The last Saturday of April each spring, over 12,000 Badgers descend on the Capitol Square and State Street to kick off the Crazylegs Classic.
Not surprisingly, the idea for this event was hatched in late 1981 by three Badger loyalists at a campus bar. The three, Tom Grantham, Ken Sparks, and Rich Backus, wanted to raise money to support UW Athletics. As admirers of then Athletic Director Elroy Hirsch, they asked his permission to name it the "Crazylegs Run" in his honor.
The first race in 1982 attracted 1,525 runners and raised $9,500. The event grew in popularity and the walk was added in 1987 with 676 walkers the first year. The event has grown substantially reaching a record high of 20,415 in 2010. Since the inaugural race 42 years ago, it has attracted over 354,000 runners and walkers. The Crazylegs Classic has become a time–honored tradition of the University of Wisconsin, as well as a much–anticipated event to kickoff spring in the Madison community.