The first annual Door County Half Marathon and Nicolet Bay 5K drew 581 participants in 2008. This year that number has already doubled with more than 750 of those runners registered to compete in the Half Marathon event on Saturday May 2, 2009.
Oshkosh art teacher Jason Ryf took the honors last year, setting a surprisingly high mark crossing the finish line at 1:08:57 and averaging 5:16 per mile. Ryf, a veteran of over 200 competitive races and 15 marathons, predicted the number of runners would double, if not triple in year two, thanks to a welcoming, enthusiastic community, great organization, and a scenic closed course.
Jason’s enthusiasm was echoed by Roy pirRUNg, a veteran of over 800 races and a member of the USATF Masters Hall of Fame who says, “This was one of the best half-marathon courses I have ever run… It was like running on a track through the forest, the surface was that good.”
The Door County Half Marathon weaves through Peninsula State Park, one of the region’s most popular and revered destinations for golfing, boating, camping, and wildlife. The course, certified by the United States Track and Field Federation, is closed to traffic for the race and provides runners and fans with panoramic bluff-top vistas of the peninsula shoreline.
Bill Wegehaupt has been working on the course for several weeks now. Last week DesignWise Studios joined him in setting up a camera in the bed of Bill’s pickup to film the entire 13.2-mile course. The rough cut is done. For Web purposes it has been time-warped from 53 minutes to less than 10 in order to post it here…
Race co-director Brian Fitzgerald says Door County is uniquely suited to pull off a great event that offers more than just a chance to compete. “The course really stands out, it’s very scenic, but this is also such a hospitable community. There’s so much more here for runners and fans than just a race.”