Health and Wellness

Spectator Report: Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

Last Sunday my wife made her marathon debut at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. Her training was great and she ran a smart race that exceeded all expectations. At the finish line she simply said, “That was great.” You don’t hear to many marathon runners describe running 26.2 miles as great with a toothy smile from ear to ear. She did amazing and we are wildly proud of her.

While she ran our kids, her sister, her parents, and me drove to different spots on the course to cheer for her. We had a blast and the kids were thrilled to see their mom achieving her goal to run a marathon. I am sure someday they will both run a marathon because that is what we do.

Race Start: Grafton Highschool

While waiting for the race to start the ambulance in the below photo was idling on eastbound Hwy 60. The start line was about one block north of this location. The intersection was closed and police officers were stationed on the east and west side of the intersection. I snapped this photo because I have a collection of ambulance photos that I use in elearning content and articles.

Ambulance waiting on eastbound highway 60, about 5 minutes before the official race start

The left turn lane in front of the ambulance is unoccupied and there is a car length of pavement in front of the ambulance.

After an odd rendition of the National Anthem and final words from the race director the marathon started at 7:32. With more than 2000 runners it takes a couple minutes for all of the runners to get to the start line and begin running. As the first waves of runners were passing me, about 1 block south of where this photo was taken (the south side of highway 60), the ambulance lit up its lights, turned on its siren, and began honking its horn to cross the intersection.

The police officers and several volunteers blocked the intersection so the ambulance could pass, as shown below.

Ambulance crossing through the marathon runners one block after they had started running


Although it may seem obvious…if several thousand people are about to run and walk in front of your location and there is a chance you will need to be on the other side of those people and conditions allow (as they did) move the ambulance before those people start crossing in front of you.

To their credit I didn’t hear any grumbling from runners as they passed our position after the ambulance was out of the road. My wife reported she was only held up for a few seconds.

But when a vast majority of the public never thinks about EMS until they actually need EMS it behooves us to make a good impression when we do have a chance to interact.

On the Course

Not much to report from the course except we watched lots and lots of people run by us and four different locations. Since runners of the same pace are usually near each other we saw many of the same people several times. I marveled at the different outfits marathon runners choose which range from shorts and no shirt to tights with a fleece jacket, hat, and gloves to just about every other imaginable combination.

The Marathon Sign

As a runner I am always watching for cleverly worded signs. As a spectator I had less opportunity to see all the signs but this was my favorite.

Me with the cowbell and some random marathon fans.

By Greg

Elearning designer, writer, podcaster, blogger, presenter and paramedic. To relax I run and bike as far and as fast as I can. Also like to read a lot and fast.