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By Eric Janssen
It was a crisp cool spring morning and the streets surrounding the Capitol Square were buzzing with energy as running enthusiasts and supporters made their way to be part of the 30th annual Crazylegs Classic. With excitement in the air, the MBA team gathered at the Old Fashioned restaurant to kick off the event and loosen up with some group calisthenics and a causal bloody mary for some. As we made our way to the starting line, we found ourselves surrounded by people of all ages, shapes and sizes. The Crazylegs has been a longtime Madison tradition and one of the flagship events sponsored by the Wisconsin Athletics department. This year’s event drew over 13,000 people who participated in the 8k run and 2 mile walk which took participants from the Capitol Square past the Memorial Union and down to the lakeshore before finishing at the south end zone of Camp Randall stadium.
Despite a personal training regimen that consisted of intramural sports and walking to and from classes, I found myself at the starting line with approximately five miles of ill-prepared running staring me in the face. As I looked around me, many other participants looked prepared, in-shape, focused and eager. As I became engrossed by the plethora of well-equipped runners, I began to question my abilities as a participant. Suddenly, I heard the public address announcer call out “Group G” and knew the start to this five mile adventure was only seconds away from commencing. As we marched towards the starting line, we were greeted by players from the UW men’s basketball team who soared above the crowd as many of us including myself had to extend our hands well into the air just to make contact with these finely tuned athletes standing several inches taller than most of us. If nothing else, it was a just another subtle reminder that I may have gotten myself into something I wasn’t ready to take on. As I queued up my Spotify playlist and turned on Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’, the gentleman fired his gun and the race was underway. As I sped down the streets of the Capitol Square, the worries drifted away and I found myself in a sea of runners making their way down the hill toward Langdon Street.
The next forty minutes felt more like a mere blip in time and before I knew it I found myself staring into the southwest entrance of Camp Randall stadium. My eyes widened as I focused on the finish line and began to sprint through the entrance and into the end zone where Badger greats JJ Watt, Russell Wilson and Ron Dayne made their mark on college football. As I crossed the finish line, I threw my fists into the air as I celebrated the finish to the most running I’ve done in nearly a half decade. As I glanced around the stadium, the realization it was over began to set in and I found myself feeling accomplished in finishing – in just under 40 minutes to be exact. I peered around the stadium to take in the sight of hundreds of others who had just experienced the same feeling as I. As I found the others who had finished before me, I greeted them with an egregious amount of high fives, smiles and banter. With another MBA Crazylegs race in the books, it was time to celebrate our accomplishments. Thank goodness I’ve got another 365 days of brisk walking before we get to do it all again!