Uncommon race in a beautiful place

13dot1 Half Marathon and 5k returns Sept. 4 to GL

SCOTT KRAUSE AND Todd Sharp  lead the pack of runners on their bicycles at the start of last year’s race.       Aaron Becker photo

by Hannah Tetzlaff

It’s not every race where a woman in her 80s wins first place or where participants can witness the kiss of the summer.

However, Green Lake’s seventh-annual 13dot1 Half Marathon and 5k Fun Run — occurring Sunday, Sept. 4 — are not common, run-of-the-mill races.

According to Green Lake Half Marathon board member Wendy Schultz, it was fellow members Kristin and Dennis Galatowitsch who created quite a stir last year with their public display of affection.

“Last year, Kristin was handing out the medals as people got their awards, and Dennis … came in first place for his age group. So Kristin, his wife, handed him his medal,” Wendy said. “Well, there’s a big crowd in the park and nobody knows who is connected to who, so he takes his award, he grabs his wife, tips her backwards and kisses her. It was quite funny.”

Wendy noted the other board members, including her husband Tom Schultz, Sandie Quade, Chris Robinson and Ellen Koeppen, are either runners themselves or interested in health and wellness.

Besides the famous kiss, another uncommon trait of the event is the diverse age range that participates.

“We usually always have a gal from town who walks [the half marathon] with her daughter-in-law … and she gets first place for [80 and above age group],” Wendy said.

She added the marathon and 5k are broken into age groups split by 10 years with the half marathon ranging from 0 to 18, 19 to 29, 30 to 39, etc. The 5k is divided into 1 to 12, 13 to 19, 20 to 29, etc. since more families and young kids participate in the 5k.

Both races offer first- through third-place ribbons for each age category and trophies for the top overall male and female finisher in both races.

Not only can older women enjoy win first-place medals, but children also can have fun participating in a free kids race at 10 a.m., making it an event for all ages.

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With signs, foam fingers and medals, the committee board members are in the half marathon spirit. Pictured are, from left, Kristin and Dennis Galatowitsch, Sandie Quade, Tom Schultz, Chris Robinson, Wendy Schultz and Ellen Koeppen. Hannah Tetzlaff photo

Though surprising kisses and a range of participants make the running competition interesting, the one aspect that sets the half marathon apart from others is the scenery.

“It’s probably the most beautiful race,” Wendy said. “You can see the lake throughout much of the race. There is beauty from shoreline to woods to beautiful mansions to being in town to being in quiet nature. It’s such a variety.”

The half marathon and 5k races start at 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively, at the start/finish line in front of the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce by Playground Park.

The route goes from Mill Street to South Lawson Drive to the bike path along Highway 23 to the Green Lake Conference Center and then back again, allowing runners to marvel at the lake.

Many people seem to agree with Wendy’s assessment of the route’s beauty since more than 500 competitors flock to Green Lake for the race every year. Some entrants come from across the nation to participate.

“We have had a number of people who like to try to do a half marathon in every state … and they have chosen our race for the Wisconsin half marathon,” she said, noting a couple from Maine did that last year.

Having more than 500 competitors traveling to Green Lake to race is a great achievement for Wendy and her fellow members; however, her best memory is of one woman’s fight to run.

“We had a young lady who had breast cancer and came back,” Wendy said. “She signed up for the race one year and then she found out she had breast cancer and had to go through chemo. She couldn’t run it, so I allowed her to come back next year … So she came back and ran it and that was pretty cool.”

Feats such as this young woman’s success, an older woman’s victory and a husband’s celebrated kiss cannot happen without the help of volunteers who make these races possible.

For more information regarding volunteering, registration, the pancake breakfast, award ceremony or any other details concerning the races, individuals may visit www.greenlakehalfmarathon.com.