One month until the Grand Island Marathon. This is the race I've been waiting for! This is the only marathon I have scheduled for the year and I've got my two running buddies going as well. How about you join us? It's going to be Epic!
This is the second race in a series of five Michigan trail races put on by Great Lakes Endurance. I just got back from the Two Hearted Half Marathon and it was incredible. I can't wait to tell you all about it!
As for the Grand Island race, it's located on Grand Island, of course in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Grand Island is near Munising and we will be camping in Munising and staying the weekend. I'm happy to be staying there so we can see more of the area (as much as I can see after running a marathon that is) Here's hoping for great weather.
Here's some details about the race:
Date: July 25th
Time: The marathon starts at 6am or 7am depending on your time. I'll be starting at 6am.
Packet Pickup: Holiday Inn Express Lakeview in Munising
Time Limit: 6 hours
Here's a description of the course from Great Lakes Endurance:
The course follows the perimeter trail of the island counterclockwise up past Murray Bay and Duck Lake. At three miles the course heads eastward into the Tombolo, up into the island's thumb and then back along Trout Bay where runners can enjoy one of the most spectacular stretches of shoreline anywhere in the Great Lakes. Runners then ascend up the eastern cliffs of the island which treat runners to views of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The northern half of the island features 300 ft colored Jacobsville sandstone cliffs and the remote and exquisitely beautiful North Beach. The return trail on the island's western shore features remarkable vistas of Lake Superior. Much of the trail is shaded by lush hardwood forests. Exposed sections (atop cliffs) blanket runners with cool breezes off of Lake Superior. Trail includes single track, two track, and narrow dirt roads. The course is well marked with colored flags, directional arrows, and mile markers.
I will say that since I've run Waugoshance Half (Race Review here) and Two Hearted Half, I already know I'm in for a treat. I've come to trust the judgment of the race director's factor on whether it's a good course to run or not. Both of the races I've done have been incredible and I'm sure this will be no different.
Check out the map and elevation of the course:
How many people can say they have run around the island? I would guess not many so this will be a real treat in terms of running locations. Also, look at that elevation. I believe there will be a few climbs in there huh? Holy hills - almost 1,900 ft of gain!
Jeff Crumbaugh, the race director said in an interview I did with him a couple weeks ago, "Grand Island is my favorite place to run in the world." That is saying a lot as he's been to tons of trails in the Country. It makes me even more excited to run this!
The race also gives runners who are slower a chance to start the race early so if you run over 5 hours for a trail marathon, this is a great option. It's the one I chose. I've only run one other trail marathon (North Country) and finished in 5:23 so I should have plenty of time to finish within the time limits.
For those that don't want to run so long, they also offer a half marathon distance as well. The half basically runs half the island and still looks like an epic run.
Whatever distance you choose, I'm sure the views are going to be incredible given it's run around the perimeter of the island. Your entry includes a shuttle to the boat launch, the boat ride to and from the island, a marked course, aid stations, post race food, a tech shirt and a finisher's medal.
This is a perfect excuse for a vacation and to race at the same time. Munising has so much to offer for those who like the great outdoors. If you like waterfalls, the area has a ton of them to see along with some awesome trails. I took my family hear in 2011 and had a great time. Unfortunately, we never made it to Grand Island to see it so I can't wait!
|Pictured Rocks when I went there in 2011|
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!
Disclosure: I received a discounted entry in exchange for a race review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give anything other than an honest opinion.