Finished in 2:20:10 (official time); no new PR
Overall Place: 48/126
Overall Men: 37/68
Men 40-49: 12/22
Race #94 - Half #35 - Hah - thought this was 34 but it was actually 35!!!
An incredible course. If you take anything away from this review, run this for the course. It's not completely difficult but is challenging. It's not super hilly but runnable. It's not overgrown but somewhat manicured(well portions). The race is well organized and well marked so it makes for a really nice beginner course. It's really a great race and an awesome place for a vacation as well. I'm already putting this on my list for next year again so I can spend the weekend camping there and running.
Registration was very simple. All you do is sign up via Great Lakes Endurance website and Active(dot)com and you will get an immediate email with your confirmation. Everything is done online and is very convenient.
Packet pickup is held the day before the race on Friday from 3-9pm. While I like to see race day pickup as well, I can understand the race not doing it since they give you six hours to come and pick up your packet. In addition, since it's out of town for most people, it's not really an issue since you would be driving up to Mackinaw City anyway the day before in order to get your packet.
The pickup was located at the local High School and we were in and out in a matter of minutes. The volunteers and race director are always at the pickup and very friendly.
|Mackinaw City High School|
|Packet information - my friend Susan on the picture!|
|Packet pickup - small race, no line yea!|
|The tech shirt|
|Merrell the sponsor|
As I mentioned in my last review by Great Lakes Endurance, I don't usually post about the area since there is not much to do there but race. In this case, there is because it's in Mackinaw City. There is tons of stuff to do here besides just the race. You just need to watch how much you walk to not wear yourself out before the race.
My daughter and I decided to stay at Wilderness State Park and camp the evening before. It was her first trip camping and a perfect time to go test out if she liked it or not. She did!
|Wilderness State Park with my daughter|
|Our view from next to the camp site|
|At the bridge|
|Fire evening before|
The start area was well organized and had plenty of port-o-potties for the runners. Keep in mind there was about 125 runners for the half so this is all that was needed.
|Race director announcement|
|Runners before me|
|Runners behind me|
Note that most of the time I keep running my pace and just do the best I can with pictures. I did stop a couple places to take some pictures along the way because the views were just incredible and I wanted to make sure I had some great pictures. Mostly I just kept running so some appear blurry.
I had no goal for this race. It was supposed to be a training run since I'm running the Grand Island full marathon next weekend (also by Great Lakes Endurance) so I didn't want to overdo it. I started way too fast in the first couple miles and then brought things back to reality. The course was running about 13.5 miles which the race director mentioned in his announcement. I was very happy with the distance being at least 13.1.
As you can see on the chart, it's not really hilly but there are a few rolling hills in there but not too many. It really is a very runnable course.
|Great start next to the pond|
|Start with single track|
|Love this part of the trail|
|in the forest|
|A little Two hearted course - not as hard|
|Near the pond|
|Next to the pond|
|Cross the road - safe area|
|back to single track|
|Carp River bridge|
|One NCT - blue blaze|
|Trail next to the water|
|Uphill - this was the largest - really.|
|cross the road|
|back on track|
|More dirt road|
|Muddy but not bad this year|
|two track to the trail|
|side of road|
|Finish in sight|
The course had two aid stations. Both were well stocked with Heed and water as well as gel at the second aid station. The volunteers were ready to pour water into your water bottle. While it appears like I was waiting awhile, that was not the case at all and I didn't lose any time being at the aid stations.
|First aid station|
|Second aid station|
The finish line area was very well organized. They had the timing strip set up with banners for the finish line. They had the timing crew in place to give you immediate results and there were people cheering you into the finish.
For your race entry fee, you received a measured and marked trail course. You received immediate results via the timing company. All finishers received a race medal which is a nice wooden medal. The area is a superior place to run and vacation. The tech shirt is awesome and, as I mentioned, it's nice that it's not covered in sponsors and the logo is a small chest logo.
|Back of shirt - no sponsors!|
|Medal close up|
|Age Group awards!|
Nothing new here. The race website is well planned out with all information needed. The directions to the start are easy. The course is well marked. The communication is mostly through Facebook. The race director is there every step of the way so he can address any issues if they did arise. The finish line was well organized. The volunteers knew what to do. A great job by Great Lakes Endurance putting together an outstanding race.
Overall, one of my favorite courses to run. I've only done this race twice but I definitely plan to be at this race next year. The area is so fun and the camping is incredible. The shirts are great, the medals are cool. The race director knows what he's doing and listens to the runners to help improve things each year. I might need to start training hard in Winter to try and get one of those awesome age group awards. I will see you next year for this great race. I highly recommend this one. Plan far in advance so you can get a hotel or campsite early.
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!
Disclosure: I received a discounted race entry in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give anything other than an honest opinion.