The Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore is known for its stunning scenery, which includes miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, towering dunes, two islands, wooded trails and crystal-clear inland lakes. Good Morning America even named it the Most Beautiful Place in America in 2011. And well before this publicity, we’ve all enjoyed this area with family and friends, recognizing it as one of Michigan’s gems.

The Lakeshore is the perfect place to get lost on a run, and since 2012 the Sleeping Bear Marathon & Half Marathon has given runners an opportunity to race amid the beauty. I’ll forever remember running part of the marathon course with my friends Cassy and Krista (it was Cassy’s first marathon, in 2013, and Krista and I jumped in for a few miles late in the race) and this year I’m looking forward to running the half.

imageHere’s why I hope you’ll consider running this fourth annual race, which takes place at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 3 in Empire and features some exciting changes (read on to learn more…plus check out the reader discount code):

1.) The course truly is spectacular. The out-and-back marathon course will take runners by the Dune Climb, past Little Glen Lake, and through the village of Glen Arbor with breathtaking views of the Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Dunes along the way. The half marathon will follow the same course as the marathon, turning around at the 6.55 mile mark.

2.) New race distance added! Organizers added a 5K run/walk option, which I just love. While I run the half, my family can run the 5K. It’s good to see races offer multiple race distances, making the event appealing to even more runners.

3.) Race day moved from Sunday to Saturday. “We moved the race from Sunday to Saturday to coincide with the Empire Hops Festival,” says race director Todd Gyulveszi. Sweet!

4.) Race course now includes Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. “We moved the start/finish to the Lake Michigan Beach Park, and changed the course to now follow the challenging Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail,” Todd says. “It’s the most beautiful time to visit our area, and the community always shows up to support local runners and visitors alike.”

5.) Save on your race entry! Use the code MRGSAVE for 10% off for the women’s and men’s marathon and half marathon. **Important** This code will expire one week from today on Sept 17, 2015. It is also good only for the marathon and half marathon. Register here »

Check out the recent MRG podcast episode featuring Joel Gaff, founder of Endurance Evolution. Joel talks about the Sleeping Bear Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K as well as other Endurance Evolution races held throughout the year. Listen here »

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Empire Lions Club and the Friends of the Sleeping Bear. The races are USATF-certified, and the marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifier.  Every participant gets a festive custom medal a gender-specific tech-fabric shirt, and more swag.

For more information and to register, visit enduranceevolution.com. Endurance Evolution is a Traverse City Michigan-based event management company specializing in triathlons and running races. Each race is designed according to the four core service philosophies: to create a complete race experience, use courses that are meant for racing, deliver unparalleled customer service, and provide service that goes beyond the day of the race.

Remember to sse the code MRGSAVE for 10% off for the women’s and men’s marathon and half marathon. This code will expire one week from today on Sept 17, 2015.

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