You've got questions, and we have plenty of answers. If you're still not finding the info you need below, feel free to drop us a note or post your question via our social media and we'll get back to you in a jiffy.

Coaches' Corner

This is a very common question among new runners and there isn't one answer that fits everyone since beginner runners sometimes struggle for different reasons. Many new runners might feel that the turning point is when they can run continuously for 30 minutes. At that point, they start to feel more comfortable and confident. So, it takes a little bit of patience to build up your fitness and get to a point where running feels easier. Just keep working on increasing your distance little by little – it does get easier.

It’s not a good idea to run immediately after eating because it may lead to cramping or side stitches. Your best bet is to eat a snack or light meal about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you start running.

Pick something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein. Some examples of good pre-workout fuel include: a bagel with peanut butter; turkey and cheese on whole wheat bread; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk. Stay away from rich, very fatty, or high-fiber foods, as they may cause gastrointestinal distress.


As a new runner, it's better for you to start with trying to increase the distance (or time, if you prefer to measure by time) of your runs. As you build up your endurance, your speed will also improve.

Don’t rush into formal speed training, such as interval workouts, just yet. Doing too much running at too high an intensity is an easy way to get injured. After you've been running for about two months and have a nice base, you can start by adding strides into one of your weekly runs. You can also try picking up the pace towards the end of one of your runs. Wait until you've been running for 3-4 months before you start to add tempo runs, fartlek runs, or interval workouts.

Most runners need at least one, even two, days off a week from running. Research has shown that taking at least one day off a week reduces the frequency of overuse injuries. If you take at least one day off, your body will have a chance to recover and repair itself. You'll find that you'll actually feel better during your runs.

The best days for rest will depend on what type of runner you are and if you're training for a specific event. If you tend to run a lot of miles on the weekends, then Monday might be a good rest day for you. If you're training for a marathon and you do your long runs on Saturday, you may want to rest on Friday, so you have fresh legs for your long run.

Beginner runners may want to start out running every other day, to give themselves sufficient recovery time while still building a running habit.

A side stitch, or a sharp pain on the lower edge of the ribcage, can be a huge annoyance for runners. To get rid of one, try gently pushing your fingers into the area where you're feeling the stitch -- that should help relieve some of the pain. Then, to get rid of the side stitch, try altering your breathing pattern. Take a deep breath in as quickly as you can, to force your diaphragm down. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds and then forcibly exhale through pursed lips.

If you get a cramp in the middle of a run, you might want to try changing your breathing/striding pattern. If you always exhale when your right foot strikes the ground, try exhaling with the left foot strike.

If all else fails, you may have to stop and walk briskly for a few seconds while concentrating on deep breathing. Continue running after the stitch goes away.

Of course, you can walk during your runs!  Some people who are just getting started with running assume that walking is "giving up" or cheating.  But taking walk breaks is actually a smart strategy for building your endurance and improving your running.  Even after they’ve been running for a while, some runners still use a run/walk strategy, especially for long runs or races.  There's no shame in walking!


First of all, YES, our race is $30 per participant grand total, and NO there are no additional fees that will be added to this amount.  
How do we do it for such a reasonable price? We are a completely for-charity organization - we are not a for-profit entity.

We have a whole slew of AMAZING volunteers who donate their time and talents to the cause, which enables us to

  • hold an amazingly fun and well-organized event
  • keep the cost as low as it is, and
  • give 100% of proceeds to charity

This is absolutely true.  And this makes the Berbee Derbee very different from other Thanksgiving Day races out there. The reality is that today, most races are run by for-profit companies for the benefit of the owner. But NOT the Berbee Derby. We focus on our community, and 100% of Berbee Derby proceeds go to an amazing organization, the Technology Education Foundation. (In case you were wondering, yes, we do love profit, but we just happen to give all ours to a very meaningful charity.)


Yes, but be aware that your team will NOT be eligible to compete for the team awards unless there are at least five people running in the same category/distance. To be eligible for team awards, at least five members must be registered under the same race category. Teams are eligible to win under both race categories (10K and 5K) only if at least five members are registered under both race categories. If your team does not wish to compete for awards you still must have five team members but you are free to have these members in any or all race categories.

Yes, as long as you make this request by Oct. 28. After that date, this will NOT be allowed.

Yes, you may make the change by contacting the Berbee Derby by Oct. 28. After Oct. 28, you will NOT be allowed to change to a different race category. We are sorry to have to make this change. We have allowed people to do this in the past, but the race has grown too large for our small staff to handle these later changes. PLEASE choose carefully when you register! You are free to run either race with the bib you obtain at packet pick up—but if you decide to change to the other distance, note that your timing will not be correct.

100 percent of the proceeds from the race go to the TEF’s grant program to benefit technology education in schools and non-profit organizations in the Madison area. Learn more about the Technology Education Foundation (TEF).

100 percent of the proceeds from the race go to the TEF’s grant program to benefit technology education in schools and non-profit organizations in the Madison area. Learn more about the Technology Education Foundation (TEF).

Race Day Questions

EARLY! Parking is a challenge on race morning, so allow yourself plenty of time. We recommend arriving before 8 a.m. so that you have time to park and visit the porta potties. Carpooling is a great idea, too.

We are sorry, but we are unable to give refunds. You may still pick up your race number and get your shirt and goody bag if you go to packet pick up at Berbee Derby headquarters.

Items are collected after the race. If you’ve lost something, call the Berbee Derby phone line at 608-492-0067 by December 3. Items not claimed by that date will be donated to Goodwill.

Awards will be mailed as soon as we can after the race. We need to catch our breath and Christmas shop, people.

We ask you to estimate your own finish time—we don’t require proof of time. But please be courteous to your fellow runners and be realistic about your expected time. (It’s hazardous for runners in fast waves to dodge slower runners.) You will receive your wave assignment when you pick up your race packet. On race day, Waves A-H will be for the 10K, and Waves I-P for the 5K, based on your estimate of your finish time. Runners with strollers must line up in Wave P (5K only) Walkers must line up in the wave marked WALKERS, which will be after Wave P, the last runners’ wave.

Awards are given to the top three male/female finishers for each race. Top three teams in both the 10K and 5K will receive awards. Then, the top finisher will receive awards in these age groups: 14 or under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75+

We absolutely LOVE our dogs. But… NO, dogs are NOT allowed at the race. Sorry, Fido!

Yes you can but runners with strollers must line up in Wave P (5K only) .

Some lots (those closest to the starting/ finish lines) are closed until a half hour after the race is completed. If you must leave right after the race, park farther away from the finish line. Consult the on-line parking map when it becomes available.

There will be porta potties at Derby Village race start/finish, and along the course. Please review the Berbee Derby Village Map for the location of porta potties.

We discourage the use of these items in case you will need to hear any announcements by police or rescue personnel.

Packet Pickup Questions

Dates: Nov 21-23 
Times: 7 am – 7 pm
Location: Berbee Derby Headquarters
5957 McKee Road in Fitchburg

Registering as a team member guarantees you a shirt and a goody bag.

Anyone who does the race on foot—walking or running—must pay the entry fee. (We have kid-size race shirts for them!) The only children who may do the race for free are those in a stroller (Wave P) or an on-body carrier.

You may pick up your bib on race morning, however…goody bags and event shirts are guaranteed ONLY for those who pick up at headquarters November 20-22.

Yes you can, no ID required! We trust people.

You may not exchange shirt sizes until after the race is over and only if inventory is available.

If you pick up your packet at Berbee Derby headquarters, you will receive a goody bag and shirt. If you pick up your packet on the day of the race, you will receive a goody bag however, shirt sizes cannot be guaranteed. It is definitely to your advantage to pick up your packet and shirt at Berbee Derby Headquarters in the days before the race!

If you pick up your packet at Berbee Derby headquarters, you will receive a goody bag and shirt. Goody bags and event shirts are guaranteed ONLY for those who pick up at headquarters November 20-22.
It is definitely to your advantage to pick up your packet and shirt at Berbee Derby Headquarters in the days before the race!

Berbee Derby reserves the right to substitute items in the goody bag.


The Berbee Derby needs help in the areas of Team Processing, Parking & Traffic, Cleanup, Course Marshal, Day of Packet Pickup, Start/Finish Lines, and Water Stops. All volunteers will receive a special race volunteer shirt and will be entered in our volunteer prize raffle. Check out the Volunteer Information page for list of duties assigned to each area and register to volunteer. Sign up for Parking & Traffic or Cleanup and double your chances to win. We LOVE our volunteers!