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home > races/results > usa: wisconsin > community first fox cities marathon festival of races: an event for everyone

Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races: An event for everyone
Ever wonder where Harry Houdini grew up? I know, what runner hasn't? Here's your chance to trek through Harry's old stomping grounds in Appleton, Wis., during the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races. And you won't escape - pun intended - without having a good time.

Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races: An event for everyone

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By Mark Behan
Posted Saturday, 14 July, 2007

From a marathon to a relay to a kids' fun run and more, the 17th annual Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races - with the emphasis on "community" - offers a race for everyone - with the emphasis on "everyone."

The two-day runapalooza kicks off Saturday, Sept. 22, at 8 a.m. with the Time Warner Cable 5K Run/Walk, followed by the Guardian Kids Fun Run at 10 a.m. Both races start and finish at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton and serve as a prelude to Fox Cities' version of Super Scamper Sunday on Sept. 23.

Sunday's monster menu includes the Community First Fox Cities Marathon, the U.S. Cellular Half Marathon, the Orthopedic & Sports Institute Relay Marathon and the Appleton Papers 13.1-mile PowerWalk. All running races start at 8 a.m. - the walk goes off at 8:05 a.m. - in front of the Barlow Planetarium on the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley campus in Menasha.

"We've had multi-events since the race started," said Debbie Jansen, Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races event manager. "We feel that by having a variety of races, there's something for everyone. It's a great family weekend."

"Something for everyone" includes the Affinity Health & Fitness Expo, pre-race pasta dinners at local restaurants and a plethora of perks and race-day amenities such as post-race refreshments and massage, medals to all participants, chip timing, wind jackets for marathoners, along with long-sleeve shirts, winter hats, goody bags and more to runners in the relay and other races.

"For years we offered prize money (to the top finishers). But we've decided to use that money to give something back to the runners," Jansen said, noting that she expects the two-day event to attract about 5,000 participants. "That's important to us."

And just as the race gives back to runners it also helps numerous charities. This year's charity partners are the Fox Valley Humane Association and American Cancer Society.
To donate or to obtain information on the race charities, visit:

Community support and spirit
Located in northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Cities community comprises the seven cities, towns and villages along the Fox River as it flows from Lake Winnebago northward into the Bay of Green Bay.
The scenic marathon and marathon relay course runs through each of the Fox Cities - Neenah, Menasha, Appleton, Kimberly, Combined Locks, Little Chute and Kaukauna - and since the race's inception, the residents of Fox Cities come out in droves to support participants in the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races.

"The people of Fox Cities are very proud of their communities," Jansen said. "When runners go through the different cities, they will see things that are unique to the communities. For instance, some communities have a strong Dutch heritage and runners may see windmills when they pass through.

"The people of the communities really come out to cheer and support the runners each year. There are bands on the course and cheerleading squads from different cities. Last year, we started the 'curb club' where people make and hold signs of encouragement and make noise."

Ensuring the runners are supported is such an integral part of the race that the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races offers a "spirit challenge" and awards prizes of up to $500 to the team that spreads the most cheer during the event.
"There are a lot of people on the course helping runners," Jansen said. "There's a lot of hoopla."

For information on the spirit (cheerleading) challenge, the student challenge in which children can earn gift certificates for helping during race weekend, and other "challenges" associated with the 2007 Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races, visit

Cool course
If you've ever watched a Green Bay Packers game, you are familiar with the "frozen tundra" known as Lambeau Field. Well, the tundra is not frozen in September. In fact, September weather in the Badger State is not only charming for Cheeseheads at Lambeau historic but refreshingly resplendent for runners.

"It's a beautiful time of year in Wisconsin," Jansen said. "And the course is very scenic as it passes through all seven Fox Cities Communities over two bridges, past three parks along Lake Winnebago, as well as past the lighthouse at Kimberly Point."

This year's marathon course will be run in reverse from other years' races, Jansen said, meaning the race will start at Fox University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley in Menasha and end at Riverside Park in Neenah.

"Because of the change, the last half of the race will be very flat," Jansen said.
Last year's marathon, which had over 1,000 finishers, was won by Paul Skiba (2:32:24) and Sue Pierson (2:56:42).

A number of local hotels are available during race weekend, said Jansen, and many offer race-day shuttle service to the start of the 2007 Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races.

Runners planning to travel to the race should make reservations soon, Jansen said, because there is a Green Bay Packers home game that weekend and rooms are booked quickly.

For information on those hotels visit:
While Wisconsin leads the nation in cheese production, it is also home to a terrific trails and trolley system in the Fox Cities area, the Fox River Mall, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and a offers a "variety of things to do," said Jansen.

Downtown Appleton is known as the economic, cultural, and social heart of the Fox Cities and it includes numerous restaurants, shops, galleries, pubs, live-music venues and educational attractions, including a history museum with exhibits devoted to the aforementioned Mr. Houdini.

For information on what's happening in the Fox Cities, visit Fox Cities of Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureau at and/or Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce at

Come run Fox Cities
This event with a race for everyone in this unique part of the country is worth a go. With the support of over 2,300 volunteers, more than 150 sponsors and thousands of spectators, you, as a participant in the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races, will be treated like royalty, better yet, a member of the beloved Green Bay Packers. And what other race will you be afforded the chance to run through Harry Houdini's hometown? Come run Fox Cities and escape for a good time.

For information on all aspects of the 17th annual Community First Fox Cities Marathon Festival of Races, including on-line registration, training schedules, and pace setters, visit the race's website:



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