In November 2011, after finishing a season of interval training and hill workouts, 5 dedicated runners – most seasoned, but not all – got together and renewed talks about starting a marathon in their hometown of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. One meeting and several pitchers of beer later, Dave Nickels, Ken Schneider, Mike Cavanaugh, Erik Barber and Lee Kummer decided to take the next step and organize what has evolved into the HFM Maritime Marathon. Dave Nickels was nominated the Race Director and the inaugural marathon was held in June 2012! Today, the marathon founders are joined by Matt Goff, Curt Brey, Barb Bundy-Jost, Mark Klaiber, and Tom Finnegan, making up our marathon race committee. Most recently we became official! Your favorite marathon is planned and orchestrated by the Maritime Area Running Society, Inc., widely known as M.A.R.S., Inc.
M.A.R.S., Inc. was formed as a not for profit Wisconsin corporation and we are pursuing IRS Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status – stay tuned!
From the beginning, organizers decided the net proceeds would be donated to a local charitable cause. Over 150 outstanding individuals volunteer their time to maximize the amount donated. To date, over $100,000 has be donated to some awesome and worthy causes including the inCourage (Manitowoc County Domestic Violence Center), Painting Pathways, The Crossing, HFM Samaritan Fund, Hope House of Manitowoc County, The Haven, Ascend Services, and Marco Services.
The course starts at the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc campus, located on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan, and generally follows the Lake Michigan shoreline approximately 8 miles into the City of Two Rivers. The route takes runners through the City of Two Rivers and reconnects on the shore of Lake Michigan for one of the prettiest stretches of the run, through Neshotah Beach and northward to Point Beach State Forest. The course is out-and-back, most of which is along the shores of Lake Michigan. The mid-June start time has offered some cool breezes and enjoyable temperatures on this extremely flat course. In 2015, the decision was made to add a half marathon, which is also an out-and-back course following the marathon course, in hopes of reaching a wider spectrum of runners and further creating a community-centered event.
Runners from over 35 states and several foreign countries have participated! This volunteer-run event is growing and improving each and every year. It is the hope, mission, and goal of the Maritime Marathon to make a positive impact on the Manitowoc-Two Rivers Community by putting on an exceptional event that bolsters our economy, promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, and contributes to a cause that impacts our community.