Running the Distance: 2012 Lake Monona 20K and 5K

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Can you outrun rain clouds? That was the question on racers’ minds on May 5, 2012, when 851 runners on the 20K course and 164 runners on the 5K course squinted up at overcast skies. But it was a different body of water that greeted them when the race started – the beautiful shores of Lake Monona curving along the lakefront running and bike path.


For runners in the region, the Lake Monona 20K has a long history of being a “runner’s race."  It's perfectly situated as a longer distance competition to prepare for the Madison Marathon or the 20 mile Syttende Mai ("Seventeenth of May") Run – part of the traditional Norwegian heritage celebrations involving a run from the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison to Stoughton, Wisconsin.


Ed Peirick of Fitchburg, WI accomplished a personal record for the Lake Monona 20K route by finishing in 1:38:16 – over 5 minutes faster than his previous time. “Lake Monona 20k has been one of my 'must do' races since 2007,” said Peirick. “Compared to similar distance races, it's unbeatable for cost, course, t-shirt, volunteers, organizers, and post race food & entertainment.”


Steve Morstad of Monroe, WI also logged a PR on the 5K run course. Delighted with his finish line photo by Focal Flame Photography, Morstad wrote, “I really got a kick of your shot.  I have so much fun running... but you caught a flash of fierce grit as I pushed for a PR.  [It’s a] great shot that I am going to have fun with, with family and friends.”




The event ended with live music by Madison band Mighty Short Bus, and plentiful food and drink from Capital Brewery, Qdoba, and Quaker Steak & Lube.

And – as it turned out – every single participant did outrun the rain, which graciously held off. As for the photography conditions, clouds were perfect. “I love shooting in overcast weather,” said Focal Flame photographer Clint Thayer. “It’s like a natural diffuser – it eliminates hard shadows and really makes the photos pop.”

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