Runners embarking on the Honky Tonk Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K won't need headphones to hear twangy country tunes. That’s because the hilly Wisconsin Dells course features live bands and DJs along the route to keep participants energized as they race toward the finish line. The party-like atmosphere doesn’t end with the race, as a full-blown celebration complete with food, beer, and line dancing awaits runners and their family and friends. Aside from age-group awards for the top three males and females in each race, finish-line gifts include a Honky Tonk cowboy hat and goodie bag for all participants, a finisher-medal buckle for marathoners and half marathoners, and an ice bath for those who decided to pogo stick the entire 26.2 miles. The Honky Tonk marathon and half-marathon course is USA Track & Field certified and is also a Boston Marathon qualifier.
On the waters of Lake Wingra, Madison Log Rolling's seasoned lumberjacks and jills channel the pastimes of 19th-century loggers, who would spend downtime competing to see who could balance the longest atop logs that were ferrying downriver. In 2010, Olivia Judd and Shana Martin started their log-rolling requiem to preserve and share this regional sport with newcomers. Instructors demonstrate the art of softly skimming the feet across the surface of the log to stay balanced. Beginner classes allow students to practice log rolling while showing how the sport can improve one's balance, agility, mental fortitude, and ability to pull off a plaid flannel tuxedo. Madison Log Rolling offers log-rolling classes, boom-rolling classes, and events for team building and birthdays.
In addition to the sense of perseverance and accomplishment that comes with finishing a 5K, the organizers of the Bacon Chase have added another incentive: bacon. During their two races?the 5K Piggy Pilgrimage, which is a traditional 5K, and the 0.05K Blitz to Bacon, which is a 164-foot sprint?runners can munch on unlimited bacon bits before feasting on unlimited amounts of bacon at the finish line. Runners 21 and older can wash down the savory strips of bacon with a bloody mary, and all runners get a Bacon Chase T-shirt and a signature bacon-scented bib. The festival opens at 8 a.m. and features many bacon-themed activities, plus music.
The festive day serves a greater purpose, too. Attendees will be able to register to become a St. Jude Hero, raise money for St. Jude Children?s Research Hospital, or both.
Dressed in an array of colorful costumes, Haunted Hustle participants speed through the crisp fall air, encountering residential roads, tree-canopied scenic routes, and more than enough hills. Participants are encouraged to be creative in their attire as they trot through and around Middleton on routes ranging from 6.2 to 26.2 miles, allowing spectators to see such unusual sights as a vampire being chased by the Fonz.
Marathoners looking to qualify for the Boston Marathon can and probably should fly solo, and those participating for leisure can jog in similarly costumed groups. The 10K Stroller Derby, meanwhile, invites parents to push strollers with their kids or hidden jetpacks in tow. After passing such local sights as Pheasant Branch Conservancy and Capitol View Road, runners return to downtown Middleton to cross the finish line, claim their participant medal, and sip a cold beer in a heated tent, waiting for cash prizes to be awarded for the Best Costume contest.
Color Me Rad stages 5K races that transform runners into mobile rainbows by launching cheerful barrages of colored cornstarch. Each color station along the racetrack flings a new, nontoxic pigment at passersby, who wear white shirts to enhance the chromatic onslaught's costuming effects. Brilliant neon-blue, green, purple, and yellow clouds dapple participants along the way, and the race concludes with a prismatic finish-line finale as sprinters chuck colors at each other in celebration. The race's noncompetitive credo shifts the emphasis from speed to silliness, and a portion of its proceeds go to local charities.
Upon registration, each runner collects a Color Me Rad T-shirt, sunglasses, sponsor gifts, and a race bib. Though they don't receive a gift packet, runners younger than 8 years old can sprint for free, provided they have a waiver signed by a guardian and won't give in to demands for gold from confused leprechauns.
Not all runners are morning people, eagerly warming up before the latest crack-of-dawn race event. Luckily, the night owls have their own outlet: The Glo Run. The fluorescent 5K unleashes its participants into the dwindling light of the evening armed with glow sticks, glow-in-the dark bracelets, and light-up sunglasses. This illuminating paraphernalia helps them navigate the shadowy corners of the course, which features thumping music, lighting effects, and squirrels equipped with laser-beam eyes. At the finish line, runners and walkers can relish another staple of nighttime parties, dancing the evening away to rollicking tunes spun by a live DJ.