We spoke with race directors and past participants to get their take on this popular Wisconsin race, including Heather, a repeat EC Half Marathon finisher, and a 2017 EC Half Marathon Pacer, and Mike, a marathon maniac and 4-time EC Marathon Pacer. Afterward, it was clear that the Eau Claire Marathon weekend is really something special. Here are three reasons to run in 2017:
Not only is the course of the Eau Claire Marathon USATF Certified (re: Boston Qualifying) and chip-timed, but it's also wonderfully scenic, beautiful, and mostly flat. According to the race website, all races start and finish in Carson Park, a 134-acre peninsula surrounded by Half Moon Lake. The full marathon route crosses 11 bridges and runs through several parks, allowing runners to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of both the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers. New additions to the course take runners over the high bridge, through the historic Third Ward neighborhood and the heart of the newly designed UWEC Commons, and finally, route runners down the famous Water Street.
Of the course, Heather, says, "The whole community comes out for the event and most areas of the course are lined with spectators cheering on runners, including dance teams, high school bands, DJ's, families, etc. The number of spectators increases each year!"
Mike, says, "[The marathon]has a gorgeous course that crosses the river at several places. Plus, it's mostly flat, so it's great for first-time marathoners, or people trying to qualify for Boston."
The Blugold Mile
What's a Bluegold Mile, you might ask? It's a mile of seemingly unending screaming spectators cheering you on when you need them most. Descriptions may vary, but we've been told that you can hear the Blugold Mile from a block away, and the crowds rival those of Boylston St. in the famed Boston Marathon. In other words, it's awesome and completely unique to the Eau Claire Marathon!
Heather says, "The timing is perfect (mile 10.5 of the half and mile 23.5 of the full), you're tired, and the sights and sounds completely distract you from any pain. As you enter campus, you are greeted by the UWEC band and mascot, and then hundreds and hundreds of students cheering, yelling, holding signs, spraying water guns, costumes and more!"
Mike says, "I really love the Blugold Mile, it really energizes the runners at a point when they really need it."
Related: How to Be a Good Marathon Spectator
Like all good races, the Eau Claire Marathon doesn't mess around when it comes to the post-race celebration. At the finish, runners will find food, music, and beer (after collecting their HUGE, hard-earned medals, of course!), plus a massage tent and other race amenities, all within beautiful Carson Park. Mike says,
"It's a great event that just keeps getting better every year!"
Aside from the standard marathon fanfare (you know, t-shirts, medals, bananas), ECM offers runners an incredible course, fanatic spectators, and a finish line party like no other.