Back in the spring of 2008, a few of us were discussing the Chicago-area spring marathon offerings, and we realized they were slim. We wanted to help fill that void, and started tossing around ideas and naming communities that may be a good fit for hosting a marathon. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a race site, the biggest being finding 26 miles of road that doesn’t cross state highways or other major thoroughfares. Other elements we ranked as important were parking availability and community acceptance.
We had some experience working with the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau on the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon marketing, and knew that they were a “sports-friendly” area. We called Dennis with the CVB to run the idea past him; he suggested that we set up a meeting to discuss.
A couple of weeks later, Dennis introduced us to Sgt. Jim Heiring of the Kenosha Police Department. We were prepared to hear about obstacles, but Sgt. Heiring pulled out a map and showed us his suggestions for a marathon course. Wow!
We then scheduled a meeting with (former) Mayor Keith Bosman, and he was in support of the event too. How lucky were we to have such a welcome response from multiple city departments?!
The Wisconsin Marathon was born!
After that, we worked tirelessly to get the marathon and half marathon off the ground, and decided to add some short, kids dashes to incorporate more community participation. Our inaugural event was held on the first Saturday of May 2009, where we had approximately 2,000 participants. The race has been hosted on the first Saturday of May ever since.