Every year thousands of runners of all ability levels lace-up to run one of the weekend races. Here are ten reasons why Eau Claire Marathon Weekend should be your New Year's Resolution.

2018 will be here before we know it. With every new year comes a whole slate of people making New Year's Resolutions. A common one is to get to the gym more. Investing in your physical health is a noble goal. Here in Eau Claire, we have a great way to get you to that goal. It's Eau Claire Marathon Weekend.

1. There's a race for everyone

Whatever your age or ability level, the Eau Claire Marathon was a race for you. For the kids, there's the Kid's Run on Saturday and the 5K on Sunday. You can participate in both to complete Cheri's Crazy Challenge. If you want to take it to the next level, then run the half marathon.  Of course, there's the full marathon or another option of the four-person marathon relay. 

2. Blugold Mile/Musical Mile

Think you don't have the strength to get to the finish line? At miles 10.5 for the half marathon and 23.5 of the full marathon as well as on the last mile, you'll be treated to some of the best crowd support of the race. First, there's the Blugold Mile. Over 100 student organizations show up to cheer on the runners as they make their final push to the finish. And the last mile of the course has something special too: the musical mile. As you trek up that treacherous last hill going into Carson Park, you'll see pep bands, jazz bands, choirs, and even pep orchestras. Eau Claire has some talented musicians. So it's no surprise they have been incorporated into the event.

3. 10 Year Anniversary

It's hard to believe, but in 2018 the Eau Claire Marathon will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary. You won't want to miss being a part of celebrating the race being around for a decade.

4. You Can Do It With Friends

New to running?  Do you want a workout partner to hold you accountable? Train together or sign-up for the relay. Having a workout buddy is a great way to stick with a fitness regimen. Knowing you have a buddy to do those training runs with, especially those running days in the winter when you just want to go back to bed, can be a great motivator. If you do the relay, you'll have friends there for support on race day and you can have fun coming up with a theme for your team. 

5. Group Buildup Runs

Starting January 27th, 2018, there are free group buildup runs  at 8:15 AM (warm-ups are at 8 AM). Runners meet in the Haas Fine Arts Lobby. With the help of members of the Indianhead Track Club and UW-Eau Claire Distance Running Class, as well as the variety of people you will meet running each Saturday morning, you can get in your training and have some fun and camaraderie along the way. If there's a week you can't make it, don't worry! Come as often as you can.

6. Run Over Eau Claire's Bridges

Eau Claire has a great many bridges and scenic views. The Eau Claire Marathon is a great way to see them. The full marathon crosses 11 of them. You'll see everything from the Phoenix Park Bridge to the legendary Haas Fine Arts footbridge. It's a great way to get fit and enjoy our beautiful city.

7. High Five Atop The Last Hill

Just when you think you can't run another second, a final power up awaits you at the top of the treacherous Carson Park Hill. Not many race directors cheer on every runner. That's why Pat Toutant's high-five is a highlight of race day. 

8. Community Support

The city of Eau Claire comes out in droves to cheer on runners on race day. And the support comes not just at the water stops, but also from local businesses along the route and total strangers whose houses see runners go by. And don't be surprised if you get supportive honks from the other side of the street you're running on Marathon Sunday. The city really embraces the event.

9. Great Way To Stay Active In Winter

Sometimes it's tough getting to the gym when the temperature is barely above zero. But having a goal coming up is a great way to stay motivated and get out there even when Mother Nature isn't making it easy. Whether you run solo, with a buddy, or do the aforementioned group buildup runs, the Eau Claire Marathon is a sure way to keep you from turning into a couch potato in the colder months.

10. Medals and Finish Line Party

Once you've accomplished your mission, it's time to celebrate! No matter what distance you run, you will receive a finisher's medal and a can use the ticket on your bib for free food and drink. If you're of age, you get a free beer. For the younger folks there's root beer. There's also lots of great food provided by Festival Foods and a finish line party to help you celebrate your accomplishment. 

From the Blugold Mile to the festive finish line party, the Eau Claire Marathon should be the New Year's Resolution you make for a healthier self. So get busy registering and lace up those running shoes!