Mark's Badgerland Blog
Greetings from my hometown of Saxon, WI! I'm going to write about running events throughout Wisconsin and the Western U.P. of Michigan; many of these events you may have never heard of but aren't too far away from the Twin Ports. I look forward to share my thoughts and experiences with you as both a recreational runner and race organizer.
April 11, 2009: Mark's Trip to the Big City
As promised, here's my second post of this Easter weekend. By the way, I want to wish my fellow Northland Runner bloggers and readers a very Happy Easter. In a post last September, I listed April as one of my favorite months of the year. One of the main reasons is, when the weather's nice, you can't beat an April morning to go running. Today definitely fit that description. I ran approximately 12 miles here in Saxon, and the weather was perfect: sunny, no wind whatsoever, and temperatures in the low 40s. I even saw about five deer in the fields near U.S. Highway 2. What a great time!
Before I go in detail about my upcoming trip next weekend to Duluth for the Fitgers' 5K, I should talk briefly about two runs that will go on that same morning. The first one is the Norway (MI) Spring Classic 10K in the U.P. Although I never did that event, I know it always draws a competitive field of runners and the organizers do a great job making out-of-town runners feel welcomed. Also, I know there is a very steep, tough hill near the finish line. The other event will be the third annual Oshkosh Half Marathon and 5K. I think for the first two years the event has averaged over 2,000 participants for all events. There will also be a spaghetti feed on the night before at a church. So, if you are unable to be at Fitgers but in the vicinity of Norway, MI or Oshkosh, go check out these great events.
Now, some of you may be wondering why I would make the trek to Duluth instead of the Oshkosh event, especially since the route goes right pass my place of business (O'Neil and Associates). The most important reason is that Friday, April 17 is my nephew Tate's twelfth birthday, and Uncle Mark is not going to miss out on his birthday party on Saturday, April 18. Also, I always try to make it to one Twin Ports run a year if I can. Since I can't make to the Grandma's Marathon events, I always try to make it to the Fitgers' 5K if possible.
There still are some other important reasons why I'm making the trip to what I like to call the "big city." Since I'm now a Northland Runner blogger, I am anxious to meet my fellow bloggers and some of the readers of this site. It's always fun to exchange ideas and share experiences with fellow runners. Duluth has always been known in the Upper Midwest as a "hotbed" for great runners and cross-country skiiers. The list can go on and on: Jarrow, Rochelle Wurth, Scott Jurek, Rod Raymond, Jill Anderson, Jeff and Patrice Allen, Katie and Jesse Koski, Liz Holliday, and Diane Holliday-Welsh. Boy, how do I respect those guys and gals! I've been fortunate to have met most of them, and an event like Fitgers' gives me a chance to "touch base" with them and other Twin Ports athletes.
Boy, now I'm really fired up for next weekend! I should be at the Fitgers' complex around 7:00 a.m. Don't be afraid to stop by and say hi; I'll be wearing a "Run 4 Home" T-shirt, black pants, and black cap. During the run, I'll be wearing my "PaceSetters" tank top. Again, Happy Easter and I'll see you all next Saturday!
I look forward to meeting you on Saturday. Growing up in a town of less than 300 people, almost all of our media outlets (television, newspaper, and radio) were out of Duluth. Also, when people in our area shop for Christmas or anything else, Duluth has always been, as still is, the No. 1 destination. In the immediate Tri-State area (Northern Minnesota, Northwestern Wisconsin, and the Western U.P. of Michigan), Duluth is by far the largest city. If I have time, I might have lunch at Grandma's before going back to Saxon.