Milwaukee runners disappointed with late marathon cancelation, planning alternative race for same day

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon scheduled for Oct. 2nd is canceled after race organizers pulled the plug just a few weeks before race day.

They say construction forced them to rework the race route, and ultimately, they could not secure the proper permits from the city.

This year there will be no finish line. Runners will still get finisher's medals and a refund, but so many people are disappointed.

Almost immediately, several Milwaukee running clubs planned a replacement race, but they say it just won't be the same.

Tom Vonck was preparing to run the marathon. He said, "It was supposed to be my first marathon ever. So I've been training for months to do it."

Vonck has been training for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon for a long time, running the route to get used to the elevation changes.

This weekend his training plan has him running 21 miles, his last long run before the actual race. But now he must rethink his plan.

Vonck said, "Do I go for my next long run? If I sign up for a new marathon and it's a month later, then that changes the whole training plan. So I'm trying to stay on track."

Vonck is one of thousands of runners who woke up Friday to an email from race organizers saying the 41st marathon was canceled.

Race director Scott Stauske said, "The city of Milwaukee needed some things from us we have never had to do in the past."

Stauske said road construction forced organizers to alter the course this year, but the city did not approve plans for the new course in time.

"They have policies and procedures in place that we weren't able to fulfill, said Stauske.

This year's route was to showcase the city and 80% of the course had views of the lake. But instead the 3,300 runners from around the world will miss out.

Patrick Bieser is the organizer of Milwaukee's OMG Running Group. He said, "All organizations that try to get stuff done in Milwaukee struggle with getting permits. The city just doesn't seem to be very welcoming to the running community here."

Bieser says more than 2,000 people are a part of Milwaukee's running community. The OMG running group is planning to band together with other clubs to hold an alternate race on the same day.

Bieser said it will be "No cost, all volunteer-run, and we hope to have a spontaneous party on marathon day."

Vonck is one of the runners already planning on running the unofficial marathon so that all his hard work pays off. He said, "It's exhausting and it's exhilarating, and it's rewarding."

The OMG running group says the alternative marathon will be held at South Shore Park Oct. 2nd. They'll run six miles out and back twice.

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