Half Marathon Course

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Stepping Back in Time! Running a half marathon is exciting. But there’s something especially awe-inspiring about running it around a bay on the biggest lake in the USA!

With every step you take, you’ll be joining a tradition.  For centuries people have been drawn to these waters and wooded shorelines, starting with the Odawa who used the exact same footpath when they first settled here 600 years ago. The Little Traverse Wheelway has served not only as a footpath, but also as a horse and carriage thruway, a bicycle byway, and a railroad line bringing resorters “in” and lumber “out”. It’s no coincidence the finish chute for the race is at the historic “end of the line” just past the old Depot in Harbor Springs.

Today as runners and walkers, it’s all too easy to head down the Wheelway and around the bay without giving a second thought to everybody who has traveled here before us. We hope to highlight this historic aspect while celebrating our continued access to, and connection with, the bay through this race

Course Overview

Download Course Map (2 pages)

USATF certified. Starting in Bay Harbor, this unique point-to-point course (filled with long, flat stretches and some rolling terrain) will take runners on a stunning fall tour around Little Traverse Bay to the finish line at the waterfront in Harbor Springs via four distinct sections.

Section 1: Little Traverse Wheelway

From start line in Bay Harbor through Petoskey’s Bayfront Park
Runners will take a lap through Bay Harbor passing the start line and then head east on Village Harbor Drive past the Inn to the new spur path.  The spur path goes along the base of the cliffs, past the basin to the bay where it joins East Park. Hard right (or you’ll end up in the bay) up the first, and only, major hill to join the Little Traverse Wheelway. Don’t forget to look over your shoulder at the top for an incredible view of the bay! Continue on the Wheelway towards Petoskey running through wooded sections and open sections on the bluff with views across the bay to Harbor Springs.  At the 3 mile mark, runners drop down to the water’s edge along the Petoskey waterfront.

Section 2: Historic Bay View

At the 5 mile mark, runners will avoid a half mile section on Rt. 31 and instead veer off the Wheelway onto a grassy path that runs along the shore in front of historic Bay View cottages and past Stafford’s Bay View Inn to rejoin the Wheelway.

Section 3: Petoskey State Park

Just past the Tannery Creek crossing, runners will take a short section of wood-chipped trail veering off the Wheelway into Petoskey State Park. A paved road will go through the park where runners will merge with the 10K runners/walkers at mile 7.5 (Aid Station 3) and head to the main entrance and rejoin the Wheelway.

Section 4: Beach Road

Runners will enjoy veering off the most congested part of the Wheelway to instead follow Beach Road through the back dunes and along the shore to the finish line.  This is the longest, straightest, flattest stretch and can be challenging. Aid Station 4 is positioned midway to break it up. The last stretch, well-known to local runners as Beach Drive passes along historic cottages of Wequetonsing and runners then head down Bay Street along the Harbor Springs waterfront for a final, flat stretch before the finish line.

Aid Stations

There are five aid stations located approximately every 2-2.8 miles. More specific locations are marked on the course map. Aid stations are sponsored by local businesses and run by energetic volunteers. They will be stocked with water, energy drink and GU.

  1. Little Traverse Wheelway (2.4 miles)
  2. Bay View footpath along the shore (5.1 miles)
  3. Petoskey State Park at the Dunes Campground entrance (7.4 miles)
  4. Beach Road straightaway at Cedar Cove condos (9.5 miles)
  5. Wequetonsing (east end) along the shore (11.5 miles)

Off Road

There are 2 short off-road sections on the course. These are intentional and necessary in order to avoid congested (and less scenic and less safe) sections of the Little Traverse Wheelway that run right along highway Rt 31 and M-119.

Mile Marker 5: Veer off the LT Wheelway at Aid Station 3 onto a grassy footpath (.6 miles) right along the shoreline passing in front of historic cottages of Bay View.

Mile Marker 6.5: Veer off the LT Wheelway onto a wood-chipped spur path (.15 miles) to the Tannery Creek campgroud in Petoskey State Park.

Course Closing and Walkers

We do not have a designated category for walkers in the Half Marathon. Walkers may enter if they expect to finish before the course closing at 11:30am (3 1/2 hours) which is a 16 min/mile pace.  At 11:30am, aid stations will be dismantled and course volunteers and police will be dismissed. Anyone who has not yet crossed the finish line is welcome to finish the race knowing there is no longer official support and their time will not appear in the official results. We also have a 10K Run/Walk as another option for both runners and walkers.

Run Safe

This is an open course! There may be other runners/walkers/bikers on the Little Traverse Wheelway and vehicles on the roads. Be aware of all traffic and obey all signs.

  • Be especially cautious of the curb cuts on the Wheelway as vehicles may be turning directly across your path.
  • Volunteers wearing orange vests and police officers will be stationed at several locations on the course to direct runners and traffic.
  • If you need help on the course, go to an Aid Station or look for a volunteer or bike marshal on the course.
  • If you leave the course and choose not to finish the race, you must notify The Outfitter at 231.526.2621.
  • Remember the Rules of the Road: run right on the Little Traverse Wheelway; run left on open roads facing oncoming traffic!

Download Course Map