Overall Rating
Overall Rating (7 Reviews)
4.3
(7 Ratings)  (7 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.6
SCENERY
4.1
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
3.9
How do you kick off summer in Madison? You RUN MADTOWN! Join for a beautiful running or walking tour of “Madtown.” Races run through several iconic areas of the city including the University of Wisconsin Campus and the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. Run the Twilight 5K on Saturday. This family … MORE
Local Historical Weather (May 25):
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H (°F)  64  67  62  80  84
L (°F)  54  45  52  71  64
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Recent reviews

    Runnerdoug FIRST-TIMER '23

    There were some hills, but the sites were special. We ran on a lake front path, then headed through the U of W campus before going around Camp Randall stadium. … MORE

    There were some hills, but the sites were special. We ran on a lake front path, then headed through the U of W campus before going around Camp Randall stadium. Then we headed south before passing through the Arboretum. We had a couple of big hills before heading to the State Capitol then turning down State Street for a downhill finish. Course support was great with lots of waterstops.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    mjsutton FIRST-TIMER '23

    As part of my 50 State quest, I was looking for a race in Wisconsin that would help me check this state off my list, and the Run Madtown Half … MORE

    As part of my 50 State quest, I was looking for a race in Wisconsin that would help me check this state off my list, and the Run Madtown Half Marathon was a great choice. I had read some generally positive things online about this race, but I didn’t have major expectations going into the weekend and just hoped to soak up the experience, eat some cheese curds and custard, and maybe have a beer. I am happy to report that I was able to do all of these things and added a few “extras,” too!

    Given this race is run over Memorial Day weekend, I decided to take an extra day off work and left late on Thursday evening and returned Sunday night after the race. The timing of this turned out pretty well as I think I was able to avoid some of the more expensive flights by traveling during the “off” travel days of the weekend.

    I flew into Milwaukee and stayed there on Thursday night. Being a Happy Days and LaVerne & Shirley fan, I spent most of Friday taking in some of the sites of the city that were connected to the shows, including the Polish Flats neighborhood (where LaVerne and Shirley lived) and seeing the Bronze Fonze on the river. The Milwaukee City Hall is also a site to behold, and other fans of LaVerne & Shirley may remember it being featured in the opening credits of the show with the words, “Welcome Milwaukee Visitors” on it. I also scheduled a brewery tour at Lakefront Brewery and also enjoyed lunch there (with fantastic cheese curds, by the way). I left mid-afternoon to make my way to Madison, which is a little over an hour from Milwaukee. There is more to do in Milwaukee, but I wanted to get to Madison at a decent time and was also making a slight detour to see some friends along the way.

    I arrived in Madison on Friday evening. The packet pick-up took place at a shoe store in a local shopping center (which is actually quite nice) from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm on Friday and from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday. Packet pick-up is timed a little odd, in my opinion, but once I realized that the race is really geared toward locals (at least local to Wisconsin) and given there is a Twilight 5k Run on Saturday evening before the Half-Marathon on Sunday morning, I guess it makes sense. They also offer same-day packet pick-up, but I think you have to make special arrangements for that. (This is another reason I didn’t want to chance flying in on Saturday given how early the packet pick-up closes that day.) There is not an expo at packet pick-up and it’s a bit “bare bones,” but honestly, it’s fine because I really don’t need more running stuff! 

    Although I researched where to stay based on the start/finish line of the race, I was really pleased with the location of the hotel I selected, which was the Hampton Inn – Madison/Downtown. It is right in the middle of so much – the capitol building, the University of Wisconsin campus, and several restaurants and shops. I spent most of Saturday just walking around Madison – shopping along State Street, enjoying the beautiful weather on the Wisconsin Memorial Union’s Terrace (which overlooks Lake Mendota), and sampling some cheese.

    The race itself was also great, and I couldn’t have asked for better weather. The course starts and ends on the University of Wisconsin campus, winds along the banks of Lake Mendota for a bit, skirts through the University Arboretum (which is lovely), cuts through several neighborhoods and city streets, and ends by going around the capitol and back up State Street to where the race began. It is *quite* hilly at times, and the hills around miles 9 and 12 are no joke. There are plenty of Gatorade and water stations – about every 1.5 miles – although there isn’t a lot of on-course support beyond these awesome volunteers at the aid stations. There is a nice post-race party that offers a free beer, food, and merchandise, although I didn’t hang around too long afterwards. And, the medals were huge! I really liked the design of the medal (which was like a suncatcher with images of Madison) as well as the tech shirt.

    After the race, I was able to make it back to my hotel to get cleaned up, ate some lunch, and then headed back to Milwaukee to catch my flight home with plenty of time to spare.

    I read that Madison’s nickname is “Madtown” because it is anything but conventional, and I can see that. But I have to admit the race is really what you might expect in “Madtown” (sans the hills…oof!). So, if you’re looking for a straightforward but good quality Wisconsin race, Run MadTown is a great choice.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Sunnynflorida FIRST-TIMER '23

    This was my Wisconsin race with my bestie, we do 4 states a year. We knew it would be small because we researched it. All the communication is excellent especially … MORE

    This was my Wisconsin race with my bestie, we do 4 states a year. We knew it would be small because we researched it. All the communication is excellent especially if your not from the area. They knew what they were doing with setup, production, end of event. The medal is outstanding and I believe my largest one so far. Being from Florida, there are some hills, steep, lol. Wish there was an expo of some sort or at least some info on the sponsors or the area, it was a shirt and bib, disappointing. Even after the race, there was merchandise for sale that’s it, no other vendors or activities. The beer tent was closed off which thought was odd, never been to a race where it was separated from the rest of the area. It was kind of awkward, fenced off, hurry drink and leave. There were a few choices of snacks after the half but nothing that most of us carry or bring anyway. I like swag, vendors, info about the area etc esp. when visiting. This did not stop me from loving the race! The people were incredible, every worker, volunteer, police officer, spectator was amazing, it really meant a lot!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    wcso5931 FIRST-TIMER '22

    Run Madtown is a very well produced race. I was not sure what to expect when the packet pickup was in a parking lot with a canopy. I am not … MORE

    Run Madtown is a very well produced race. I was not sure what to expect when the packet pickup was in a parking lot with a canopy. I am not a huge fan of the full expo, but when you see something this small you wonder about the rest of the production.

    However on race morning everything looked like a big city race. The starting area was perfect for the size of the race. I often have a hard time finding a place to stretch and get ready but there was no problem with that at this race. Announcements were helpful and able to be heard easily.

    The course was attractive though not overly exciting. A quick run out of downtown Madison and through the university before hitting a trail and some scenic roads. I had scoped some of the course before the race and know that the run up into the university was going to be an obvious incline. What I did not know about was the fairly significant hill that is presented to you right after mile 9. I have looked at the elevation map and it is definitely on there, but it does not truly convey that this will definitely be a situation where you will need to shift gears. Nothing I couldn’t handle, but certainly an “oh my, that is going to be something” moment. The remained of the race gets you back to where you started.

    The post race was well stocked and I was happy that for a change there were physical therapists available when I came in. It is very nice to have a professional there to stretch you out. Beer, munchies, and the usual also await.

    The biggest lasting impression for me from this race was how friendly everyone associated with it was. So many smiles and genuine people. This is definitely a worthy race to do if one is looking to race in Madison or even Wisconsin in general.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    AJS23 FIRST-TIMER '22

    The Madtown Half was a great rolling course starting and ending at the Capitol. There was plenty of water and Gatorade at all the stations with gels at mile 8. … MORE

    The Madtown Half was a great rolling course starting and ending at the Capitol. There was plenty of water and Gatorade at all the stations with gels at mile 8. There was no expo, just a packet pickup with no clear bag provided (provided morning of race if needed). Free race photos were fantastic!!

    Overall it was a nice race with few spectators but great volunteers. We had a great time after, using the electric bikes and touring the area. It was a nice weekend!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    shawa2007 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Run the southern half of the Madison Marathon course; through the Arboretum. The race producers offer several running challenges in Madison. Race starts on the square, heads up the Observatory … MORE

    Run the southern half of the Madison Marathon course; through the Arboretum. The race producers offer several running challenges in Madison. Race starts on the square, heads up the Observatory Hill, through UWI Arboretum and finishes back at the capitol square.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    KatieD FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was the inaugural running of the Run Madtown Half, though the race itself has existed for many years. It was renamed this year to avoid confusion with the Madison … MORE

    This was the inaugural running of the Run Madtown Half, though the race itself has existed for many years. It was renamed this year to avoid confusion with the Madison Half Marathon in November. Packet pickup was in the Monona Terrace Convention center and was smooth. There was a small expo.

    Races included a .6 mile Kids race, and Twilight 5K and 10K which occurred the night before the Half Marathon. Runners could choose to run the 10K and Half for an additional medal.

    The half course started and finished in front of the State Capitol building. The morning was rainy with temps in the high 50’s but there was plenty of shelter to be found outside of the buildings in Capital Square. Gear check was near the finish line and quick. The course takes runners along the streets of Madison, the University, and then around Lake Wingra and the Arboretum. Most of the course is on streets that are partially closed as well as a short distance on a paved bike path.

    The water stops were plentiful and full of super enthusiastic volunteers. The course has a lot of rolling hills and there was also one hill that was timed for an additional King/Queen of the Hill Challenge that also featured cash prizes for the top 3 overall fastest men and women.

    There were timing mats at the start and at the hill, and split timers at the 5 and 10 mile mark. For some reason those timers did not record my splits, although the mats did. That was my only complaint about the race.

    A full Panera bag lunch was given to finishers, as well as chocolate milk, milk, water, fruit and a complimentary beer. Race swag was a short sleeve tech tee and finisher medal. Race photos were also complimentary and there were many photographers on the course.

    Overall, this was a very enjoyable race. It’s an interesting, challenging course. The city of Madison is a nice location to spend a weekend.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    jkahn95600 Sep 02, 2019 at 10:19pm

    Thanks as I looking for race and Panera bag lunch caught my eye.

    Thanks as I looking for race and Panera bag lunch caught my eye.

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