Chris Ponteri, the creator of the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon, will meet with city officials Wednesday to pursue a marathon that will attract 20,000 or more runners to a course contained within the city of Milwaukee.
The spring event would not compete directly with the venerable Lakefront Marathon, organized by the Badgerland Striders, and scheduled for Oct. 5. According to the story posted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ponteri is planning a spring marathon that would add to the list of options that includes the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, the Wisconsin Marathon, Journeys and Trailbreaker.
The race promoter has long viewed the Lakefront as a small marathon that fails to match the big-city events in Chicago, Philadelphia, and the Twin Cities. With 2,158 finishers in 2013, the Lakefront Marathon ranks near the top 50 for all marathons in the U.S., according to RunningUSA.org.
Registration for the Lakefront, an annual event held for 33 years, is limited to 3,100, and the race filled in early April. The size of the field is limited by the small space designated for runners on the roads from Grafton to Veterans Park, on the Milwaukee Lakefront. Residents and local officials in the North Shore suburbs have objected to additional road closings that would open more space for runners.
In 2012, the Striders Board of Directors rejected a proposal to expand the Lakefront Marathon by adding a half marathon and consider changes to the course.
“I have a passion for organizing races and the City of Milwaukee,” Ponteri told the Journal Sentinel. “It’s been a dream of mine to bring a big marathon to Milwaukee. I want this to have the same bells and whistles as other big-city marathons.”