Meet Our Berbee Derby Team

A sincere thank you to ALL supporters of the Berbee Derby, past and present. This includes our wonderful sponsors, dedicated volunteers, the city of Fitchburg, Lands’ End and their fabulous shirts, our many suppliers and partners, and of course, our runners and walkers.

Without your continued interest, dedication, and support, there wouldn’t be a Berbee Derby. And why do we do what we do? To see the smiles on the faces of our runners and walkers, and know the many technology education grants we will be able to award throughout our community.

Jim Berbee

I’m an emergency physician, and Founder of the Berbee Derby. I’ve been around since before the beginning of the race. 

For me, the Berbee Derby is a happy event, a time for friends and families to be together outside the home on Thanksgiving. Also, it encourages an active lifestyle, and importantly is ENTIRELY for charity, with 100% of the money raised for technology education in our community.

My favorite thing about the Derby is the race day itself in the early part of the morning. All of the work for the year has been done, and it is amazing to see the excited participants start to arrive.

My favorite race memory is the first time I saw the MedFlight Helicopter (it was here for public relations) circle over Derby Village and then land.

Karen Walsh

I’ve been a part of the Berbee Derby for many (many!) years. I am the coordinator of team processing – we love all the teams that participate! – and I manage our stock of inventory. Aside from working on the big race, I also rescue cats and work in philanthropy.

I find that the Berbee Derby is a great way to kick off the holiday season. I love what the Technology Education Foundation has done for local schools and non-profits – the funding that we provide to the TEF provides a huge margin of excellence for lots of fantastic non-profit programs across the community.

I’ve met so many great people working on the Derby–sponsors, vendors, volunteers, runners, and walkers. The City of Fitchburg is such a supportive host–we couldn’t ask for a better community partner. I’ve got some favorite things about the Derby. I absolutely love the crazy days of packet pick-up, and I also really enjoy giving out my super-double-top-secret parking places. One of the best costumes I’ve seen through the years show up at the race is the Grinch – and he wasn’t even crabby!

Suzy Shain

I helped create the Berbee Derby many years ago, and have served as the event’s Race Director since 2016. As a runner, I love that we can bring so many different types of people together for this event—competitive and casual runners and walkers side by side enjoying each other.  I’ve qualified for Boston 4 times and completed Ironman Wisconsin 5 times! I’m ready to do IM WI 2021 after a year hiatus in races!

I see the Berbee Derby as a great way to bring families and friends together, and to get them excited about doing something in the great outdoors. One of my favorite things is race morning, arriving while it’s still dark and watch the morning unfold all the way to the finish line. So many smiling faces make my day.

It is amazing to see the Berbee Derby grow from a small race of just a few hundred people (yes, it was small the first year!) to where it is today with many thousands, nearly 6500 annually. It is so important that every cent we raise goes right back into the community to help children and adults through the Technology Education Foundation. Every year, I have the chance to interact with so many participants and hear their stories of how they came to our race. Very inspiring.

Lyn Johnson

I have been involved with the Berbee Derby for over a decade serving as co-race director.  In 2017 I returned as Assistant Race Director with a focus on Volunteer Coordination and Race Day Implementation.

The Berbee Derby is a wonderful way to kick off the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with family and friends. 100% of the proceeds benefit the Technology Education Foundation which in turn benefits Madison Area schools and non-profits.

My favorite thing about the Berbee Derby is the fact that this is a race for everyone—from the competitive runner to the first-time runner or walker. The Berbee Derby is a race for ANY age and ANY fitness level.  If this is your 10th race this year, this race is for you!  If this is your first time signing up for a run or walk, this race is for you!

With our Wisconsin weather, I am still in awe at how thousands of runners/walkers get out of bed on a holiday to participate in the Berbee Derby. I love seeing all of the clever costumes on race day, but my favorite part is seeing how creative people are with their team names (We have over 100 teams that participate in the Derby!).  I’ve heard of team members getting together for meetings to determine their team name for that year’s Berbee Derby. 

Dorothy Steffens

I have been a long-time volunteer with the Berbee Derby, and I believe it’s a great way to start Thanksgiving (better than the Macy’s Parade!).  To see all of the participants, volunteers and staff come together and create THE BEST Thanksgiving Day event for runners and walkers of all levels!  This year I’ll be handing HQ project management and look forward to seeing everyone back in “real time”!  I also serve as the Technology Education Foundation Grant Coordinator, which gives me an up close view of the needs in the community which are funded by the proceeds of the Berbee Derby year after year.  Thanks to all of you who help make this day so impactful to so many in our community!




Karen Cigale

I am honored to join the Berbee Derby staff as the Headquarters Assistant Project Manager this year.  It will be exciting to learn about the race operations and meet all the dynamic people who make it happen.

I recently retired from PBS Wisconsin (although it was “Wisconsin Public Television” during my tenure) where I was the Fundraising Information Systems Manager.  I’m hopeful that my development experience will be an asset to this new endeavor.  While the pandemic stomped on my plans to get out and try new volunteer opportunities with my newly found time, I was able to help out at the River Food Pantry, with local elections, and back with my old friends at public television.

During the summers, I like to spend my time poolside and playing softball.  A fun fact is that I met Suzy on that team decades ago and a core group of us are still playing together now, albeit with far more aches and pains.  You’ll find me crafting during winters and trying to brainstorm ways to escape the snow and cold.

I can’t wait to meet the race participants and watch them have a great time all while supporting the Technology Education Foundation.  With the race proceeds staying in the community, we can ensure our children are supported in their unique ways of learning and have access to the tools they need for success.


Feeding Local Minds

Did you know that 100% of proceeds from the Berbee Derby go to the Madison-based Technology Education Fund (TEF)? TEF benefits area children, teen and adults who do not have access to computers, software, and many other technology resources.