Madison, Wisconsin is one of my absolute favorite places to run, especially in the summer. It’s a small laid back city with a lot of sights to see. It is also a very fitness friendly town with trails of all types and distances available to the runner and the biker. Add in the lovely weather in the summer and you have a great destination for a runner. It’s also where Beer Geek and I plan to retire to eventually. It took me a long time to convince him (umm, close to 20 years…), but he’s on board with living there from spring through fall and traveling the rest of the year. Sounds like a great retirement plan to me. 6 more years to go…
Here are some of my favorite places to run:
- Mendota Lakeshore Path – This is one of the best known paths in the Madison area, having been in existence since the early 1900s. This path stretches for 19 miles, offering plenty of mileage for marathon training long runs. There are a number of different access points, including the entrance at the student union that acts as the start point of a 5 mile round trip run out to Picnic Point.
- UW Arboretum – This 1200 acre nature area, bordering the southern half of Lake Wingra, has 4 miles of paved paths and approximately 20 miles of trails. While there are a number of hills, the paths are peaceful and surrounded by trees, prairies, and water.
- Monona Lakeshore Path – This is my personal favorite, in part because I am usually staying near this path. This is a paved path around Lake Monona that winds its way along the water and then through neighborhoods for a total of 12 miles. I’m not usually going that far, so I tend to run from Olin Park around to the terrace and back, for a total of 4-5 miles. This past summer I actually ran farther along the path into the neighborhoods on the opposite side of the lake from where we stay. Let’s just say I can’t wait to move to the area.
If the timing is right for you, here are my two favorite races:
- Crazy Legs – This race is crazy! Nearly 20,000 people come out for this race each year, but it’s one of Madison’s best races. At 8K, it’s a nice change from the usual 5K, but still doable for those who have not yet graduated to a 10K. Like many of the races/running routes in this area, there are plenty of hills. It’s held in late April every year. I haven’t gotten to run it myself yet, but my dad and other family members have. It’s definitely on my bucket list.
- Madison Mini – This is Madison’s best known half marathon. Starting just off of State Street near the capitol, it covers all the sites you want to see in Madison. The course includes running past the capitol, a jaunt down State Street, the Arboretum, Camp Randall, and Lake Mendota. Beware, though, this race is hilly and can be very hot as it always takes place in late August. The year I ran it, it was crazy humid. I felt like I was running in Virginia LOL. It’s absolutely on my to do list in a future year.
I’ve waxed poetic about Madison before in my five best things about Madison post. Fingers crossed that someday soon we actually make things happen and get to move there. I may have already picked out my condo with a view of the lake…
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