The 7th annual Run Into the New Year attracted close to 2,500 celebrants to State Fair Park on Saturday, without a nugget of deep-fried food to be found.
Instead, a sunny day, a flat course and free champagne induced the record crowd to turn out for the 10K and 5K races that have become a New Year’s Eve tradition in Milwaukee.
Runners celebrate the finish, then the New Year's Eve. Photo by Tom Held
Aaron Nodolf, an attorney from Menomonee Falls paced the 10K field, in a time of 32:26. The victory showed that Nodolf made 2011 a success in his recovery from two knee surgeries.
Matthew Kruger followed Nodolf to the line, in 33:11 and Aric Runzheimer rounded out the men’s top three, in 33:16.
Monica Schoeneck won the women’s 10K, in 38:50, with Molly Woodford and pro triathlete Heather Haviland following in second and third.
The 5K race produced great performances by young and old, fitting for the holiday.
Rachel Werking, just 13 years old, finished second in the women’s division in 18:38, behind Sammi Donovan, who crossed the line in 18:17. Adrienne Amman was third.
At the other end of the chronological order, Lois Gilmore turned in a 33:02 5K at 81 years old. At 566 overall, she was well-placed in the women’s field.
In the men’s 5K, Joshua Pinter took the win in 15:50, followed by Matthew De Villers and Ben Garbe, who both broke the 16-minute mark.
Race Director Cole Braun was thrilled with the turn out for a race that drew 360 in its inaugural year.
“The endurance sports community is amazing,” Braun said. “They come out and have a great frame of mind.”
The race is one of five in the Great Lakes Multisport winter running series, and proceeds benefit Racers Against Childhood Cancer.
This was my first go in the Run Into the New Year and I left West Allis impressed by the course and the race organization. Braun had close to 100 volunteers helping to guide us through the maze of buildings that house farm animals, burger stands and deep-fried food concoctions during the State Fair.
The series of out-and-back stretches kept runners in view, and I noted that Nodolf was farther ahead of me every time I saw him. I’ll take finishing within 10 minutes of the UWM alum a victory worthy of that bottle of bubbly.
A strong finish to the race and the year. Photo by Tom Held