Nearly 2,000 runners will put a champagne finish on 2011, or kick-start 2012, in the annual Run into the New Year at State Fair Park.
With the field growing each year, the 5K and 10K races organized by Great Lakes Multisport are starting to rival the Polar Plunge as New Year traditions.
Cole Braun launched the Run into the New Year in 2005 to raise money for Racers Against Childhood Cancer and give athletes their own way to start their holiday celebrations. In keeping with the festive theme, bottles of champagne and a non-alcoholic variety are distributed to all participants.
The party atmosphere is balanced by serious competition. The course record for the 5K is a respectable 15:11 and Aric Runzheimer ran a 32:54 to win the 10K in 2010.
Run into the New Year participants have handled all sorts of weather.
Photo courtesy of RunningInTheUSA.com
“It’s fun to watch those fast guys compete,” Braun said.
As it has grown over the years, the Run into the New Year has attracted more groups of friends and families gathering for the holiday and looking for an athletic way to launch their party.
The start time for the 5K is 11:30 and the 10K goes off at noon. Registration will be open in the Wisconsin Products Pavilion from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, and 10 to 11:15 a.m. Saturday.
Other options: In Fond du Lac, the New Year’s Eve Chilly/Chili Run/Walk starts at 3 p.m. at the Marian University Hornung Student Center.
In Middleton, the New Year’s Day Dash starts at 11 a.m. at the Quaker Steak and Lube. The event includes a 5-mile run, 2-mile walk and a 1-mile run for kids.