For Norton Shores, Mich. runner Brian Bement, selecting races to participate in comes down to a few different factors: location, convenience and whether the event is tied to a good cause.

The ForeShore Adventure Run, a 5K obstacle-course race held each May not far from his home, is one Brian says fits his criteria.

“There are so many different runs everywhere, and you can decide by a few things,” says Brian, a father of four and lead pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel. “I think that the fact ForeShore benefits the Muskegon Rescue Mission—there’s a value there, and that’s going to induce me to do it.”

In fact, Brian and his family have signed on for a second time and will be at this year’s ForeShore, set for Saturday, May 20 at Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon. {Ready to sign up? Be sure to use the race discount code provided at the end of this post}

/Photo courtesy ForeShore Adventure Run.

“There are a couple of things that make this run unique: the setting — the run takes place on a world-class beach — and the number and type of obstacles the runners will have to conquer,” says Dan Skoglund, assistant executive director at Muskegon Rescue Mission, which is behind the event that’ll take place at Pere Marquette Beach Park on Lake Michigan.

Most importantly, organizers say, is the fundraising component of this race. Proceeds will go toward providing shelter, food and care “for the most vulnerable in our community — homeless men, women and children.”

/Photo courtesy ForeShore Adventure Run.

Brian and his wife Aimee say they like that ForeShore is a family-friendly event. They have four children—Eliana, 12 , Josiah, 10, Micah 7, and Alethea, 4—and the oldest two will join their parents in completing the 5K course. The younger two will again have fun in the Country Dairy Kids Zone, which race organizers say is larger and includes more obstacles compared to previous years.

The 5K course is “manageable,” Brian says. In other words, it’s fun and challenging, with just the right amount of obstacles that are all part of the sandy shoreline. (Yep, you’re going to get wet and have sand in your shoes by the end.)

“I was super-encouraged being out there,” he says. “There were people there trying their hardest and who hadn’t trained as much for it or hadn’t done anything like that, and then it’s also something for avid runners who may be going for a time. It’s good for people who are in all sorts of places in terms of their athleticism or their endurance.”

/Photo courtesy ForeShore Adventure Run.

Brian’s favorite obstacles: climbing hills, climbing over a big tire and navigating a “pyramid of tires.”

He offers these training tips if you’re thinking about signing up:

  • Do a few short runs somewhere on the sand. “Running on sand is quite a bit different than running on pavement or grass.”
  • A short one- or two-mile beach run or race beforehand would be a good idea, too. “It affects the way your legs feel as you’re running. It’s surprisingly hard.”
  • Prepare for lots of sand in your shoes. “I attempted to duct-tape my shoes, but that was a disaster.”

/Photo courtesy ForeShore Adventure Run.

All proceeds from the ForeShore Adventure Run, presented by Huntington Bank, benefit Muskegon Rescue Mission. Here’s what’s new for 2017:

  • 7 new obstacles
  • 4 improved/redesigned obstacles
  • New course layout
  • Larger Country Dairy Kids Zone including new obstacles

Event highlights:

  • Over 20 obstacles (half are new or improved/redesigned)
  • 5K course
  • Held at Pere Marquette Beach
  • Chipped timed
  • Kids zones is free to children of registrants
  • Flights start every 10 minutes and runners get to select their flight
  • Number of runners per flight is limited – register early to get the start time you want

Special MRG Reader Discount Code: when signing up, use the code runner girl to save 25% off your race entry. This code is valid through midnight March 31, 2017. Sign up here »

Listen to MRG’s conversation with Dan Skoglund, talking about last year’s ForeShore Adventure Run, here »

 

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