Guest blog by Gloria West, community and sponsorship director for the PaceSetters of the Fox Cities
There’s something about that hometown cheer! The Community First Fox Cities Marathon presented by Miron Construction surpasses so many marathons of its size when it come to the enthusiastic crowds along the course. The community support shows how important this event has become to the Fox Cities. Everyone in the community has a role to play with this race; whether it be volunteering, coming out to cheer runners on or participating themselves.
It gives me goose bumps thinking about marathon day in the Fox Cities. I figured I couldn’t be the only one who had such a high regard for this running event, so I asked around and it turns out many participants agree.
Half-marathon runner, Janice Socha claims, “My favorite part about the Fox Cities Marathon is all the different people cheering along the route. In one spot, you see the nursing home residents sitting in wheel chairs waiving at you and then a little while later a local high school cross-country team is handing out water. The Trestle Trail Bridge is also nice because it’s a milestone on the course that reminds runners they’re almost finished. The last part right before the park is fun too with all the music and cheerleaders. I have done five half-marathons and this will be my third time running the ThedaCare Half Marathon, which is my favorite race to run.”
Runners not only love the support they receive along the course, but also how this race is personalized. Andy Hofmeister is from Stockbridge, Wisconsin but he makes a point to run in the Fox Cities Marathon.
“I like the Fox Cities Marathon for several reasons, but the biggest one would be that our names are on the race bibs,” Hofmeister said. “It’s nice when the spectators say our names when they’re cheering us on out there. Indianapolis is the only other race I have seen recognize runners like that, but I saw it first with the Fox Cities Marathon.”
Mike Jovanovich has done the Fox Cities Marathon for the past 29 years, which is as long as the event has existed. He says the course is unmatched when it comes to community support.
“I especially like the last three miles where the crowd support really builds up. So many people along the entire course are calling out my name. I especially like that the marathon is in my hometown so I know the course very well, which helps to pace myself. That, along with seeing so many familiar faces, helps me keep going.”
It’s not only the veteran marathoners that love this course. I have heard it from those doing this marathon for the first time too. Benjamin Bricco ran the Fox Cities Marathon for the first time in 2018. He liked how easy it was for his family to follow him along the course. That ease is a conscious decision made by the race organizers who publish a map for the best viewing places for spectators to cheer on their family and friends.
Overwhelmingly, this course is designed for the community, by the community, and runners can feel that from start to finish. Now as we head into the 29th year of the Community First Fox Cities Marathon I couldn’t be prouder to be a runner in this race and a part of this community. Bring it on!