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home > community > viewpoint > cellcom green bay marathon, half marathon—“touch the tundra”

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, Half Marathon—“Touch the Tundra”
Coming May 18th, a Marathon and Half Marathon—Marathon Relay and 5K too—starting and finishing at historic Lambeau Field. Enjoy the Expo, pasta dinner, and awards ceremony at Lambeau Field Atrium. Terrific events are for you!

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, Half Marathon—“Touch the Tundra”

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Monday, 7 January, 2008

The ninth annual Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in famous destination Green Bay, Wisconsin, will be a tremendous event for participants from all over the land. Lambeau Field is a national landmark for all sports fans, and these races start right in front of the legendary facility on Lombardi Avenue—and the marathon and half marathon actually finish going through the stadium. Touch the Tundra!

This is really a three-day, six event combination of races anchored by the top notch Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. The six events include a children’s fun run, the WPS Kids’ Power Run ½ mile on Saturday, May 17; the 5K run, 5K walk, half marathon, marathon, and marathon relay all with simultaneous starts (7:00 a.m.) will run on Sunday, May 18th. There is something for everyone! The Prevea Health Expo runs Friday 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The highly regarded pasta dinner, included with race registration, runs from 4:00 p. to 8:00 p.m. Packet pickup is available all during the expo and right up to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. All this will take place at the Lambeau Field Atrium immediately adjacent to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, also located in the Atrium.

For the first seven years the races started and ended in the downtown. Last year they decided to move to Lambeau, and the response was tremendous. In so doing they helped to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Lambeau, which opened in 1957.

These events are among the best planned, best executed, most enjoyable and rewarding road races in the USA. Event Director Sean Ryan and his very able staff insures all details are covered, and they do so with every runner, every guest in mind. Even getting there is easy with conveniently located Austin Straubel International Airport only a few miles away; getting around in Green Bay is also quite easy, whether by car or on the Green Bay Metro. And there is a lot to see and do in Green Bay, which straddles the Fox River at the head or south end of namesake Green Bay, an arm of Lake Michigan.

This is one of the very best of spring marathons, with average high temperature of 69, average low of 46, and a mean of 57 degrees. And the course, outlined below, is a terrific tour which includes quiet residential streets, the dynamic downtown, and even the Fox River Trail. And Green Bay prides itself on being a generous and welcoming community, as evidenced by the outstanding volunteer effort along the course. Some 6,700 participants from all over the US and many other countries enjoyed the Green Bay hospitality last May. Check the race Website for details on the schedule and lodging options at

Building Traditions and a Great Reputation
The race was founded in 2000, and has grown steadily in both participation and reputation ever since. In national road racing circles the organization’s skill, innovative concepts, and success have gained tremendous respect and admiration. Excellent sponsorship from Cellcom and many others has provided a foundation for first class road racing. Moving to the Stadium District positively changed and enhanced the character of the events, and has made it as unique as the Green Bay Packers. Those who have no reference to football will be impressed with the outstanding organization and amenities offered. As an example, the “Half Way Party” and the “Wall Party” at 20 miles are sure to boost the spirits and energy levels of all marathoners. All volunteers take great pride in this effort and in showing the famous Midwestern hospitality and generosity. Six different events are offered, six different options for distance, pace, and capability. All will enjoy the amenities and the atmosphere.

The Courses
Before getting that up close and personal look at the legendary turf of Lambeau in Ashwaubenon--the Tundra--runners in the half and full marathon start just west of Lambeau Field on Lombardi Avenue, named for one of football’s greatest coaches. The course heads toward downtown Green Bay before turning back to Ashwaubenon and beautiful, mostly residential streets. The courses are joined until just before mile 12, where they split with the half marathoners heading west to Lambeau and the marathoners turning south along the Fox River. The “Half Way” party for marathoners is adjacent to the famous National Railroad Museum.

Marathoners continue south to De Pere before crossing the river on the De Pere Bridge into Allouez. Heading north along the river runners join the Fox River Trail, a paved trail which provides a very pleasant six miles of the 26.2. You will pass the beautiful White Pillars historic home as well as the Hazelwood House, another historic building along the river. The “Wall Party” will also be along the trail at mile 20 before runners reach mile 22 and the turn west over the Walnut Street Bridge.

Just before crossing the bridge you will pass City Hall, and just after crossing you will pass near the Neville Public Museum before heading south through more Green Bay neighborhoods and returning to Lambeau Field in Ashwaubenon. There will be clocks and timing mats every five miles. Water stops, also offering Gatorade, will be placed in 22 locations, with numerous aid stations as well.

Green Bay Today
Green Bay is home to about 107,343 in the city and 274,734 in the greater metro area. It is a port on the Green Bay, and, like all of Wisconsin, is shaped by water. It sits astride the Fox River which runs from nearby Lake Winnebago to Green Bay. It is Wisconsin’s third largest city. This is a dynamic region with a booming high tech and manufacturing base and the traditional meat packing plants. In addition to Lambeau Field and the Packers Hall of Fame there is a lot to see and do. It is a terrific town for running with public byways and parks. The National Railroad Museum is one of the best, with over 70 locomotives on display along with a variety of rolling stock. Some of its more famous exhibits include the locomotive Big Boy, recognized as the world’s largest steam locomotive; and the General Eisenhower Command Train from World War II. And the Neville Public Museum is a must, including an excellent presentation of “On the Edge of the Inland Sea”, the story of this part of Wisconsin over 12,000 years.

The adjacent Door Peninsula provides a wonderful tour as well. The Door Peninsula reminds many of New England more than the Midwest, and has one of the largest concentrations of scenic and historic lighthouses anywhere. They guard the rocky coast dotted with fishing villages throughout, although there are areas of fine beach as well.

Extending from the southern tip of Green Bay, this 77-mile tongue of land separates Green Bay from Lake Michigan. At the northern tip lies Washington Island, a ferry ride away. Between the main peninsula and the island lies Porte des Morts, or Death’s Door, from which the peninsula gets its name. This was a hazardous stretch that caused the sinking of many ships from historical times into this century.

Green Bay of Yesteryear
After 10,000 years of native habitation, essentially from the end of the Ice Age which created Green Bay and the many lakes of Wisconsin, the French trappers and explorers found the southern tip of the Bay and the inviting river. They established trading posts and a settlement in 1634, making this the 13th oldest permanent settlement in the USA. The French built a mission and eventually incorporated the town, originally called La Baye (or la Baie des Puants), in 1754. The region was taken over by the British in 1761 and held by them until the Treaty of Paris in 1783 made it part of the United States. It was incorporated as a city, annexing several neighboring towns, in 1854. Railroads were big, as was lake shipping, though the 1970’s. Growth has more than doubled since Franklin D. Roosevelt came to help celebrate the tri-centennial in 1934.

Football Town
The Green Bay Packers football team is the oldest in the NFL, founded in 1919 by Curley Lambeau. Green Bay is the smallest market in the NFL, but one of the most dedicated and enthusiastic—nearly impossible to get tickets to games. They played in several early stadiums before City Stadium was built in 1926. It originally held around 6,000, but was gradually expanded to 25,000 seats, and was home to the Packers until 1956. During those years they also played one or two games in Milwaukee. They actually played a home game there until 1996, after which they played exclusively at Lambeau.

Lambeau Field was originally opened as New City Stadium in 1957. It was renamed Lambeau Field in 1965. Interestingly, in the mid 1950’s George Halas and other NFL leaders determined that City Stadium was too small and inadequate for the NFL. They threatened to move the franchise to Milwaukee permanently unless facilities were upgraded. Green Bay then built New City Stadium in Ashwaubenon.

Green Bay is nicknamed “Titletown” owing to the Packers winning 12 NFL championships, including Super Bowls I, II, and XXXI. At least one NFL playoff game will be held at Lambeau this year, of course.

Although you will get an up close and personal look at “The Tundra” during the marathon, the Packers will be enjoying their off season. However, there will be professional football in Green Bay that weekend. The Arena Football2 League team Green Bay Blizzard will play the Lexington Horsemen on Friday evening, May 16, at the Resch Center near Lambeau Field.

Ideal Race, Ideal Location
This is a race weekend that will draw many athletes of all abilities from all regions. Green Bay is an outstanding location to visit and explore, and the organizers of these six events have given us a terrific reason to come and visit. You will not find a better organized road race, better or more interesting venues, or a friendlier more supportive staff and volunteer force. All they need to make this another outstanding success is you. They have planned well for you. The awesome attention to detail is with you in mind.
Let’s go!



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