- 5 miles/8K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Trail Race
- Event Website
This year marked the 20th annual running of this race and was a must run on my bucket list for 2015! The race did not disappoint, Mother Nature could have however been a little more cooperative! This was my first trip to the island in 17 years and a 1st time adventure for my best running friend that was joining me! Race expo, although small, had everything that you needed (including Body Glide - not a good thing to forget at home!).
I was fortunate to get a room on the island, at Mission Point, which was "race central" for the weekend, as well as right at the start/finish line for the race. Convenience brings on new meaning when we get to the actual race on Saturday! Packet pick up was well organized and the staff was extremely helpful!
Saturday morning was a little different, since the half doesn't actually start until 11:45am. I can only assume that there are 2 reason for this - 1) there is not enough lodging on the island for all race participants, so they need to give those racers time to take the ferry's over from the mainland and 2) One never knows what the weather in October in Northern Michigan will bring, so starting later gives a little opportunity for slightly warmer weather than at 7am!
At the start of the race it was overcast and we knew that it was going to rain. What we didn't anticipate was the pouring rain for the first 3 miles of the race! About the same time the rain stopped, we turned off the paved roads and hit the trail! Yes, that meant mud, and water everywhere! The serenity and beauty of the island were everywhere and part of the course actually takes you right through the residential areas of town, along the bluffs overlooking town and through the quiet woods. In the end, even with the tough running conditions, I finished within 5 minute so my half PR, so I will never complain!
This was by far one of the toughest half marathons that I did, once you combined the weather plus the elevation and terrain, but I would love to run this again! Hills don't scare me and I want to come back again and see what I can do when Mother Nature might be a little more cooperative!