Letter from the Prez!


e56fa108-d42e-4e0c-add8-3ca5fab878b1The Prez says:

Welcome to the “new and improved” Badgerland Strider Website!  With the demise of the newsprint Strider newsletter we hope to make this your one stop location for all things Strider.  We know this has been long-overdue and we are glad to finally have it LIVE!  This is only phase one of the site and our goal is to eventually make online membership/race registrations possible, in an effort to save you money!  Most of us have no experience in working on websites and we are ALL volunteers (more on this later) so please be patient as we work out the bugs/fixes that will surely be needed.

Membership in the organization has exploded over the past several years and we have been getting a lot of questions about who we are and what being a member is all about.  The Badgerland Strider’s are a social club with a passion for running.  Our goal is to promote running and a healthier lifestyle.  We do this through a variety of programs and road racing opportunities.  Many of you joined the Club because you heard about the generous discounts our members receive from local running stores.  Did you know you may actually be able to recover your entire membership fee the very first time you buy a pair of running shoes from one of our sponsors? Most of you know about the  generous discounts that can be had on race registrations.  One $20 membership fee covers all the members of our household. So if just two family members sign up for a race like the Strider Half they would save $22 on their combined registration fees, $2 more than the $20 family membership actually costs!  And if each buys a pair or two of running shoes a year the saving can really add up.  Those of you who use the Pettit indoor running track in the winter months you already know that you save $2 each time you run there.

The club also has dozens of free fun runs, training sessions and a few purely social events too.  On 25 or more Wednesday nights each year we have “fun runs”  (check out the schedule here) for our members at various locations around town.  Some are in Milwaukee County Parks or the Pettit Center.  Three times a year we rent the entire Zoo and run past the animals then hold a party in the Zoofateria!  We even have one of our free runs at local Micro Brew Pub where we pick up the tab andeveryone can have a few of Milwaukee’s finest beverages.  Our fun runs are all free to our members and include free ‘liquid refreshments’ and snacks after a 3 or 6 mile run at your own pace. This is great way to meet some of your fellow runners and learn about club activities.  Some fun runs have over 200 of your fellow Strider’s in attendance!

For those of you that want to train seriously we have Tuesday night track “speed and functional strength” workouts at Hart Park in the summer and then move the runs indoors to the Pettit center in the winter months.  The track workouts are free to members and non-members alike and they WILL kick your butt but they are so much fun that this is the fastest growing segment of our Club.  Come on out to give it a try since it is open to everyone, regardless of ability and speed.  We simply want you to reach your goals and if getting fitter is in your plans, we know this will help.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the Strider’s signature event the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. Held the first Sunday in October our award winning 37 year old Marathon is by far the largest and most respected marathon in Wisconsin.  The accurately measured 26.2 mile course has a several hundred foot downhill trend and has seen more runners qualify for Boston than any other Wisconsin marathon.  Whether you’re an accomplished marathoner or finally running your first 26.2 we won’t just take your registration dollars and say “see you on race day”.  We will help you train too!

Everyone who signs up for the Lakefront marathon is welcome to attend our Lakefront Marathon Build-up program.  This decades old program attracts hundreds of runners on Saturday mornings starting at 6-8 miles in late June gradually increasing up to 22 miles a few weeks before race day.  And we are talking about a serious support program here folks not just placing a cooler of water out on a bike path and telling you to go run around.  We have dedicated volunteers manning aide stations every several miles with water, gatorade and gel packs for the longer runs.  The finish area has plenty of fluids, fruit and snacks to help you recover after your run.  We also have Medical support at our finish area where accomplished marathoner and Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Mike Gordon and staff of physical therapists from Aurora Health Care will be there to help analyze those running injuries that tend to pop up.  The best part is the price.  The Lakefront marathon build up program is free to anyone who is signed up for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon!

NEW!   For those of you that want an even more structured plan we will walk you through the whole training process and add some racing experience with our new all-inclusive program. This will truly be a “VIP” package, not just preferred parking and toilets.  If you signed up for Lakefront we have a new program that includes mentoring from a certified RRCA running coach and three additional races designed to give you a true road racing experience. We are including the Superun 5K in June, the Cudahy 10 mile in late July, and the Strider Half Marathon in late August.  These three races fit perfectly into your Lakefront marathon training.  This includes a shirt from each race, a couple of free breakfasts and 3 post race parties with free liquid refreshments Strider style! We are also working with several seasoned running experts to put on clinics designed to help you with everything from stretching to nutritional advice.  Put this all together and you’re sure to be ready on Marathon Sunday.  We’ll even throw in a “I’m training for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon technical tee shirt to help you brag a little!  Read more about the program HERE!

The Strider’s have running programs for our younger members too.  We are also introducing a NEW COACHED program for teenage runners beginning May 30.  Our certified coaches will help them train during the summer months.  The emphasis on this program is having fun..and getting stronger/faster, which will build confidence and further their self-esteem.  It is open to any (going into) Middle School or High Schooler who can run a minimum of one mile non-stop.  Get more information and REGISTER HERE.  Our “I Can 26.2 It! program is designed for the youngest of Striders.  Kids, ages 5-12 run as a group at a variety of locations around town one night each week, then finish the remaining 1.2 miles of their training program crossing the Lakefront Marathon finish line just before the marathoners on race day!  This is sure to inspire many of them to continue to develop as runners.   Bonus:  While the kids are running and learning life-lessons from the Girls on the Run coaches, the adults will lace up the sneakers and go for a group run too!  Last year we had about 17 average/week and it was fun!

You might be thinking that all this stuff has got to cost a bunch of money.  It does.  But don’t get nervous, this is NOT a pitch for donations.  Your $20 membership fee doesn’t go very far towards paying our bills.   Chicago’s largest club charges $60 for a membership and almost $200 for their marathon training program and this doesn’t cover entry to any races.  So how do we keep our’s free?  Well, of our revenue comes from our 19 races.  Some of them very little money and were designed as sort of training runs for the Lakefront Marathon.  The Cudahy 10 miler and the Strider Half at Estabrook are distance that fit perfectly into the Lakefront marathon training program.  The $13 South Shore Half is set two weeks before Boston and is the perfect distance for those running the iconic Marathon.  Most of our races do make some money.  Lakefront has generally been our largest revenue producer.  It also requires the most work from our volunteers.  Many of our race captains and key volunteers have decades of road racing experience allowing us to put on professional quality events.  With around 700 of our members running the Lakefront marathon, over 1000 of us volunteering on race day and hundreds more working on pre-Lakefront training events you can see that our club puts a lot of effort in to our signature event.  Keeping the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon healthy helps keep the Badgerland Striders healthy. Help us stay strong, keep our prices low and continue to give back to the running community.  Run or volunteer for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.  Run our races.  Volunteer at one of our events.  Remember, ALL proceeds from ALL Strider events are returned to the local running community and we have some exciting opportunities in the works!

We are proud of our past accomplishment and the tremendous growth we have seen over the past several years.  But, we are even more excited at the momentum we are experiencing currently.  This new website, the new youth program, the coaching, redesigned track and speed workouts and many other newly introduced ideas are just the beginning!  We have a lot of ideas and we WANT and NEED your support to continue being one of America’s largest and best-valued running club.  
Pete Abraham
Strider president