I ran the semi-infamous Crazy Legs Classic race today. It's an 8K (5-mile) race that starts on the Capitol Square and finishes on the 50-yard line of Camp Randall Stadium (home of the Badgers football team). The event attracts about 20,000 people and is more of a party than a race... take for example the pre-race "gathering" - I met some friends (Jed and his wife Jamie) at Genna's Lounge (a bar):
The place was packed at 9:00am with people that were running the race. And everyone was drinking bloody Marys, beers, and even mixed drinks! I was a bit surprised, to say the least. It was great to hang out with Jed and Jamie (I'm spelling her name wrong - apologies!) and some of their friends from Jed's workplace. We socialized for about an hour or so before making our way out to the Capitol Square to line-up for the race.
The race started at 10:00am with the fastest runners leaving in group "A." I was in group "W" - quite a way from the front pack. Next year, I'll request a faster group, because I spent the majority of the race trying to weave my way in and out of people as I passed them. Here we are, "in line" and waiting like cattle to hit the starting gate.
After about 20-25 minutes of standing in line, we were near the starting line. The starting line was really cool - it was filled with Badger players who were high-fiving everyone and wishing them luck. The marching band was there playing music, the cheerleaders were rooting for everyone, and Bucky was wishing everyone well. I didn't get a great picture because we were already starting to move, but you'll get the idea:
The bigger guy (#68) was obviously a lineman for the Badgers frontline... :-)
Once on the road, I tried to get a few photos, but none really turned out too well. We went from the square to Langdon Street, past the Memorial Union, up Observatory Hill, down through the dormitory area, around the hospital, under University Avenue, and then into Camp Randall. Here are a few shots from the race:
That's Langdon Street, near the Memorial Union.
And here's the "back side" of Observatory Hill:
And here's the finish line area. I tried to take a photo at the actual 50-yard line, but my iPhone camera goofed-up and the photo didn't turn out at all. :-(
I finished the race at about the 40-minute mark (update: results were posted - my official time was 40:45 and I finished #3141 out of 20,450). Not a great time by any means (about an 8-minute mile pace), but with 20,000 people to deal with it wasn't a bad race. My hat is definitely off to the Crazy Legs organizers - they know how to run a race. Everything was well organized and easy to follow, and they managed the huge group of people with absolute perfection.
Following the race, there's a big party at Camp Randall, complete with bands, brats, beer, and all sorts of goodies. I stuck around just long enough to take a few photos, including this shot of the spectators:
After snapping a few photos, I ran the course in reverse back up to the Square (people were still running the race, and after hearing "you're going the wrong way!" about 300 times I removed my race number), where I took a stroll through the Farmer's Market.
It was quite nice - not too many people as the weather wasn't great - and I scored some bison steaks from a local farmer, along with some organic tomatoes, all for less than $15. I also got a picture of the capitol with these about-to-bloom tulips:
So, all things considered, not a bad Saturday morning. I ran just under 11 miles, had a decent race, picked-up some bison, and am now relaxing at the apartment. The weather is supposed to be crummy tomorrow as well, so I'll probably be stuck riding the trainer. Argh.