A Run in the Park: Door County Half Marathon

Just about 2,500 runners, 150 volunteers, some 4,000 – 6,000 spectators, park employees, and curiousity seekers will be entering Peninsula State Park. Will you be one of them?


There are a couple of races. They start and end near Nicolet Beach. One is a 5k (3.1 miles) and the other is a half marathon (13.1 miles). The runners are there to run against the clock. Some are trying to win, some are trying to better their personal best, some lost a bet, some are running for a family member or friend, some are running for a cause, and some are just trying to finish.

Come down to the park and see.

You don’t have to like to run to enjoy the race. You don’t have to understand why some people test their personal limits and train the long hours. Just come down to the park and see. Come and see all the people helping one another and supporting one another. Come and see almost 2,000 runners line up at the starting line for the half marathon, listen to America the Beautiful, stand and pause for a moment of silence with thousands of people in the park, no sound of cars, no music, just the wind, listen to the Course Director count down “one minute, thirty seconds, 10 seconds, 9, 8, 7 . . ,” blow the horn, watch the runners run, listen to friends, family, volunteers urge the runners on, and then you will cheer – it is too hard not to.

The invitation to join in on the camaraderie of the day comes with a little bias. It is more than just a race to me.

It is rare in our world that time slows down. We all are running our own races, checking our watches, making appointments going here there and wherever we are supposed to be. Most of the time we are alone or with a few friends or family members on our life’s path.

On race day, in the park, 9,000 people are all on the same path. Some are running along the course of the race, some are standing and cheering, some are handing out water or Gatorade, some are putting medals around finisher’s necks, some are dishing out food and some are just watching. Everyone has the same start, everyone is on the same path and everyone has the same goal – to finish.

Come on down to the park and see.

This is a community event and it would not be possible with the help of so many – all the volunteers, all the sponsors, all of the local businesses that brush away the cobwebs of winter and sweep their welcome mats clean, the DNR and Peninsula State Park, the spectators, family and friends of runners, and all the people of Door County, this race is not possible without all of you.

If you are running – thank you. Thank you for training, for sacrificing, for putting in all the time you did to get here and thank you for choosing this race, it is honor to have you here.

Good luck in the races! I will see you all at the finish line.