Dane Rauschenberg has run on the mountain-ringed sand flats near Bonneville Raceway in Utah this year, and he’s immersed himself in the French and Creole influences of New Orleans by running in the Crescent City Classic. He’s marveled at breath-taking geological wonders, running on the beach at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, in the ‘Not Since Moses’ event. He’s taken in the Nordic wonders of Iceland in the Reykjavik Marathon.
Rauschenberg is seeing the world one step at a time, and his journey of discovery will bring him to the streets of Milwaukee for the PNC Milwaukee Running Festival, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
“I try to find interesting locales,” said Rauschenberg, who ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks in 2006. “I’ve found that there’s great running all over the country, and one of the ways I’ve tried to see this country, and I think that the best way to do that, is on foot. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time in Milwaukee, and found it to be an absolutely wonderful city for the sport of running. It’s very welcoming.”
“When you run 13 or even 26 miles, it’s amazing what you can see of a city. Doing it on your feet instead of in a car or on a bicycle … it really opens your eyes to the diversity of a city. You will see Milwaukee, from its lakefront paths to its more urban areas, to everything in between.”
Rauschenberg said that while seeing the wonders of the world is near the top of his checklist when he selects an event to run in, he also wants an event that makes the running experience exceptional.
“There are a lot of little things, being a seasoned runner, that you notice that maybe someone else wouldn’t necessary notice that are very runner-centric,” Rauschenberg. “But on top of everything else, a race is only as good as its race director. While this is the first PNC Milwaukee Running Festival, Chris Ponteri has put on some great races in the past. Usually, you go with the horse that got you there. If you’ve a good race director in one capacity, he’s going to be there for more.”
One of the more fascinating features of the PNC Milwaukee Running Festival for Rauschenberg is the mile run. The Milwaukee Miler Race presented by Hanson Dodge Creative will be on Saturday, Oct. 31, at 9:30 a.m.
“The mile is magical,” Rauschenberg said. “It has captured our attention for decades, when Roger Bannister broke four minutes, to today.
“I think it’s great that they’re having it in Milwaukee. It’s a way to incorporate this love affair that America has with the mile. Finding miles races … they are few and far between. The fact that Chris Ponteri has added this to the repertoire for the weekend is a telltale sign of a person who knows what he’s doing.
“Everyone should get behind the mile. It’s an unbelievable event for people to get out and cheer, and to get out on the streets of Milwaukee. I’m really excited about running the mile in Milwaukee.”
Rauschenberg called the mile “America’s distance.’ He is working with a group called “Bring Back the Mile” to have the distance replace the 1,500-meter and 1,600-meter runs in running events globally.
“There’s just something about that mile … everyone has run a mile in their life, whether they had to do it in high school for P.E., or something like that,” Rauschenberg said. “It’s something that we completely all understand. I’ve been in foreign countries, and they measure everything in kilometers, but when they talk about everything else, they talk in miles. They will ask me, ‘How many miles did you run this week?’ or ‘What was your mile pace?’ It’s funny, because people think we’re behind the times for not using kilometers, but they’re still talking about miles.”
Rauschenberg started running about 12 years ago. The Penn State graduate has raised more than $100,000 for charities worldwide through running, but he feels that he’s gained more from the sport than he’s invested.
“I feel that running has given me so much, from health and wellness, to a making a cacophony of friends worldwide, as well as a vocation,” Rauschenberg said. “Giving back in any way, shape or form, is something I try to do on a daily basis, even if it’s just motivating one particular person to go out for a run, or not quit whatever they’re trying to go for.
“What I’ve tried to do is allow people to utilize myself … to motivate other people. It’s amazing what you can do when you just go out there and ignore the impossible.”
Rauschenberg loves the perspective of the running culture.
“People are worried about being last,” Rauschenberg said. “I’ve often said, the last person in a race is the one who gets the biggest cheers, because they’re beating every single person who sat at home that day.”
Participating in the first Milwaukee Running Festival is exciting for Rauschenberg.
“I like to put together these partnerships at the beginning,” Rauschenberg said. “That way, when they grow, you can be proud of it. You almost see it as your baby, and you say, look what we’ve done together. To be involved from the beginning, that’s something I really enjoy.”
We’re looking forward to having Dane at the event! You can read more about Dane on his blog here. Register for the Milwaukee Miler, or any of our distances here today!