The encore version of the Summerfest Rock ‘n Sole Run will have a revised set list: an unusual 6.55-mile distance to complement the half marathon, a 5K, and new start and finish areas.
Organizers revealed those changes Thursday morning, and promised the 2012 version of the Rock ‘n Sole would be better than the original.
Specifically, they renewed their promise to have plenty of water and Gatorade for participants.
Problems delivering water to the aid stations on the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge marred the inaugural Rock ‘n Sole and the race organizers have been working to reassure runners still sweating from that misadventure.
The new Rock ‘n Sole Run directors from Vision Event Management, based in Carmel Ind., plan to have 10 aid stations and 700 volunteers on a revised half-marathon course that still includes an over-and-back run on the two-mile bridge.
Other additions include roughly 20 entertainment groups on the course, mile markers with clocks, and a two-day health & fitness expo.
“We want to make this an event that all of Milwaukee can be proud of,” said Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival Inc., the corporation that runs Summerfest.
Smiley said the goal is to replicate the success of Summerfest, draw people from around the country and fill hotel rooms and restaurants with visitors.
To lure repeat customers from the ill-fated inaugural outing, the 2012 Rock ‘n Sole offers a 20% discount and two extra tickets to Summerfest for participants from 2011. That deal is good through March 31st.
Online registration opened Thursday, and the initial fees, through Feb. 29, are set at $60 for the half marathon and $40 for the quarter marathon. The 5K run is priced at $25, through April 30.
Details and registration information can be found here.
The date and start time of the race also have been shifted. Instead of closing Summerfest, the runs will be held on June 23, the Saturday leading into the festival opening. The start time will be 7 a.m.
Runners will find slight alterations and improvements on the Rock ‘n Sole courses.
The start line will be shifted from Harbor Dr. to Lincoln Memorial Dr. That change gives runners a straight shot at the Hoan and more room to maneuver on the approach to the bridge.
The turn-around for the half marathon and quarter marathon will be moved onto Carferry Dr.
Runners will then head north of the Hoan and loop along Lincoln Memorial Dr. and through Lake Park.
To provide an expanded finish area, the last mile of the course will extend along Lake Shore State Park, and turn behind the Marcus Amphitheater. The south gate will be used to provide “a massive finish line,” as described by Jeffery Graves, the president of Vision Event.
The 6.55 (quarter marathon) distance replaces the 10K from the original Rock ‘n Sole and came about because of the course changes.
The 5K participants will run to the top of the Hoan, turn around, and return on the northbound traffic lanes.
“I think the 5K is going to be huge,” Graves said.
An events promoter from Indianapolis, Graves created Vision Events in 2006, after directing the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon for eight years. That half marathon drew 35,000 runners.
His company now directs 18 to 20 races each year, including the 13.1 Marathon in Chicago and the Mini-Marathon in Madison.
The Rock ‘n Sole and the Madison Mini-Marathon will be linked in an M2 challenge, with prizes for the top three male and female runners who compete in both events. All participants who double up will receive special medals.
Graves has been meeting with runners and groups in the Milwaukee area and the Rock ‘n Sole will coordinate with the Badgerland Striders, Fit MKE and Performance Running Outfitters. Proceeds from the run will be shared with the Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin.
“This race has all the components we’re looking for to make a great event,” Graves said.