Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Brewers Sausage Race 5K Recap

On Saturday, July 28th, thousands lined up on Canal St. by Miller Park to race with the Brewers Sausages - Chorizo, Italian, Bratwurst, Hot Dog, and Polish - and I was one of them (one of the thousands, not one of the sausages). Below is a full recap of my experience, but if you want the short and sweet version...

  • Organization of the race from start to beer could have been vastly greater.
  • I finally got to see Miller Park the way Aoki, Hart, Lucroy, and Braun see it. 
  • A special thank you goes out to the Milwaukee Police Department for scheduling Officer Man Candy to work that day.

The Start
A more disorganized beginning to a race you will be hard pressed to find. Thankfully, organizers cap this race, but, unfortunately, the pace markers were not only NOT well marked, but there wasn't enough room at the start line for everyone. Maybe 500 feet separated the 6-minute mile group at the start of the line and the walking group at the end. The walkers, I should note, were meant to start 15 minutes after the runners. So why they were lined up with the rest of us I do not know as 15 minutes is plenty of time to move them from the adjacent parking lot to the start corral.

Meanwhile, the packed crowd left precious little room on Canal St. for the rest of us in the middle. Though we tried to pack in, hundreds were left in the Brewers parking lot to fend for themselves and try to get in line once the race started.

I know what you're thinking.

The timing chip on your bib doesn't start until you cross the start line.

Am I right?

Well, it's true, BUT, as I've seen in most every race I run lately, race etiquette is not so common, which makes a difference when you're running for time.

Understandably, many people complete these 5Ks for fun. Just as many people, however, are racing against their time and use these races either to achieve personal records or to train for longer distances.

To make a long story short, getting a good start is important, and the 7 women chatting and walking abreast of each other in the 8-minute mile pace group at the start line will be on the receiving end of some bad karma if I have anything to say about it (which I don't).

For those new to running and races, one of the most important rules you should follow (and I claim this as the most important because I see so few people do it) is that slower runners and walkers stay to the right while faster runners pass on the left. Like driving, still with me? So if you're running and get a stitch and need to walk (we've all been there) take a quick glance behind you before coming to a dead stop (another pet peeve of mine) and if there's no one directly behind you slow down and move over to the right. Then slow down to a walk.

 Please do this. It makes everyone happier.

The Route
This 5K was one of the easiest I've done in awhile. No major hills and mostly open pavement, which is probably horrible at the peak of a hot summer day. The crowd thinned out after the first 10th of a mile, and the streets were wide enough for all of us to make space.

That is, until volunteers started yelling at us to move to the right because the lead runners were lapping back. Ugh, I know right? Those lead runners are such show offs!

Ultimately though, the route was nice and apparently Officer Man Candy was scheduled to work that day and did his job very well, observing the race, blocking traffic, and looking fine for us lady runners.

The Stadium
I've never been in the bowels of Miller Park before, in fact, I'm not even sure they have public tours on a regular basis. I do know, sidenote, that you can pay $100 for a tour on game day and go down Bernie's slide, but that's limited to 6 people per game day.

The route took us through the media entrance and onto the field along the first base line, and then we ran out past third where Braun stands. Most people I noticed ran full out during this phase as excitement levels were high. I made the decision to walk through in order to extend my time and take a look around.

It was pretty awesome, gotta tell ya.

There was a video playing on the screen of Brewers personnel and players thanking us for joining the race, which was a benefit to the MACC Fund. It was a nice touch.

The Finish
By the time I finished there was a crowd at the end of spectators and runners who had just finished. The minute I crossed the finish I hit a wall of people that volunteers were hopelessly trying to move.

ProTip: Set up barricades to corral the runners immediately away from the end and to provide a permanent, immovable space for the finish line. Folks can still observe and hang out, but it's much easier to keep people behind a metal barricade than it is to move a sea of humanity with just the sound of your outdoor voice.

The price of race registration also included a hot dog and beer, which they served out of the Sausage Haus, har har. There were 5 lines. One for the hot dog, one for the water, one for condiments, one for peanuts, and another for beer. Rather than utilize the nice, long, counter space in the Sausage Haus, the hot dogs were served at one window, the water across the building, the peanuts next to the water, the condiments diagonal from the hot dogs, and the beer outside.

Confused? Yeah, us too. I skipped the peanuts and water line, wondered why they didn't just line stuff up at the counter more than once, and, ultimately, enjoyed my hot dog and beer at 9:30 AM.

The Surprise
Despite the very odd choices race organizers made in organizing the event - why the DJ booth and incredibly loud speakers were located right next to the Info booth, for example - I had fun, got my hot dog and beer, and...


Randomly met up with my friend Meghan, who was in town visiting from San Francisco!

It was pleasant surprise, more pleasant than enjoying beer at 9:30 AM, and vastly more pleasant than being passed by the 17-minute 5K guy as I rounded the 1st mile bend.


  1. It's official: after learning that you get to SLIDE DOWN BERNIE'S SLIDE on this tour, I now have a new dream. Makes me wish I had a milestone birthday or something coming up, so I could justify the $100 price tag.

  2. It was an awesome surprise to see you too! And seriously, only $100 to slide down the slide? I smell an activity on my next MKE trip.

    You also forgot about how the chip wasn't your ACTUAL time, but the time of the CLOCK when you crossed the start. I don't quite understand the point of even having a chip then.


The only thing missing from this conversation is your voice. Deposit Your 2¢ Here.