Caroline Blair

Guide to 67 Races and Fun Runs

From April Bloop to Santa Hustle to Irish Jig Jog you can run all year.

By - Aug 30th, 2017 02:43 pm
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The Milwaukee Running Festival is now the PNC Milwaukee Marathon.

The Milwaukee Running Festival is now the PNC Milwaukee Marathon.

Although this often sub-freezing city may seem like a daunting place to run a marathon or 5K, Milwaukee is home to a vast number of marathons, half marathons, fun runs, walks, 5Ks, and more. And quite a few of them — Polar Beer Dash, Chilly Willy and others — are in the dead of winter. So whether you live in Downtown, Cudahy, Waukesha, or anywhere in between, there are opportunities all around the metro are to have a great run, while supporting charities, and enjoying the view all the way to the finish line, be it in sunny or snowy weather.

Here is our list of some of Milwaukee’s biggest races and fun runs, with varying dates, distances, and locations. Before you decide on one, we recommend registering online before the event, so it will cost less, and you can avoid long lines or day-of-race stress. Better to conserve all that energy for the run.

AIDS Walk Wisconsin and 5K Run – October 7, 2017: Located at the Henry Maier Festival Grounds, this 5K run/walk has raised more than $12.5 million for the fight against AIDS, with a registration fee of $30.

Associated Bank Storm the Bastille Run – July (TBD for 2018): This 5K run/walk or 2-mile walk corresponds with the Bastille Day celebrations in downtown Milwaukee each July. With a registration fee of $20-$25, the race starts at Jefferson and Wells and takes participants through the streets of the Historic Third Ward and downtown Milwaukee.

Big Gay 5K – June (TBD for 2018): Supporting the Milwaukee Gay Sports Network and AIDS WALK/RUN WISCONSIN, this 5K run/walk starts at Veterans Park, with a registration fee of $30.

Bloop – April (TBD for 2018): This race gives the option of running a marathon, half marathon, or six-hour ultra race, but not in the traditional way. With a registration fee of $50-$100, participants will run ‘bloops,’ or 1-mile laps around Humboldt park. After six hours, we’re guessing you’ll know that park well.

Brew City Half Marathon and 10K – April (TBD for 2018): Offering a half marathon or 10K, this race takes place at McKinley/Veterans Park. The race has a registration fee of of $80-$100 and supports the Hunger Task Force.

Brewers Mini-Marathon – September 9, 2017: This half marathon, 10K, or 5K, starts at Miller Park and races through Milwaukee. The Mini-Marathon partners with the MACC Fund to help fund research for childhood cancer. Participants run through Milwaukee and around the field warning track at Miller Park for a registration fee of $30-$110.

Brewers Famous Racing Sausages 5K Run/Walk – July (TBD for 2018): Starting at Miller Park, this 5K run/walk takes runners through and around Miller Park with a registration fee of $30-$40. The money donated goes to the Brewers Community Foundation that supports various nonprofits.

Briggs and Al’s Run and Walk – September 16, 2017: This annual 8K run, 5-mile walk, or 3-mile walk,  named after the late Marquette University basketball coach Al McGuire, has raised more than $18 million in the last 40 years for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The race starts at 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue at the Marquette University campus and goes down Wisconsin Avenue to end at the Henry Maier Festival Grounds, with a registration fee of $30-$45.

CF Climb Run – November 9, 2017: For the 28th year, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is having a vertical climb 985 steps up the U.S. Bank Building in downtown Milwaukee. In addition to a $25 registration fee, participants must fundraise a minimum of $50.

The Color Run – September 16, 2017: The Color Run is a national race that is known for having participants start in a white shirt and end doused in different colors of paint. Seriously. Held in Pershing Park in Racine this year, this 5K run/walk has a registration fee of $35.

Cudahy Classic – July (TBD for 2018): For its 57th year, this race mainly features 10-mile and 5-mile races. With a registration fee of $20-$30, this race starts at Sheridan Park and runners will go through scenic Lake Drive and the Oak Leaf Trail.

DoLittle Marathon – September 24, 2017: This race offers different distances for runners, including a marathon, 20-mile run, half marathon, 10-mile run, 10K, and 5K. The marathon is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, with fees ranging from $30-$85. The race starts at EB Shurts, 810 W. College Ave. in Waukesha.

Drumstick Dash – November 23, 2017: This Thanksgiving morning 5K run/walk takes runners around Miller Park, for a registration fee of $20-$40. This year, the race is partnering with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.

Festivus One Miler – December (TBD for 2017): The race for the rest of us. In this 1-mile run/walk, runners will celebrate the Seinfeld holiday of Festivus, starting at East Brady Street. The registration fee ranges from $25-$35.

Fight for Air Climb– March (TBD for 2018): If running isn’t always your thing, this climb has participants climb up the 1,034 steps of the U.S. Bank Building in downtown Milwaukee. Participants can run as many times as possible in an hour, and the money raised goes to the American Lung Association, though given all those steps it make more sense to benefit the knee association.

Free to Breathe Run/Walk – October 14, 2017: This 5K run/walk or 1-mile walk encourages donations to go to research on lung cancer. This race starts at Veterans Park and has no registration fee.

Jingle Bell Run – November 12, 2017: Apparently timed for the earliest of Christmas decorations, this annual holiday-themed 5K run/walk supports the Arthritis Foundation and will be in Milwaukee (location TBD) this November, with a registration fee of $30.

The GloRun – September 9, 2017: This national 5K run/walk is known for its nighttime run with lights and other glow-lights throughout the race. Working with Ronald McDonald House Charities- Eastern Wisconsin, the race is at Lincoln Memorial Drive and Veterans Park and has a registration fee of $60.

The Great Milwaukee Race – September (TBD for 2017): This race features trivia, clues, and other challenges throughout the 3-5 mile course. Starting at the Loaded Slate, this team race has a fee of $25-$35.

Greater Milwaukee Heart and Stroke Walk/5K Run – September 17, 2017: From great to greater. This 1-mile route, 3-mile route, and 5K starts at Veterans Park in Milwaukee. With a registration fee of $25, the race supports the American Heart Association.

Hand Aaron State Trail 5K Walk/Run – August (TBD for 2018): Starting and ending at Miller Park, this 5K run/walk has a registration fee of $25-$35 and supports the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail. Every year, the 44th finisher wins a prize in honor of the retired jersey number of Hammering Hank, still the home run king as far as Milwaukee baseball fans are concerned.

HartFest Half Marathon – June (TBD for 2018): This half marathon takes place at Hart Park in Wauwatosa. With a registration fee of $45-$55, half of the funds go to the Wauwatosa Sebena Police Office Fund.

Hot Cider Hustle – October 29, 2017:  To take the chill out of late autumn, you get hot cider and caramel apples at the finish line of this 10-mile run and 5K run/walk that takes place in Estabrook Park in Shorewood. With a registration fee ranging from $60-$90, the race is raising funds for the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

The Icebreaker Indoor Marathon and Half Marathon – January (TBD for 2018): If you aren’t looking for a run outside in the worst of Wisconsin winter (and really how many are?), this marathon, half marathon, 5K race, or marathon relay takes place indoors at the Pettit National Ice Center, with a registration fee ranging from $35-$105.

Irish Jig Jog 4K Run/Walk – March (TBD for 2018): This 4K run/walk partners with the Shamrock Shuffle, Milwaukee’s largest St. Patrick’s celebration. The jig jogging starts at Veterans Park and benefits the Special Olympics of Wisconsin.

Lake Michigan Marathon – September 3, 2017: This race offers various courses, with a marathon, half marathon, 50K, or 20-mile “Training Run.” The marathon is certified as a Boston Marathon qualifier. The race is located at Sheridan Park, with registration fees ranging from $20-$100.

Lakefront Marathon – October 1, 2017: The original Milwaukee marathon is also certified as a Boston Marathon qualifier and starts at Grafton High School and ends at Veterans Park, with a registration fee of $80.

Lakefront Discovery Run – October 28, 2017: Featuring a 15K and 5-mile run, this race starts at Lake Park. Runners can dress up in costumes for the Halloween-themed run, with a registration fee of $30-$45.

Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer– July (TBD for 2018): The Aurora Cancer Care and the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation partner up together to host this 5K run/walk. The race starts at the Henry Maier Festival Park at Festa Italiana and has a registration fee of $25-$30.

The Milwaukee Beer Run – November 5, 2017: This annual 0.5K walk and 5K run/walk takes place at Veterans Park. With a registration fee of $30-$55, the race has partnered with the Hunger Task Force.

Milwaukee Marathon – October 14 and 15, 2017: Not only is the marathon a Boston Marathon qualifier, but the race also offers a half marathon, 10K, 5K, and 1-mile run. This race takes place at the Harley-Davidson Museum or Reed Street Yards, depending on the kind of race. The registration fee varies from $30-$120.

Milwaukee St. Paddy’s 5K – March (TBD for 2018): Offering a 5K run/walk and half marathon, this St. Patrick’s Day themed race takes place at South Shore Park. The race benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities- Eastern Wisconsin and has a registration fee of $50.

Mother’s Day 5K and 10K Run/Walk – May (TBD for 2018): Celebrate Mother’s Day with this annual 5K and 10K run/walk at Veterans Park. With a registration fee of $50-$60, the race supports the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

MPS Run Back to School – August (TBD for 2018): This 5K run or 1.5 mile walk supports MPS Youth Recreation programs, located at Washington Park, with a registration fee of $5-$15.

The North Face Endurance Challenge – September 16 and 17, 2017: This race features a 50-mile run, 50K, marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K, with fees raining from $40-$110. Runners will mainly stay on the Ice Age Trail in Kettle Moraine State Park.

Patrick Cudahy Race for the Bacon – July (TBD for 2018): Yes, a chance to bring home the bacon. Featuring a crispy Bacon Bash at the end, this 5K run/walk is located at Sheridan Drive in Cudahy. Part of the proceeds go to the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of JDRF, with a registration fee of $30-$45.

Polar Bear Dash – January 1, 2018: Brr-ring in the new year with this 5K run/walk at Grant Park that features an optional polar dip into Lake Michigan at the end of the race. There is a $25-$35 registration fee, and the race has partnered with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Wisconsin Chapter.

PurpleStride Milwaukee – June (TBD for 2018): This 5K run/walk benefits the fight against pancreatic cancer and takes place around Miller Park, with a registration fee of $10-$35.

Run 4 Water MKE – April (TBD for 2018): The proceeds from this annual 5K run/walk benefit the water projects undertaken by University of Wisconsin student chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Located at Veterans Park, the race has a registration fee of $30-$35.

Run/Walk to Milwaukee Irish Fest – August (TBD for 2018): This Irish-themed 5K run/walk starts at the North Gate of Milwaukee Irish Fest Grounds and runs along the Milwaukee lakefront. The race supports the Arthritis Foundation and has a registration fee of $20-$40.

Santa Hustle – December 2, 2017: A Santa hat, beard, socks, and more are some of the ways this holiday-themed 5K run/walk channels the ho-ho-ho spirit. Starting at Veterans Park, the race benefits Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful and has a registration fee of $35.

The Samson Stomp and Romp – January (TBD for 2018): Located at the Milwaukee County Zoo, this 5K run, 2K run/walk, or 0.25 mile and 1-mile walks for children celebrates the late great gorilla and benefits the animals off the zoo. The registration fee is $10-$30.

South Shore Half Marathon – April 7, 2018: This half marathon starts at the South Shore Park Pavilion and has a registration fee of $13-$30.

The Steve Cullen Healthy Heart Club Run/Walk – February 10, 2018: For the last 21 years, this run has given more than $400,000 to fund heart research and awareness in memory of Milwaukee Alderman Steve Cullen who died at age 40 of a sudden heart attack. This annual 8K run or 2-mile run/walk takes place at Underwood Parkway in Wauwatosa with a registration fee of $30-$35.

Strain for the Brain 5K Run/Walk – June (TBD for 2018): Raising money for brain tumor research, this 5K run/walk and 1-mile walk is located at Miller Park with a registration fee of $20-$30.

Strider Half Marathon – August (TBD for 2018): Located in Estabrook Park in Shorewood, this half marathon has a registration fee of $28-$50.

Strider Indoor 20K/10K – December 3, 2017: If you are looking for a run indoors this winter, here’s another: this 20K or 10K at Pettit National Ice Center could be the run for you.

Superun 5K – June (TBD for 2018): This midweek 5K run/walk takes place at Lake Park Pavilion and has a registration fee of $15-$35.

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure – September 24, 2017: This national race series benefits both local and national research and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. This 5K run/walk takes place on the Milwaukee Lakefront and has a registration fee of $20-$35.

Summerfest Rock ‘n Sole Run – June (TBD for 2018): This race offers various distances, with a half marathon, quarter marathon, and 5K. Depending on the route, runners can race on the Hoan Bridge, ending up and starting at the Henry Maier Festival Grounds. The race has a registration fee varying from $30-$110 and benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee.

Sweet Home Milwaukee – April (TBD for 2018): Partnering with the Hunger Task force for a local food drive, this 5K run/walk takes place at Veterans Park in Milwaukee, with a registration fee of $30-$50.

Turkey Trot – November 23, 2017: It might be called a trot, but we must note that turkeys can run up to 55 miles per hour, so feel free to take it into overdrive. This Thanksgiving 5K and 8K run takes place at Veterans Park in Milwaukee. The run benefits the Hunger Task Force and has a registration fee of $50-$60.

UNCF Walk/Run for Education – July (TBD for 2018): For the last 33 years, this 5K run/walk has helped UNCF students with scholarships and different services. It takes place at Veterans Park and has a registration fee of $20-$35.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s – September 17, 2017: Funds raised from this walk go to support the research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. This run/walk starts at the Henry Maier Festival Grounds, with no registration fee, but a recommended fundraising goal.

Wheels and Heels 5K – July (TBD for 2018): This 5K run, walk, or roll and 1K walk raises money and awareness for those with spinal cord injuries and to support paralysis research. The registration fee is $20-$25 and takes place at Veterans Park.

Winter Run Series – From October through March, this series has six different races with a 5K run/walk and 10K run in various cities in Wisconsin: Pumpkin Run on October 29, 2017; Elf Run on November 19, 2017; Run Into the New Year on December 31, 2017; BIG Chill on January 28, 2018; Cupid Shuffle on February 18, 2018; Luck of the Irish on March 25, 2018. The registration fee for all 6 races is $185 or $32-$37 per individual race.

Wisconsin Chilly Willy Run Series – Another series with six different races, but from November through April: This race series is held throughout various cities in Wisconsin, with all offering a 5K and 2 races offering a half marathon: Milwaukee’s Great Wobble Gobble on November 23, 2017; Last Call 5K and 1/2 Marathon on December 3, 2017; Waukesha Jamboree Frosty 5K on January (TBD for 2018); Flannel 5K on February 24, 2018; Shake Your Shamrocks on March 17, 2018; First Call 5K and 1/2 Marathon on April 1, 2018. The registration fee for all 6 races ranges from $125-$200 or $25-$45 per individual race.

Although our list contains lots of great races, believe it or not, this is just a sample; there are hundreds in the Greater Milwaukee Area.

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