Hmm, let’s see how much I can address in one post…
Zeke, Al’s Run is an interesting race. It is Milwaukee’s largest race and it usually attracts its share of competition but, IMHO, doesn’t draw like it could for some reason. As with most things like this, I’m sure there are many factors. First, from the team aspect, especially without Wisconsin Runner entering a team this year a lot of the top runners don’t even run on a team. I think only one or two from the top 10 actually ran on a team. Also, as you pointed out, with around 90 teams across the 3 divisions, that spreads the talent that does run on a team pretty thin. Second, while this is the big race, its timing over the past two years has been less than ideal since it is only 8 days before the marathon. Some local runners who would do both have now decided to only do one or the other and, with marathoners, the marathon usually will win.
As for running stores, I’m only aware of one and they don’t frequently get teams together. They really don’t even sponsor that many runners. Unfortunately, while I believe the Milwaukee and Twin Cities metros are both roughly the same size (about 2 million as a metro each?) Milwaukee does not have as much organization within the competitive running community as the Twin Cities. We have Wisconsin Runner and one or two relatively small track clubs and that’s about it. Some comments I have heard around the running community have had me hopeful that there could be more organization happening within the running community and maybe development of some friendly team rivalries within the area but what has been happening so far at least has been at a pretty low level. I’ve been hoping Team Hillrunner.com could stir up the competitive juices of some other groups and raise the level of team competition for everyone but, based on what we now see in this thread, it seems to be stirring up some other kind of juices in at least one case.
Dana, the Hillrunner.com community is kind of spread out. As far as I know, my work location puts me about as close to you as anyone here is. I do run on the Bugline from Sussex toward Menomonee Falls nearly every weekday at around 11:00 but I’m hesitant to plan anything with people when it comes to this run because my start time really depends on how work goes. For example, today, I was in a meeting that went late so I just started my run late. If I was trying to meet someone for a run today, they would have ended up waiting and I would have ended up feeling guilty. As Cameron mentioned, you’d have better luck at the Badgerland Striders website. That said, if you ever want to join Team Hillrunner.com for a race, you’re very welcome to do so.