This race, in its second year, is a must-do for midwesterners! I'm from the Milwaukee suburbs and live in Chicago now, so it was fun to run a race in my "hometown"!Expo: What better Milwaukee venue for the expo than the Harley Davidson museum. Parking here was a slight challenge, as there wasn't any direction in the Runner Guide sent out the week before, and there wasn't any signage or people directing. I came right at the expo opening, and found parking in a small lot across the street, which was fine, but kept looking around for more parking, wondering where the masses were going to park as the surge of runners would be coming shortly.
The expo itself was moderate in size, but perhaps they've already outgrown the room in which it was held. Lots of great vendors, but that forced the actual packet pickup area to be a little congested. They moved people through the line very quickly, and were very accommodating as I was also picking up a bib for a friend.
The shirt is a long-sleeved tech tee with thumb holes! Really nice, too! Also included was a cloth tote bag, which is another nice touch. Inside the cloth bag was the clear bag to use for gear check on race day.
Race day: Parking was listed on the Runner Guide to be $5 right near the race start, but since I had forgotten cash (whoops!) used the listed alternative option and parked at the O'Connell parking garage about a half mile away (for $8, but allowed me to pay with a credit card!)
Once over in the start area, the first thing I noticed was incredibly long lines at the port-o-potties. This was a bigger issue than I think the management might have realized. It was minutes before the race was to start and the lines were 20+ minutes long still. I know renting port-o-potties can be pricey, but they need to at least double the number next year.
The next note is about the three races (Full marathon, half marathon, and 5k) all starting within ~20 minutes of one another. I don't necessarily think they need to have separated corrals, but perhaps a staging area behind the corrals to line up the Half and 5k runners while we waited for the Full runners to go through. It was a bit confusing trying to figure out where I should stand until it was time for me to line up. A minor complaint, but one worth considering.
The race announcer was awesome, did such a great job getting everyone the information they needed and keeping the runners energized! We did start a few minutes late, but it wasn't a huge deal.
The 5k course pretty much circles the outskirts of the beautiful lakefront Veterans Park. It was very flat and easy terrain, with very minimal turns. I felt this was a good course to PR on! There was one aid station at around the halfway point, but I was confused at which cups were water and which were Gatorade. They seemed to interchange the cups. This is just a 5k, but I hope in the future this will be addressed.
The finish line was the same place as the start, and runners were greeted with the announcer shouting names of finishers, and then a GORGEOUS medal and post-race snacks and goodies.
The post-race area had free beer and a number of food trucks, along with music and good vibes.