Saturday, September 29, 2007

Appleton Report

I can't believe that I forgot to post a report about the Appleton PowerWalk Half Marathon! The race was great, the people were wonderful, the weather was perfect.

The 9 or so members of the WALK! Magazine walking team met at the starting line before the race. Most of us had on our green shirts. We even had a couple of "guests" who were wearing white magazine shirts join us!

The fast people went up ahead. A group of six of us started out together. Michelle was a little faster and eventually went ahead. The other five of us had the opportunity to chat and really get to know each other over 13.1 miles. The course is pretty flat and for the most part was pretty. The volunteers were very friendly and seemed to have a great time. My favorite water stop was the one commemorating the 100th birthday of the city of Appleton.

When we got close to the bay it was very scenic, and there was a great breeze coming in off the water.

A number of people were cheering us on. Instead of yelling for us by name, they were yelling things like "Go Girls in Green!" or "Go Walking Team!" We picked up a few other people along the way, like Heather from Menasha who walked several miles with us.

My absolute favorite part was when I heard people not with us talking about WALK! Magazine and discussing how much they liked the magazine. How cool is that!

The faster team members were waiting for us to finish and cheered us on. We took a few pictures after the race and went off looking for food. Unfortunately, they ran out of after-race sandwiches! (We finished in about 3:25. There were still plenty of full marathoners on the course!) I received an e-mail from a person associated with the race who said that people were grabbing food for their entire families! He also said there was more food delivered after we had left. We did get plenty of water, bagels, bananas and cookies, though. There were even cans of Coke products available.

This is a very nice small race. The walkers counted in the hundreds, but we were treated as if we numbered in the thousands. Our shirt said PowerWalk on it! The medals change every year, and this year's featured the lighthouse and felt pretty substantial. In addition to the shirt, we also got a great winter hat in our goody bags. Oh, there were shuttles from the local hotels to the starting line, and from the finish line back to the hotels! We caught one at 6:15 and had plenty of time to get to the start.

Conclusion: If you like smaller races, this is the race for you! It doesn't have all of the hoopla of a Country Music Marathon or the Flying Pig, but it is an extremely friendly event that treats the participants well!

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