Madison Marathon Athlete Profile: Joe Kilkus

Madison runner Joe Kilkus at the 2013 Lake Monona 20K race. Photo (c) 2013 Focal Flame Photography Photo credit: Clint Thayer

Madison runner Joe Kilkus at the 2013 Lake Monona 20K race. Photo (c) 2013 Focal Flame Photography Photo credit: Clint Thayer

Wondering who is in contention to win the 2014 Madison Half-Marathon on May 25? Joe Kilkus (25) of Madison, Wisconsin is a runner to watch as he seeks to repeat his win from 2013. Kilkus used the 2011 Spring Madison Half Marathon to "test the waters" for his first full marathon in the fall. He loved kicking off his spring training with this event so much that he ran it again in 2012 and raced to victory in 2013. Focal Flame Photography, the official event photography service provider for the 2014 Madison Marathon events, asked him about why he runs.

Q&A with Madison, WI runner Joe Kilkus

Focal Flame Photography: What does running and participating in events such as the Madison Marathon mean to you?

Kilkus: Running means a lot to me.  I really enjoy being able to just throw on a pair of shoes and forget about everything but running for an hour or so.  I was the slowest guy on my college team as a freshman, and every year after that I kept improving so I started to love running more and more.  By my senior year I was finishing in the middle of the pack for most races. I guess I wasn't ready to be done competing.  Participating in events like the Madison half marathon is how I continue to compete not only against others but also against myself.

FFP: With so many races to choose from, why do you participate in the Madison Marathon? What makes it special?  

Kilkus: After graduating from college in 2010 I decided I wanted to run longer races, and when I moved to Madison I found the Madison Marathon fit perfectly into my spring training plans. The race has a bit of sentimental value to me since it was my first half marathon, so every year since then this has been my big race for the spring where I really want to perform at my best.

FFP: Do you do anything to make the race more meaningful or fun?

Kilkus: I do have a lucky jersey that I wear when I want to run really well and need a little bit of extra good luck.  Most people don't expect to see a guy racing in a purple Utah Jazz basketball jersey, so it's also a nice way to get cheers and support from people who don't already know me.

FFP: What would you tell other racers about participating in the Madison Marathon?

Kilkus:  Get ready for the hills.  It's a pretty fun course, but those hills are really tough.

Summary of Race Results & Personal Accomplishments

FFP: How many Madison Marathon events have you run? How many total marathons or half-marathons have you run? 

Kilkus: 4 Madison half-Marathons — Spring 2011, 2012, 2013 / Fall 2013; Spring 2014 will be my 5th. I have also run 2 Marathons (Twin Cities 2011 and 2013).

FFP: Are there any personal accomplishments you would like to mention?

Kilkus:  Men's winner of the 2013 Madison Spring half marathon.  Ran 2:34:36 at Twin Cities marathon 2013.

- article by Deborah Proctor

This article is part of a series featuring athletes who are participating in a Madison Marathon Event May 24-25 and/or November 9, 2014.  For more information or to register, visit Madison Marathon.