Adrenaline. Excitement. Anticipation. These aren’t just experienced by the athletes involved in Wisconsin sports, but also the spectators. Wisconsin sports fans are unparalleled with their devotion to athletic accomplishments. One example is the Wisconsin Ironman, where 75,000 cheering spectators will line the course throughout the day.
Athletes train for months, if not years, for this elite 140.6-mile competition. (Take a moment to revel in that distance. If you traveled the same distance by car, you could make it all the way from Camp Randall Stadium in Madison to Lambeau Field in Green Bay and still have another 5 miles to go.)
The people of Wisconsin respect the time and effort that went into training for this event and will come out en masse throughout the day to applaud, support, and encourage complete strangers who have traveled from around the world to experience this intense competition.
At 7 a.m. on the second Sunday of September, thousands will gather along the shores of Lake Monona to cheer for these endurance athletes as they begin their journey with a 2.4-mile swim.
For the next several hours the Monona Terrace will become the transition hub as swimmers become bicyclists, who become runners. The roar of applause from the Terrace will be a non-stop celebration of what can only be described as superhuman feats.
The bike course stretches 114 miles along the Dane County countryside, unraveling through five different communities (including Madison, Verona, Mt. Vernon, Mt. Horeb and Cross Plains). Surrounding the longest and steepest hill, crowds will gather to encourage each bicyclist up the challenging incline. The fans bring canopies, coolers, lawn chairs, grills, radios, crazy costumes, bull horns, whistles and signs galore. While most of the spectators have never met before, they will all be supporting the same cause – to encourage each athlete. Whether by making them smile or running alongside them offering words of support, the bicyclists will not leave that hill without knowing they were being recognized.
Finally, these elite athletes transition into a 26.2-mile run through some of the most scenic areas of Wisconsin’s capital city. Starting at the Capitol Square, down iconic State Street, through the Arboretum, and along the Lake Mendota shore, the crowds will continue to grow throughout the day and the clamor can become deafening.
The finish line will remain open until midnight, and no matter what the weather holds – rain, wind, or heat – spectators will be there until the very end, encouraging the last runners across the line almost 17 hours after they first began.
There are 38 official Ironman races around the world, with 16 held in the U.S., and Wisconsin is host to one of them. Wisconsin spectators are honored by that privilege and take pride in showing the world’s greatest athletes that we support them.
You couldn’t ask for a more perfect example for why you should host your sporting event in Wisconsin!
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