The Running Gods gave to me:
Half Marathon: 2:41:36
Charlevoix Half Marathon. When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend whose family owned a vacation home in Michigan. I didn’t get it, who would want to vacation in Michigan? And then I moved here and so many people I met had cabins on a lake or vacationed “up North”. Eventually, Ron and I gave it a try, spending a long weekend in Traverse City. After that, I got it. I love Traverse City and the surrounding area. Beaches on the lake, lots of great local shopping (not the big box stores!). Usually good weather. Just a beautiful area.
There is a marathon and half marathon in Traverse City, the Bayshore Marathon, but the half marathon apparently sells out in a day. Needless to say, by the time I thought, “why not do a race up north?” it was sold out. Enter the Charlevoix Half Marathon, which I found out about through a Schwaggle deal. (Schwaggle was part of Active and is called something else now that I don’t remember).
We did a little research and discovered that Charlevoix was also “up north” and was situated on Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix. Plus, with the Schwaggle deal, registration wasn’t too expensive. So we went for it.
It is tied for my favorite race I ran this year. It is a small race, but they don’t skip on amenities. The packet pickup was located pretty much right on the docs, outside, with the expo, such that it was, right next door. The expo mostly consisted of a few last minute necessities a runner might need, and a whole bunch of Charlevoix Marathon gear. The prices were right too! Instead of paying upwards of $30 for a branded t-shirt, I got one for only $15.
The race start was super easy. It just started on the main road through Charlevoix. We parked our car in a neighborhood just past the race start and had time to use the porta-potty and take some pictures by the lake before our race started. No need for corrals, and no pacers, just get in line and go.
The race itself goes through some neighborhoods in Charlevoix and then runs out and back on a bike path that runs along Lake Michigan. The views of the lake, when you could see them, were great.
Since the start was a bit of an uphill, the finish was a downhill finish. Perfect for that last kick! And for such a small race, the medal at the end was awesome! The finish area was in the same place as the packet pick-up. They had a few things to eat and a vendor selling smoothies, which I happily bought as the day was getting very warm.
One thing that impressed me, for a race in the middle of June, I didn’t get too hot out on the course! There was usually plenty of shade.
After the race we did some shopping (and some eating) in nearby Petosky where we were staying. We ended the day by taking a sunset cruise around Lake Charlevoix and then onto Lake Michigan for the sunset!
The next day, it was raining, which sadly cut into our planned beach time. Neither of us wanted to rush home since we couldn’t pick up our dogs from the kennel until Monday anyway. A bit of Googling clued us into the fact that Mackinac Island wasn’t too far away. Another up north first!
The only way to reach Mackinac Island is by ferry and cars are not allowed on the island. We had no plans for what to do once we were on the island, but we saw some signs for bike rentals and decided to do that.
Overall, it was a great weekend with a race I really loved. I missed signing up for the Bayshore half marathon once again for 2013, so Charlevoix is definitely on my consideration list! My only worry is the weather, I think we lucked out in 2012. If I go, I’ll probably take a few more days and stay on Mackinac Island to make it a long weekend.