This summer, I am looking forward to running my first Lake Michigan Half Marathon. This is a longtime Muskegon, Mich. event that takes place Saturday, June 24 this year. This race weekend also includes the Mercy Health Seaway Run, a 15K and 5K run and community walk.

Andrew Buikema, new race director of the Mercy Health Seaway Run and Lake Michigan Half Marathon.

I recently caught up with Race Director Andrew Buikema, for a chat on the Michigan Runner Girl podcast, to talk about this race tradition in west Michigan, as well as the numerous changes taking place at this year’s event (the start and finish, as well as post-race party, now take place on downtown streets, among other changes). {Click on the player above to hear our conversation}
Andrew, who lives in Norton Shores, took on the race director role this year. He talks about his own running journey, which includes returning to running not too long ago after many years of living a pretty sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle.
“I got back into running about 4 years ago after a long time of inactivity and gaining an enormous amount of weight. I led a very unhealthy lifestyle of eating and zero activity. I finally decided to turn my life around and get back in to running,” he says. “My brother paced me at my first half marathon and pushed my harder than I could have imagined. It was then that I realized that I need to keep doing this if I am going to set the example for my two daughters.

Expect beautiful waterfront scenery at the Seaway Run and Lake Michigan Half Marathon in Muskegon. /Photo courtesy race organizers

Andrew is also a pacer and talks about what it’s like to help other runners achieve their goals. “I have had the pleasure of pacing for several races since getting back in to running all over. I’ve paced in Michigan, Illinois and South Carolina…with that experience I have also taken over the Race Director job for the Mercy Health Seaway Run / Lake Michigan Half Marathon, pace director for the Rivertown Half, Charlevoix Half / Full and the Fifth Third River Bank Run pacers.”
Andrew is a member of the Grand Haven Running Club (Grand Haven, MI) “I love the camaraderie that all runners share. Everyone has a story and it’s awesome getting to know them, who they are and WHY they run.”
A special MRG listener/reader race discount code is shared during the episode, for runners to save money when they sign up for the June 24 race. More than 3,000 runners are expected to take part in the Mercy Health Seaway Run and Lake Michigan Half Marathon. A health expo also is part of race weekend, and Heather will be there with a MRG booth. {Go here, to the MRG Race Discount Codes page, to get your Seaway Run and Lake Michigan Half Marathon code » }
*If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show. Check out this studio’s work here.

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