Start Training: Here’s Your Guide to Northern Michigan Marathons

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These races in Northern Michigan offer some of the most beautiful courses in the nation—at least we think so!


Stafford’s Top of Michigan Community Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K
May 27, 2017 | Charlevoix

This relatively flat, asphalt course is ideal for first-time marathon runners and seasoned runners looking for a fast time. Traveling through Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs, runners enjoy views of Little Traverse Bay along the way. New in 2017 is a Team Marathon. Register with as few as 2 members or up to as many as the number of aid stations, currently 11, plus 1.

Traverse City Track Club Bayshore Marathon
May 27, 2017 | Traverse City

Grand Traverse Bay on the right and cherry orchards on the left. This course is Pure Northern Michigan. Note: Spots have filled for the 10K and half marathon, however, you can join the waiting list—openings do happen.

Whitefish Point Marathon
June 10, 2017 | Paradise

Paradise is a small town in the Upper Peninsula on the shore of Lake Superior. Runners will follow the bike path on Whitefish Point Road along the shoreline.

Charlevoix Marathon
June 24, 2017 | Charlevoix

This scenic course takes you along the shores of Lake Michigan, through downtown Charlevoix and residential neighborhoods, and finally on to the bike trail at Waller and US31. It’s primarily flat and shaded making it a favorite for those trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon—more than 18 percent of the field qualify each year. You can also participate in a 5K walk/run, 10K or half marathon.

Two Hearted Trail Run
June 24, 2017 | Paradise

Explore the area that inspired Ernest Hemingway’s novel “The Big Two Hearted River.” The marathon and 50K courses follow a single track along Lake Superior and wind by the shores of Culhane Lake and the Little Two Hearted River. The half marathon loop takes runners along Clark Lake. Expect about 80 percent single track and 20 percent dirt forest road or two track. All races finish at Upper Tahquamenon Falls.

Lake Cadillac Team Marathon+
Tentative: June 24, 2017 | Cadillac

Participate in an individual marathon, half marathon, 5K or team marathon (2, 3 or 4 members). The course loops around Lake Cadillac using open roads and paved trails—it offers gorgeous views of the water. Each lap is 6.9 miles.

Waugoshance Trail Marathon
July 8, 2017 | Carp Lake

The wooded course follows a section of the North Country Trail from Cross Village to Mackinaw City with bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan and inland lakes. Race options: half marathon, marathon, marathon relay (2 members).

Grand Island Trail Marathon
July 22, 2017 | Munising

Grand Island is home to sandstone cliffs, rugged trails, white sand beaches and spectacular views of Lake Superior and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Enjoy the stunning scenery along the race courses—half marathon, marathon and 50K.

Crystal Lake Team Marathon
August 12, 2017 | Beulah

Tackle this course with your friends. Each team consists of five members. The first four will run 5 miles each and the fifth teammate runs 6. 2 miles. The course starts in downtown Beulah and goes around Crystal Lake.

North Country Trail Run
August 26–27, 2017 | Wellston

The race takes runners on scenic, single-track trails through the Manistee National Forest. The course is a 25-mile loop with a 1.2-mile section of paved road before the trail starts. Run the half marathon, marathon or 50-mile ultra marathon.

Marquette Marathon
September 2, 2017 | Marquette

The course has significant elevation drops, goes through multiple cities—Ishpeming, Negaunee, Marquette—and travels along the Iron Ore Heritage Trail. Lots of options: 5K, Kids Run, Half Marathon, Marathon.

Sleeping Bear Marathon
October 7, 2017 | Empire

This out-and-back marathon course takes runners by the Dune Climb, past Little Glen Lake and through the village of Glen Arbor with views of the Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Dunes. Plus it’s held during peak fall color season—gorgeous! Participate in the 5K run/walk, half marathon or marathon.


More Running Trails & Tips:


Shape Up North is a community collaboration dedicated to helping northern Michigan residents benefit from healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. Living a healthier lifestyle can and should be an enjoyable adventure. Small changes in habits at school, work, and home can have long-lasting, positive effects on your health. With an abundance of great local foods and a four-season playground right outside your door, you and your family can lead a healthy, fit, and fun life.

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