Event Details

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Madison, WI

Nov 10, 2013 (last date)

start time:

Half Marathon, Marathon, 10K

how to enter:
Open to All

course types:
Run - Road

Incorrect info?

more info:
Official Website

Nitty Gritty Details

Enough Aid Stations:
Good for First Timers:
Enough Porta Potties:

Cool Schwag:
Course Marked Clearly:
Spectator Friendly:

Good Expo:
Good Photography:
Traffic on Course:

4 Reviews for Madison Marathon


Washington, DC

This was my first "big" race so I had no expectations going into it, having nothing to compare my experiences to. The expo was nice but a bit cramped in the space and packet pick up seemed a little disorganized.

The course is beautiful and runs through some of Madison's most scenic areas, although I do wish the half course had included the arboretum. The event was shut down after a certain point because of the unseasonably hot and humid conditions. I trained outdoors during the cold Wisconsin winter and spring months and was certainly not acclimated to the heat. Personally, I had a miserable race and ended up getting sick at mile 4 but managed to finish the race despite not having the wherewithal to remember it! Thanks to the crew at the medical tent and the volunteers -- they were, by far, the best part of the race.

Spectators were also a highlight. The course ran through quite a few quiet residential neighborhoods but there were plenty of residents camped out on the curbside cheering us on -- many with hose in hand to cool us all off.

The biggest complaint about the organization of the race was the timing chips used. Madison switched to J-Chip for 2010 and it was a disaster. It took days for J-Chip to post our times and split times were never posted. A friend of mine returned her timing chip at the event but was subsequently charged for not returning it. She tried several times to contact J-Chip about the mistake but was unable to touch base with anyone and ended up having to live with being charged. The debacle was followed-up with an apology email from Madison Festivals which organizes the event. Apparently I wasn't the only one who learned from mistakes I made at this year's race: http://host.madison.com/sports/running/article_51911693-77f1-5c43-a99c-5d034c5ad83e.html

Despite rating this year's race 2/5 *'s, I would definitely run it again. The Madison Marathon has grown immensely in popularity and is experiencing some growing pains. Friends who have participated in the past have always loved this race and I look forward to giving it another shot.


Madison, WI

I ran the Madison full marathon in 2008 and 2009, and I would have to say I preferred the course in 2008, though I do appreciate the change-up from year-to-year to keep the route fresh. I found it interesting to run the (mostly) reversed 2009 course and experience freshness on stretches where the year before I only felt fatigue, and vice versa. The hills were no worse than one might expect on an average marathon course and none seemed purposefully evil. Stretches through Maple Bluff were grueling but perhaps more so due to the point in the race rather than the topography of the landscape. One element that remained the same from 08 to 09, to my displeasure, was the final mile. I do not enjoy the route leading into Alliant, ‘through the back entrance’ as many others have put it. The final road we run up is in need of resurfacing and every bump, dip, and pothole a runner’s foot finds after 25 miles is amplified ten fold. The crowd on the last .1 mile before the finish line was large, loud and great, but no one would have complained if we had a little more of that support and enthusiasm for a bit longer before the finish. The support and enthusiasm of the volunteers and spectators all along the course were top-notch and I couldn’t really expect anything more from them. I did expect more at the finish line. I, like many other marathoners, can be a bit in need of replenishment at the end. I thought in my post-marathon delirium, that I had entirely missed the food tent. I was modestly pining for a piece of orange and maybe even a granola bar as I staggered through the concrete desert of the finish area. Far-off medical tents appeared as mirages through the heat waves rising off the pavement where I thought I might find mountains of food the likes of which I had seen in post-race 2008, but nothing of the sort was ever found. I understand the need for cost saving measures, but cutting out the food at the end is never a good idea, and by not giving prize money, not lowering the cost of entry, and having a larger turnout in 09 versus 08, I’m not sure how it could have been afforded then but not now. I’ve run two marathons, both Madison, and finished second female in both, so I do enjoy and have mostly fond memories the Madison Marathon, but I also look forward to putting my efforts toward trying a different spring marathon in the future.


Palatine, IL

The race was great and I do mean great and demanding, but the organizers are what I would call cheep. Age group awards to ONLY 1st place, not 3rd as is normal. 1 water, 1 basket of pretzels, i box of chocolate milk, no cool down tent, no cool down wrap, filled us out on to a sunny parking lot with no where to sit or get out of the sun.

Too bad because it could be a great total race experience.


Wilmette, IL

I just finished the my first Madison Half Marathon. Overall, I thought the experience was great. The course was new this year and I heard, greatly improved. There were some minor hills sprinkled throughout the run, but nothing too challenging. It was a beautiful route around the lakes, through the campus and downtown. The race course got a bit crowded at points, especially along the lake paths, but I was generally able to find my own space to run without feeling boxed in.
My main complaint about this race though is that this day really belongs to the full marathoners, and I think some of the organization that would typically go to a half-marathon was focussed on the full. For example, I had a hard time picking out mile-markers (if they existed) and we only received one split time, half way through the race. No event staff was present at each mile giving us splits, etc. For most of the race, I had no idea how far I had run nor how fast!! Also, they had a serious shortage of porta-potties. I waited in line for 45 min. before the race started and never made to the front. However the water/gatorade stations were well staffed and prepared for the crowds.
Overall, despite its organizational issues, I had a great experience though because I love Madison and the collegial atmosphere of the race. It was a beautiful day, beautiful course and had the added fun of the World Brat Fest at the finish-line!





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