Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon back in person on its 40th year

NOW: Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon back in person on its 40th year

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, runners and volunteers of the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon were excited to participate in the race in person Sunday morning.

The marathon kicked off bright and early at Grafton High School. Runners were happy to be back in person for the 40th Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon which had over 2500 runners from 46 states and six countries participating this year.

"With so many events all across society being canceled last year because of covid, it is great to be back in fall marathon season with live races so we are thrilled to be here," said Lucia Cronin, the lakefront marathon ambassador captain.

"I think every runner has just been been waiting for the the races to open up. We all kind of got sick of all the virtual races, we want a real in person race," said Greg Matthews, a pacer of the marathon. 

The course goes along Lake Drive in Bayside, Fox Point, Whitefish Bay, Shorewood, and Milwaukee. The finish line is at the Summerfest grounds.

The excitement and energy was in the air as thousands of runners, volunteers, and spectators made their way to Grafton to kick-off the marathon.

"You could feel it throughout the whole day even starting at mile two there was people on the side of the road and on country roads people were happy to be out and that kept me going," said Matt Barrett, the winner of the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.

"It's a fast flat course so a lot of people use this race to qualify to participate in the Boston Marathon," said Cronin.

The weather was a little gloomy, and runners ran with some rain, but they didn't seem to mind it.

"I like it to be a little bit cooler but it's not hot, it's not gonna be sunny and usually the heat and the sun is what really bothers runners," said Matthews.

"I preferred the rain it was actually nice and kinda kept cooling me off," said Barrett.

Some runners have participated in this marathon multiple times because they enjoy the course a lot, like Erin Smith who was running it for the fifth time.

"The course is the best course. It's so convenient because it's downhill and you end up downtown and people along the way all the different communities, I live along the course so it's nice to see familiar faces," said Smith.

"The finish is really pretty it's like a hometown feel," said Cheryl Naughton, a runner.

"This is my second time that I've done it. I had a lot of fun doing it in 2019 so I came back to do it again. I feel like it's a great way to give back to the running community.  It's just fun meeting the new people that are running their first marathon all the way to the people who have ran hundreds of marathons," said Matthews.

And for others, it was their first time running in the marathon like Barrett, who has been wanting to do the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon for a while now. 

"I have been running for about half my life now. Nothing really happened in 2020 because of covid and when we got to 2021 I was looking for a marathon and this was on that was in my radar," said Barrett.

And what made it even sweeter, was him winning the marathon on his first time participating in it.

"What's going through my head right now is that I'm tired. I'm ready for coffee and a burger. I'm very thankful for the day and I'm thankful for all the volunteers and people who put this on. With nothing happening in 2020 it's just great to be back in person having a good time," said Barrett.

Organizers of the marathon said they are very happy they were able to bring the event back in person and bring the running community together again. 

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