The Betsie Bay Frozen 5K is for those crazy runners who are willing to face 10-degree temperatures and 30-mph gusts off Lake Michigan—can you handle it?

The 7th annual race, presented by Stormcloud Brewing Company and Betsie Bay Furniture, is Saturday, February 18. The 10 a.m. foot race begins at the Elberta scenic lookout and follows around the beautiful Betsie Bay to the finish line in downtown Frankfort.

Once again, proceeds will benefit water initiatives and other community efforts, including the Benzie County Water Festival’s student scholarship. As always, you can participate in the 5K (3.1-mile) event as a run or a walk. The race is open to ALL ages and is dog-friendly for friendly dogs (with encouragement to find your own transportation to the start line, rather than the shuttle bus, if you bring your pooch).

The event has grown from just a few runners the first year to more than 200 last year. “This run is more than a race; it’s all about community and it’s an opportunity to celebrate the value of our community, who have supported us since year one,” Randi Lyn Stoltz, the event promoter, says. “The Betsie Bay Frozen 5K is laid back, surrounded by beautiful Lake Michigan and provides all participants with a shirt and a participation medal. We welcome all ages and levels, 4-year-olds to 80-year-olds, walkers to runners. Snow or shine, we’ll be gathering to celebrate community.”

Photos of the 2016 Betsie Bay Frozen 5K by Aubrey Ann Parker,

Thanks to the presenting sponsors, Stormcloud Brewing Company and Betsie Bay Furniture, professional timing will be provided by Endurance Evolution. Awards will be given to the top male and female finishers in each age group, along with raffle prizes that have been donated by supporting sponsors and local businesses. Stormcloud Brewing is hosting Learn-to-Curl sessions in the afternoon and music that evening at the pub.

“It’s a community-driven event, with close to 75 local business sponsors each year,” Randi says. “Some donate money to offset our costs and for our fundraiser, while others donate prizes and gift certificates that we give out as door prizes. Each year, we are able to give out around $3,000 to $4,000 in door prizes because so many local businesses donate. In some years, we’ve had enough prizes that nearly everyone got one.”

Race-day registration will take place Saturday, February 18, from 8:30–9:30 a.m. at the Frankfort American Legion Post (206 Main St., Frankfort). Registration will have coffee, restrooms and heat available. A bus will also be available to shuttle runners to the start of the race in Elberta.

“It’s a great event to look forward to in the doldrums of winter, and it is fun for the whole family,” says Andrea Maxwell, a Betsie Bay Frozen 5K regular. “The crowd is not overwhelming, and the location is gorgeous.”

After the race, the Legion will be open for a short awards ceremony. The pre-registration race fee is $20; race-day registration is $25. You can pre-register online here with a credit card. Cash and check will be the only method of payment on race day; please make checks payable to the Benzie Community Water Council. 

For more information, please email Check Facebook for updates on the run, prizes, sponsors and more.

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More Northern Michigan Winter Fun:

Photo(s) by Jack Gyr