The Fox Cities Marathon Builds Community in the Fox Valley
By: Jan Peebles
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of standing at the starting line, hearing the music and feeling the adrenaline in my body as I’m getting ready to run. I felt it at my first race, a half-marathon in 2006. I felt it at my first marathon in 2015, and I still feel it today. That’s why I am passionate about providing a great community-building event for running enthusiasts like myself: The Community First Credit Union Fox Cities Marathon presented by Miron Construction.
I became a board member for the Fox Cities Marathon after a then board member realized how much I love running and planted the idea in my head. At the time the company I worked for was a major sponsor of the power walk, so I was able to represent my company.
This event has become a huge success from both a running and community standpoint. With the race in September, the weather is usually perfect. The race itself wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers and management team who put it together. I do not think people really realize how many volunteers it takes to put on an event like this, about 2,000 people! There are so many small details that have to be worked out to create a positive experience for everyone involved: from putting timing tags on bibs, stuffing race packets, setting up the start and finish lines, planning enough water stations and people to run them, handing out medals and food at the finish line and more.
From a health and wellness standpoint, I believe it is very important for the community to support an event like this. We get great support from the PaceSetters running club. They offer training runs every Saturday throughout the summer leading up to the marathon and do a running tag check-in at the expo center.
I have run half marathons in Madison, Green Bay and Oshkosh, but they don’t feel the same as the Fox Cities Marathon. There is a sense of family here, and the event is executed smoothly because of it. One of the highlights of our course is that we changed it in 2015 to be more scenic, and that has made a big difference. Now we spend more time off the roads and get to run by the Fox River and over the Trestle Trail bridge. It’s a beautiful route.
One memory that stands out in my mind is the 2017 Marathon. Because of the extreme heat People from the surrounding communities came out with sprinklers and water to cool off the participants. It was amazing to see that kind of support.
It is an honor to serve on the board for this fantastic event, and I am already looking forward to running the half marathon this year!