Posted by Pete Abraham, Strider President    


The 37th Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon is in the books. Every marathon runner remembers crossing the marathon finish line for the very first time knowing they had just completed the entire 26.2 miles and joined the 0.5% of Americans that had officially run a marathon. Many first time Lakefront finishers will go on to run other marathons around the country and hopefully many of you will one day run Boston. You’ll find that other than the 26.2 mile distance each and every marathon will be unique. A lot of times it comes down to the ‘little’ things that can really make the day special. Lakefront’s By Runners – For Runners’ slogan pretty well sums up our attitude when staging our event. The Striders ‘all volunteer’ workforce devotes it’s efforts toward making your day memorable. The decisions we make are based on what’s best for the participants, not on whats best for our wallets. Our $80 price is pretty reasonable by industry standards but with no salaried staff or paid race management companies involved we have the luxury of using your registration fees to provide a lot of the ‘little’ things you have come to expect at Badgerland Strider events. Some might think bananas, Mylar blankets or bottled water are pretty basic finish line amenities and the Striders certainly agree. But we also take that extra step to make your finish-line experience as pleasant as possible. Consider the huge tent near finish – the rental fee for that tent is close to $5000! While we’ve been blessed with pretty decent weather in the recent past if mother nature were to decide not to cooperate we want our runners, their family and friends to have a warm, dry place for their post race celebration. We also pay to use the High school in Grafton to keep you out of the elements before the race. And most of you probably didn’t know that we pay the parking fees for each car that uses the Italian community center. We even provide free shuttle service between the finish line and the ICC for runners and spectators alike. These are all ‘little’ perks that ‘for-profit’ race management companies may decide not to pay for.
But there’s much more that goes into putting on a marathon. We are blessed with the most experienced and talented race staff anywhere. The Striders have produced over 1,000 races in their 40+ year history. Dozens of experienced race directors play key roles at Lakefront. Len Wachiak has been a  MLFM captain for all 37 years. Former Lakefront race director and past Strider president Glenn Wargolet is our finish line director. Other past presidents Dennis Novak, Jerry Anderson and Andrew Delzer all play important roles as do at least two dozen current and former Strider race directors who serve as captains or supervisors.
The Striders are also fortunate to have had a lot of great Lakefront Race Directors over the years. Most of us will never understand just how much time and energy goes into the position. Race director Erin Smith, who put on a fantastic event for the second straight year has decided to step down from the position.  Erin, you will be missed! The Striders salute you!
Perhaps the most common feedback we get from the participants is about you guys, our volunteers. The thousand or so Strider members who volunteer your time to make this event great. Whether its handing out shirts, working a water stop or acting as a sentry out on the course, you guys are our secret weapon! You are runners. You know what runners want, and what they need to make it through the race. By Runners – For Runners, that’s what the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon is all About!