Finished in 2:16:18(unofficial time); no new PR
Overall men's place: 43/65
Overall a really nice small race. I would guess there were only 300 total running which was nice for a trail race. The race company kept everyone informed. The course was well marked. The medal was cool. The course was awesome. A really great weekend getaway in Mackinaw City. Also, an excellent race for those thinking of trying out a trail race since the course is not extremely hard but very scenic.
Registration was all done online at their website and was very simple. All information regarding the race and other races they offer are on this site. There are several other races they offer that I've got on my list for the future.
We ended up staying at Mackinaw Mill Creek campground staying in Dave's camper and it was awesome! The campground was really nice and clean, on the water, inexpensive and close to the start area and Mackinaw City(2 miles). A great place to stay if you like to camp.
|At the campground with Dave|
Packet pickup was the evening before race day. Given the race is four hours away, my buddy Dave and I took off Friday to drive up early and get our packets. They don't offer race morning registration and it's really my only complaint with the race. With the race being so far away, it would be nice to just get it that morning. They were open 3-9pm so we didn't have to leave too early but still required at least half day off work. The race also offered a history of the Waugoshance area but we skipped that.
The next morning was an early morning as we were up at 4:15am. My buddy was running the full and he needed to be on the bus at 5:30am. The race was a point to point race so we got bussed to the start. Since I was running the half, I hung out in his car until I could get on a bus at 7am. The bus was right on time and worked out great.
|Buses to the start|
|Start area with port-o-potties|
|Runners relaxing before state in Wilderness State Park|
|Path to the start area|
|Runners behind me|
|Runners in front of me|
|Suzanne and I before starting|
I didn't really have any goal for this race. I was just looking forward to running a new area and course. I did feel I could push the pace a little more than I would in training but overall just wanted to enjoy the run. You will note mile 12 was fairly slow because it was the most technical and muddy of the course and was actually my favorite part. The race was not a really hilly course but it was not flat either so it provided a nice challenge.
|Map/splits/elevation via Strava|
Note: When I take pictures during the race, I typically don't change my pace or stop in the interest of safety. I just keep running and I get what I can get from the pictures. Some come out better than others but they give you a great idea of what the course is like.
We were on the trail right from the beginning and it was a glorious and diverse course all the way through the race. The course was on the North Country trail which is one of my favorite trails. It also started to rain just as we started running. At first, it was a sprinkle then it really started coming down and rained for the first 3-4 miles. I was soaked! Excuse some of the pictures as I could not keep the camera dry. It was a warm rain though so not a big deal at all.
|A little slow to start as expected|
|Wonderful start on the trail|
|First bridge already|
|Did I mention it was pouring rain now?|
|Great portion of the trail|
|Careful when wet|
|Blue line is the North Country Trail|
|My favorite sign|
|You can see it's pouring rain here. Yikes!|
|Back to some grassy area|
|Mile 17 aka mile 4 for us half marathoners|
|Carp River crossing|
|Back to ferns|
|Boardwalk - slippery when wet|
|Start of a little more hills|
|Dirt road section(small)|
|Back off the dirt road|
|Another well marked area|
|Mud and technical area|
|Rail to trail|
|well marked again|
This short section was the paved streets but was not too long. Before I knew it, I was on the dirt road and running towards the finish line back to the school where we got on the bus.
|Back to the road|
|Dirt road finish|
There were two aid stations on the course. While I know many of you are used to more, we were required to carry a bottle to keep hydrated since the aid stations were 4-5 miles apart. They were well stocked with volunteers and the volunteers had pitchers of water ready to fill your hydration device. It was one of their things to do to help with the environment. The race was also stocked with HEED, a hammer electrolyte and Hammer gels. I've been using the Hammer gels to train so it was nice to see this brand. It's much easier on the stomach than some other brands.
After we crossed the finish line, there was a volunteer collecting timing chips and gave you your medal in exchange for the chip. A great trade in my opinion. Haha! The race also had a tent with race results immediately showing your time and placing but of course not all the information since the race was not over.
|Timing chip for a medal|
For your race entry(I paid $70.64 but could have gotten it for $55 had I signed up earlier), you received a well organized race with a well marked course that was supported with aid stations. You also received transportation to the start area. The race offered an eco-friendly tech shirt. I really like the shirt as it fits well and I like that it's got a small left chest logo on it. It also has NO sponsors on it except the race management company logo on the back of the shirt. It's very tasteful and will be a shirt I train in frequently.
The race also provided medals(or in this case wood) to all the runners. The medals are made from scrap wood by an artist in Wisconsin. A really unique medal. If you won your age group, you received a custom Ceramic bowl made by an artist in Petoskey.
|Medal with ribbon|
|Medal Close up|
|Hand made bowls for Age Group award|
The organization of the races was excellent. Runners were well informed on their website. The bus ran on time. The course was well marked. The results were instant(although no final results are available yet). The packet pickup was well run and the finish line area was organized. It was clear they have run races in the past and have experience.
Overall it's a race I would definitely run again. I absolutely loved the course and it's a great area to do a race and have a great weekend away. I really like it when the race director is seen throughout the weekend working the race. He was greeting people at the finish and keeping things moving smoothly. I commented to him what a great event and he asked me what I liked about it. Definitely the mud at the end. I live for races like this. It's because of races like this that I'm becoming more of a trail runner. This is one you should certainly put on your list if you have not run it.
|Finish - Half #27 a success|
Disclosure: I paid for this race entry with my own funds. All opinions are my own.