Photo by Focal Flame Photographer Josh Zytkiewicz
It seemed like spring would never come this year. Even the weather experts agreed - 2011 has marked one of the coldest springs on record for south-central Wisconsin, complete with April snow and a somewhat maddening one-step-forward, two-steps-back trickle of sunlight and warmth.
Even the night before the Lake Monona 20K running race, it seemed as if it would be a cold and damp affair. But instead, the forecasts were wrong, the rain held off, and runners enjoyed a beautiful race alongside the shores of Lake Monona. "This makes three years of good weather following two years of not-so-good weather," said Ryan Griessmeyer, owner of Race Day Events, LLC.
In all, 692 runners completed the 20 km course and 152 runners enjoyed the 5 km event, which was new for 2011. "The response about the 5K course was that it really was GREAT," said Griessmeyer. "We heard from a number of spouses that the addition of the 5k was a good idea so they could participate while the spouse was doing the 20k, and we also had about 40 kids ages 8-12 from the Cambridge Activities Program that participated and loved it," he added. Focal Flame photographer Clint Thayer agreed. "The kids all looked like they had fun - giving high fives to each other as they crossed the finish line, and hamming it up for the camera." As always, Thayer was honored to photograph the runners. "I really enjoy seeing everyone rejoice in finishing their own race for their own reasons," he said.
The Lake Monona 20K is the only race in the area that uses age/sex graded scoring, which is a way of tabulating race results that takes participant age into account so performance can be compared across different age groups. More information on age graded scoring is available here.
Winners of the men's division of the 20 km route and 5 km route were both Madison residents and both employees of Movin' Shoes, a running shoe store. Corey Hayden ran the 20 km race in 1:05:59 and Matthew Giesfeldt sped through the 5 km in 16:18. Top female racers were Wendy Miller, finishing the 20 km course in 1:22:02, and Zoe Knops, who sped through the 5 km in 22:43. Full race results provided by Sports Management Associates, Inc. are available here.
When asked about improvements planned for next year's Lake Monona 20 km race, Griessmeyer mentioned an increase in the 5 km field, cash purse for the overall winners, and increased local sponsorship and event awareness. Lauren Waterson of Race Day Events was also keen on increasing the popularity of the race. "I talked to a few people who had suggestions....but I'd like to hear more about what people liked and didn't like about the race." Have feedback? Make sure you tell Race Day Events staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The event wrapped up with food provided by Quaker Steak and Lube, award-winning beer from Capital Brewery, and live music from Madison's own Mighty Short Bus. And the rain even held off for the entire post-race party, as well.
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