Thousands brave heat for Rock 'n Sole run

Posted at 1:59 PM, Jun 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-11 15:12:21-04

The sixth annual Rock 'n Sole race kicked off at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning – the hottest day of the year so far.

“The heat index will be high out there today,” said an announcer at the start of the race.

Runners set their playlists, stretched out those legs, and made sure to tightly lace up for the Half and Quarter marathons along with the 5k run. 

“There's a full range of runners here, there's very competitive runners - there's people that will walk the race,” said Don Smiley, President and CEO of Summerfest.

The winners for sure weren’t doing any of the walking. They were greeted with at the finish line with cheers, flowers and hardware for their accomplishments.

“I wasn't expecting to actually place today,” said Joe Frisch, a 17 year-old who has been training with 5k for his cross-country team

The female winner of the quarter marathon was all smiles today, “I'm excited!  This is awesome,” said Kellie Johnson. “It's like the weather is nice, it's not too humid, not too cool.”

The big winner of the Rock’n Sole Run, Nathan Routhier, came in at 1:14 even though his legs were sore from a big run just two weeks ago, today's big winner says this run is always fun to return to.

“That last strength as well, where you're right along the water, I really like the race, I come back like most years and try to run.”

A total of about 7500 participants turned out this year -- their proceeds going to local charities.

“They're doing a lot of good. they don't know how much good they're doing by running the hot streets of Milwaukee,” said Vincent Miles with Milwaukee’s Boys and Girls Club.

By mid-morning things got too hot and race and medical directors called for a red flag - essentially stopping the clock - and race.

“It's really for the safety of everyone that we wanted to move that flag,” said Sarah Pancheri, Vice President of marketing for Summerfest. 

Runners kept cool with water and bags of ice chips --- many vowing to come back for shorter finish times or to run the full half marathon.

“Something to shoot for, for the future," said one runner.