Overall Rating
Overall Rating (4 Reviews)
4
(4 Ratings)(4 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.8
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
3
The Madison Marathon & Half Marathon start and end on the beautiful Capitol Square, while taking you through some of Madison’s most iconic areas. Madison Festivals has owned and managed the race since 2001. It was run as the Mad City Marathon from 2001-2006, reverting to the name Madison Marathon … MORE
Local Weather (Nov 10)
2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
 
H (°F) 30 29 64 54 57
L (°F) 18 11 43 27 36
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Recent reviews

    westja2005 FIRST-TIMER '09

    Madison marathon is a small to medium size marathon, but the fans made it feel like a big city marathon. It felt like the whole city came out to cheer … MORE

    Madison marathon is a small to medium size marathon, but the fans made it feel like a big city marathon. It felt like the whole city came out to cheer the runs on. The chocolate milk at the end was perfect! One of my favorite marathons.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    20yeargoal FIRST-TIMER '18

    Start line bathroom situation was ridiculous (!!!!); need 10 times the amount of toilets at the start- even if they are then trucked to later mile-markers. There were not enough … MORE

    Start line bathroom situation was ridiculous (!!!!); need 10 times the amount of toilets at the start- even if they are then trucked to later mile-markers. There were not enough RRs anywhere remotely close to the capitol square (and NO business are open on Sunday morning. PREPARE ACCORDINGLY!) Definitely heard this sentiment echoed, especially as every runner knows that the last thing you are going to do is use the RR before you start running. Unfortunately, super bad planning.

    Awesome crowd; really great all throughout the course- a huge bonus

    Gorgeous scenery at the beginning… especially maybe mile 3-6 or so and again after mile 17- which got tough due to the hills but just keep looking at the water to get yourself to that zen!

    Honestly though, the hills sucked.
    Train hills, prepare for hills, and during the race DO NOT STOP RUNNING; you will slow your pace as you ‘run’ up the hills, but keep running.
    The last part of the race is really hilly but it is pretty to look at and once you get through each hill it is a really rewarding feeling.

    If you cannot look straight ahead then look down (I know, I know, not good ‘running advice’) so that you cannot see how much of the hill is left and then just go and when you get to the top, surprise; gorgeous view!

    No swag, which really sucked as far as getting into the excitement of the day.

    Post race amenities were nothing spectacular.

    Gel only at 1 station
    Bananas at 1 station

    Our local (much smaller race) has gel at multiple stops and candy/fruit at others…. I think the MM website was misleading as far as what would be available.

    I had a great race and am glad I did it, but really do not think I will ever do this marathon again; pretty pricey for a shirt and 1 gel.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    1

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    runvirginia FIRST-TIMER '18

    I loved the course--nice variety of town, college, lake, woods, and neighborhoods. All turns were well marked, and volunteers made good use of the names printed on the bib numbers. … MORE

    I loved the course–nice variety of town, college, lake, woods, and neighborhoods. All turns were well marked, and volunteers made good use of the names printed on the bib numbers. It was a bit hilly, but not too bad. It happened to be cold in 2018, but it helped us run faster 🙂 T-shirt is well-designed, on a polyester that feels like a regular T for wearing to the grocery store, etc. (which I like). Medal is large and well-designed. I loved the size of the race–I could see/pass other runners the whole time and I finished in 5:35 (sometimes I am quite alone). I did not carry water, and there were plentiful water stops. (There were free photos–I smeared chocolate GU on my face (it was thick b/c of the cold, clumsy hands), so I am not posting that–but the pics and results were posted *very* quickly. Well organized event!

    Packet pickup was easy (chose the AM option). Madison is a great midwestern town to visit with nice people, ample restaurants and coffee shops. Easy to get around.

    I recommend staying at the HI hostel–nice staff, nice pre and post race chatting with other runners, convenient location.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    KatieD FIRST-TIMER '18

    The Madison Marathon was formerly held Memorial Day weekend but was moved to November after being cancelled in 2012 due to heat. So now the race is guaranteed to be … MORE

    The Madison Marathon was formerly held Memorial Day weekend but was moved to November after being cancelled in 2012 due to heat. So now the race is guaranteed to be cold. How cold? Last year it snowed. This year temps were 25 at race start with the wind chill bringing the temp to a “feels like” 17. But, as Wisconsinites say, it could be worse. 😉

    I picked the Madison Half Marathon because it was late in the year. I was recovering from plantar fasciitis and I wanted to give myself plenty of recovery time. I have run Madison half marathon races in May and August and I enjoy running in Madison. This half marathon course differs from the other races in that it heads north along Lake Mendota vs south towards the University and the Arboretum. I was excited about the change in scenery.

    The race is well planned, with good race communications via email and the Facebook page. Packet pickup is at the Monona Terrace Community Center and there is a small expo. Race swag included a long sleeve tech tee, finisher medal, and free race photos.

    I stayed at a hotel within walking distance of the start line, recommended for those that would like to avoid standing in the cold as long as possible. Gear check is quick though and right near the start/finish line and most people took advantage of it by stripping down to race clothing at the last minute. The half marathon starts 10 minutes after the full marathon. The half marathon is fairly sizeable at over 2600 runners. If you are faster then you will want to get into position earlier as the starting corral is narrow and fills up quickly.

    The course is mainly on roads that are not completely closed, there is a running lane coned off. It makes passing a little difficult at certain areas of the course. Water stops are plentiful due to sharing the course with the full marathon.

    There are a fair number of spectators and the race has some good energy. The course is on the hilly side (for me) with a large double hill during mile 8. There are nice views of the lake, the capital, and some nice Madison homes. Runner tracking is done with an app with splits at 4 positions on the course, the last one being the 10K mark. It seemed to work well for those tracking me.

    A full Panera bag lunch is provided for finishers as well as bananas and oranges and a complimentary beer.

    Overall, I would recommend this race if you aren’t afraid of cold weather. Or hills. I would say the half course for the Madtown Half and the Madison Mini are a bit more scenic for first timers to Madison or for those that prefer warmer weather.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey Nov 13, 2018 at 6:26pm

    I'm hoping your running well in Madison means your PF is fully healed? Thanks for the excellent review, Cathy — I love a good college town, and though I've run… MORE

    I'm hoping your running well in Madison means your PF is fully healed? Thanks for the excellent review, Cathy — I love a good college town, and though I've run in Wisconsin I've yet to visit Madison, so this is appealing despite the prospect of bitter cold. And I do like the idea of being able to stay in the hotel until the last minute, which almost lets you strip off your warm clothes at the last minute and get a running start from the hotel 😁. LESS

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    KatieD Nov 14, 2018 at 7:06am

    Hi Mike! Yes, for the most part the PF is gone. It is so nice to run without pain. I am surprised that you would find that cold weather appealing.… MORE

    Hi Mike! Yes, for the most part the PF is gone. It is so nice to run without pain. I am surprised that you would find that cold weather appealing. :-) Madison is a really fun town though, you would probably really enjoy visiting. You should look into some races there during the spring/summer/fall, that would probably be a better time to visit. ;-) Hanging out on the UW terrace by the lake is kind of the iconic thing to do in Madison. You have to do that! LESS

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