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There's plenty of good running to be had in the 'burbs, too. Arguably, the most popular section of Oak Leaf Trail is the Root River Parkway. The RRP runs south from the duck pond of Greenfield Park (2028 S. 124th St.) through Whitnall Park (5879 S. 92nd St.), a nature preserve and a small lake. The loop is 12.6 miles one-way, so it's ideal for marathon trainers.
The Schlitz Audubon Center (1111 E. Brown Deer Rd.) offers six miles of breathtaking, wood chipped trails. Price of admission is $4. Open everyday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call (414) 352-2880.
Plus, Milwaukee has 14,000 acres of park and parkways, so explore the green space in your neighborhood and create your own running route.
Consider running in a fun run, because, well, they're fun, and they benefit great causes. Plus you get a cool t-shirt.
The Samson Stomp, named for the popular, deceased gorilla, takes place every January. The 10-k run loops through the Milwaukee Zoo.
The Briggs and Stratton Run, formerly Al's Run, is one of the best-attended 8Ks in the country. It happens every September, and is a benefit for Children's Hospital.
The Bastille Run. Storm downtown Milwaukee on the first night of Bastille Days, usually the second week in July. Run starts at 9 p.m., so be prepared to hoof it in the dark. It's usually hot and crowded, but justifies the crepes and wine afterward.
The Dinosaur Dash, a 5K sponsored by the Milwaukee Public Museum, is held in April.
The Grape Stomp, a benefit run for the Milwaukee Art Museum, steps off in September. This run is well worth the entrance fee and the t-shirts are usually stunning.
The Lakefront Marathon is every October. Relay teams of two and five are welcome. Very organized and offers a sweet spread of food and drink at the end of the course.
The Beer Run, my personal favorite takes place every June at the Locust Street Festival. This run is under two miles and winds through the streets of Riverwest. Every quarter mile, there's a beer stop, requiring runners to slam a small cup of Lakefront Brewery beer before continuing the race. You have to see it to believe it. An awards ceremony with trophies follows the run.
For more information about upcoming fun runs or running clubs, call the Wisconsin Badgerland Striders at (414) 476-7223. For trail maps, call the Department of Natural Resources at (414) 263-8500.
So no matter who you are, or what your bad habits may be, don't rule out running. It might not be not as much fun as sucking down mochas and Millers, or watching reruns of "Seinfeld," but at least you won't end up looking like Neumann. And seriously, I've found that by sacrificing one hour of my day, I like myself a whole lot more the remaining 23.
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