Madison, Wisconsin, is one of my absolute favorite places to run, especially in the summer. It’s a small, laid back city, with a lot of sights to see. It is also a very fitness friendly town, with trails of all types and distances available to runners and cyclists. Add in the lovely weather in the summer, and you have a great destination.

Here are three of my favorite places to run:

1. Mendota Lake Shore Path – Developed in the early 1900’s, this is one of the best-known paths in the Madison area. The path stretches for 19 miles and offers plenty of mileage for marathon training and long runs. There are a number of different access points, including the entrance at the student union that acts as the starting point of a 5-mile round trip run, out to Picnic Point.

2. UW Arboretum – This 1200-acre nature area, bordering the southern half of Lake Wingra, has 4 miles of paved paths and approximately 20 miles of trails. While there are a number of hills, the paths are peaceful and surrounded by trees, prairies, and water.

3. Monona Lake Shore Path – This is my personal favorite, in part, because I usually stay near it. This is a paved path around Lake Monona that winds its way along the water and through neighborhoods, for a total of 12 miles. I’m not usually going that far, so I run from Olin Park to the terrace and back, for a total of 4-5 miles.

If the timing is right for you, here are my two favorite races:

  • Crazy Legs – This race is crazy! Nearly 20,000 people come out for this race in late April each year, but it’s one of Madison’s bests. The 8K, it’s a nice change from the usual 5K, and still doable for those who have not yet graduated to a 10K. Like many of the races/running routes in this area, there are plenty of hills.
  • Madison Mini – This is Madison’s best known half marathon. Starting off of State Street near the capitol, it covers all of the sites you want to see in Madison. The course takes you past the capitol, State Street, the Arboretum, Camp Randall, and Lake Mendota. Beware, though, this race is hilly and can be very hot as it always takes place in late August.

Do you travel to race? I love to incorporate running into my vacations, and a race makes them even more fun.

For more from Erika, visit MCM Mama Runs.


By Nichols