Finished in 2:41:52 (official time); no new PR; actually a personal worst
Overall Place: 48/85
Overall Men: 31/46
Men 40-49: 6/11
Race #98 - Half #37
This was my hardest half marathon out of all the half marathons I've ever run with a personal worst for time. Very hilly, a stream crossing, long lengths of mud. It was, however, an incredible trail run in an incredible area. My only regret is that I didn't stay longer to run more trails. Everyone should come and visit this area at least once. You will be happy you did. Well, happy at least after you climb the ski mountain. Great Lakes Endurance has once again proven they know how to pick trail courses to run.
Registration is very easy and you can sign up online through the Great Lakes Endurance website via Active. The race does not typically sell out so you are able to register almost up to race time. Keep in mind they limit the number of runners so it's always best to sign up early.
The race had two options for packet pickup. You could pick up your packet on Friday evening before the race (which is what I did) or you could pick it up race morning. I like having two options and usually Great Lakes Endurance does not do that. I will say that the race director will work out any extenuating circumstances for you though if needed which is awesome!
In my terrible blogger fashion, I got to the packet pickup which was at the local Americinn Hotel in Silver City and started talking to the race director and completely forgot to take a picture of the packet pickup. Oops! Well, they had everything set up and ready for the runners from 4-9pm at the hotel. I was in and out in a matter of minutes. Race morning also was easy for packet pickup since they were able to use the ski lodge.
If you like to run (or hike) and you like to run trails, this is one of THE best places in Michigan to run. The trails were incredible and my only regret was not staying longer to run more of them. I really should have planned to stay an extra two days instead of leaving right after the race.
It's about a 9.5 hour drive from the Detroit area so this is certainly not a close race but it was completely worth the drive.
I decided to tent camp at the State Park which was perfect for this race. The campground was really nice (even though no shower since they were rebuilding them). It was right on lake Superior and while you can't see the lake well from my site, you can hear it all night long which is really cool! Also, the campground is literally a one minute drive to the start line so there was no need to get up at 4am to run the race especially since my race didn't start until 8:30am.
|My campsite in the State Park|
|Lake in the Clouds|
|Superior Trail view|
The next morning I made my way over to the race start area. The marathoners were starting at 8am and I got there just before they started running. There is plenty of parking for the race so no worries on where to park since we are in the ski lodge area.
|Starting at the ski lodge|
|The ski lodge|
|Jeff making race day announcements|
|Marathoners ready to run|
|Ready for Heed and water (and food after)|
|Ready to run!|
|Inside the lodge|
|Runners waiting for the start|
|Let's do this!|
We basically did a loop with a short out and back section to an aid station. I didn't really have a goal for this other than to just enjoy the area. You can see from the map that I took a picture at the campsite which shows you how close I was to the start area. Also, check out that elevation chart. Nothing like running up a ski mountain to start off your half marathon race huh?
|Course per Strava|
In my usual fashion, I started out way too fast!
|Here we go!|
|Wide to start|
|Going up a ski hill|
|Nothing like looking at what you just ran!|
|Going down now|
|Beautiful view coming down the mountain|
|Running into the sun|
|Heading to more hills|
|Along the parking area|
|Climbing back up the hill|
|Tough trail to run|
|Yikes - don't look down!|
|More views of Lake Superior|
|Back to climbing|
|Another small view!|
|Did I mention there's hills?|
|Only mile 2?!?!|
|Near the top of the ski hill|
|It would be easier with snow|
|Almost to the woods|
|Back in the woods|
|What a view. It shows how high up we are|
|Great single track|
|Technical area. This part was pretty tough|
|Back to technical single track|
|Wet area with boards|
|Government Peak Trail - really tough running on rocks|
|Back up what we just came down|
|Really wet here|
|Mud to start|
|Hikers camping in the back country|
|More running by the stream|
|Yes, we had to cross the stream!|
|Then the mud started|
|It was super muddy|
|The mud was unpassable - crazy!|
|Trail markers on trees|
|Open to the sun|
|A little two track|
|The mud went on for almost a mile!|
|This was really difficult to run|
|Great area to run but uphill at the end|
|Back to the parking area|
|I see the finish|
The volunteers did an amazing job and were ready with water and Heed or gel when needed. One was at the Government peak trail start and the other was at a cabin in the middle of the woods.
|Aid station 1|
|Aid station 2|
The finish area well well planned out and there was plenty of space for people to hang out and talk after the race. I asked a volunteer to take my picture at the finish. I was really looking forward to a tall glass of cherry juice that they always have after their races. It has really helped me keep any swelling down of my legs.
For your entry, you received a marked and measured course. This was was probably especially tough to measure given the wilderness up here. You also received a tech shirt that I love. I choose the grey color but they also had green. I love their shirts as they fit great and there are no sponsors on the shirts at all. I also like they use a small logo on the chest. There's no need to have a huge one on the entire shirt. This will get used in training all the time.
|Medal with ribbon|
|Medal close up|
The organization was, once again, very good. The website has all the information you need. They put posts on Facebook when needed. The finish and start area are well planned. The packet pickup was well organized. The course was well planned and the distance was at least 13.1.
Overall, this is another race you are not going to want to miss. I realize for some of my readers that this is a long distance to travel for a half marathon but, heck, people travel the country to run in every State so I don't see the difference. It's in one of the most beautiful places in Michigan and the best plan is to stay for several days. Had my buddies came, it's likely I would have run another 20 miles during the weekend on other trails there. It's a great time of year to run this too and the weather was perfect for running. It was great sleeping weather in the tent too. I cannot recommend this race enough and you should take your family up for a vacation and see the beautiful U.P.
|Muddy shoe finish|
These are some really quality pieces and I was so excited to get one to keep as a memory of the great times I had this summer running with Great Lakes Endurance. I highly recommend every race that I did as the courses are some of the best trails you will see in Michigan.
|Excellent work by Jill & Thomas Baugnet from Munising, MI|
Disclosure: I received a discounted race entry in exchange for this review. I was not required to give a particular opinion other than an honest one.