is WOW and THANKS for your continued support! I do hope that you noticed that our survey company, Events Response, removed the ads on their “landing page” this year. When we explained that we are not really a commercial endeavor, they agreed to do that – thanks so much to them for that!
As we begin planning for our October 2, 2011 race, we’d like to make you aware of a couple of significant changes in the race and a couple of other things that we have in mind based upon your comments.
Relay and Marathon Entry Limit – After much thought and discussion over the last several years, we have decided that we will no longer offer a relay as part of the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. Since the inception of our race in 1981, our race staff and the Badgerland Striders have focused on the marathon as our primary mission and on making this the best marathon experience that we can. The relay was added many years ago as a secondary event to support the marathon. We have simply gotten to the point where the effort and resources required to maintain the relay are taking away from the marathon. The relay is the equivalent of 100 marathoners - for whom we have a separate busing strategy, have very significant spectator management issues, and accounts for a vastly disproportionate number of questions and issues. Importantly, our post-race survey shows that the relay runners want MORE from us - medals, immediate bus service to the finish and between exchange points, accurate timing of their splits, treatment equal to what we provide the marathoners, etc. We simply are not in a position to meet those expectations. We also received many marathoner comments about the relay - that they believe that it detracts from their experience and that we should drop the relay and simply increase the marathon entry limit. That is exactly what we will do. We will increase our entry limit by 300 to 3050 in 2011 and focus entirely on the marathon. We know that some people will be disappointed but hope that you all understand that we believe that this decision is in the best interest of the race and ask your support.
Start Time – Since the heat in 2007, we have discussed a change in our start time from the current 8:00 to 7:30 - and will implement that change in 2011. We believe that this will provide for a safer race should we experience the temperatures we experienced in 2007 and that Chicago experienced in 2007 and 2010. We also believe that this will reduce race-related access issues with homeowners and businesses on our race course.
Registration and Fees - For those planning ahead…we expect to open registration for 2011 in late January – we will let you know (in January) when we set the exact date. The 2011 race fee has been set at $75 and will include the on-line registration fee. Registration will be on-line only – we will not be processing paper race forms. And, for those REALLY planning ahead the date for 2012 is October 7.
Race Shirts – We received such great feedback on our 2010 shirts and happy to report that 2010 designer Mike Kasun has agreed to return to design our 2011 shirt. We’re still thinking about color choices… Back to the survey…Events Response tells us that we have a higher proportion of female racers than other marathons and many of you have requested gender-specific race shirts. Therefore, in 2011 we have decided to make the plunge to offer both male and female sizing in our race shirts. Do I hear a “Yippee” from the ladies?
Finish Area Food – We had a lot of comments from people about the food lines and the quality of the food at the Finish. We will figure out a better way to feed you at the end. What we’d really like to do is to find good sources of pre-packaged items that can be bagged and handed to you in the runners' corral. Believe it or not, it is hard to get 2000+ items when we ask. This is where you can help – please let us know if you know of a good source of pre-packaged items – cheese, dried fruit, salty stuff, meat snacks, etc. One of the runners said in their comments “Tell us what we can do to help.” Well…we could use your help on this. And…we really ARE working on the chocolate milk thing.
The Train – Several of you commented on the train delay. Ever since the front runners were delayed by a train more than 25 years ago, we have gone to great lengths to ensure that things like that don’t happen. We contact the railroad several times, double check with them, and promise them sweatshirts… The railroad person in charge was very embarrassed by this glitch and promises that it won’t happen again…we’ll also triple check on this next year.
We still have a good selection of the navy blue ¼ zip Finisher shirts, though availability of Women’s Medium is limited. You can order them using the form on the web site . We also have a few 2010 black runner shirts (no women’s XS or S) – the form to order those is also on the web site. And...for those who liked the 2009 shirt we do have some of them available for sale as well.
This is probably enough news for one e-blast… Have a great holiday season, stay safe on the roads, and thank you all so much for your support!