Fox Cities Marathon has a new leader of the pack

We introduce you to Julie Johnson, the new race director who's already seen the marathon from the other side of the tape
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 2:57 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2022 at 7:19 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - With the Community First Fox Cities Marathon approaching, organizers are busy at work in the run-up to the race -- especially its new race director, Julie Johnson.

Talking with Johnson on Tuesday, her excitement for race weekend was contagious and something you could tell holds a special place in her heart.

Johnson, an Appleton native, has three Fox Cities Marathons under her belt, but this next one is different. This time she’s leading the event.

“To be part of it is such an honor for me as a past participant. I’m always amazed at what goes on on one side of the ticker tape or the finish line tape and the other side. I, I just truly feel honored that they ask me to be the race director this year,” Johnson said.

While this will be her debut as race director, Johnson brings more than 15 years of event planning experience to the marathon. She most recently served as director of marketing for Lifest.

This is a position she has long waited for, because for Johnson the Fox Cities Marathon is about much more than running, it’s about finding your passion...

“I didn’t start running until I was 40. I wanted a passion that I could call my own. Mom needed some time away. So I started running. My first half-marathon was with the Fox, [the full] marathon in 2011, and then I did it again two more times.”

At the same time experiencing your community...

“By running the course and seeing the different parts of the Fox Cities, it just, I don’t think there’s anything else like it,” Johnson said, “and so you get to see such landmarks within our community as well. That’s why it’s such a great hometown race.”

And understanding your limits...

“Running for me is my time. It helps my mental health. It helps me with my own health and my own goals. And I think that’s what I love about the Fox Cities Marathon is that you have a goal. We’re your hometown race that you could do it at whether a walker or a runner.”

What she loves most about the marathon is that everyone who competes has their own special story as to how they got running that motivates them to cross the finish line.

“This has been running for 31 years, and so it’s a tried and true race. It’s a tried and true event, and people welcome it. They really do.”

Fox Cities Marathon events take place September 16-18.

Don’t wait too much longer if you haven’t signed up, because the price increases every month as we get closer.

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