While races that pit runners against obstacles like slippery climbing walls and mounds of mud have grown in popularity in recent years, few can claim they place athletes along the shores of one of our Great Lakes.

In fact, the all-new ForeShore Adventure Run, set for May 16, 2015 in Muskegon, just might be the only one of its kind.

“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.”

“This event is all about running to overcome life’s obstacles,” says Kevin Newton, executive director of Muskegon Rescue Mission. “Every dollar this event generates will be used to help families in need right here in our community.

MRG-ForeshoreLogo-2Michigan Runner Girl is partnering with organizers of the ForeShore Adventure Run, whose presenting sponsor is Huntington Bank. You can learn more about this on the Featured Michigan Races page here »

I recently caught up with Dan Skoglund to learn more about this adventure race and the Muskegon Rescue Mission. Read on to get the scoop, and if you’re interested in joining more than 700 runners in signing up, be sure to use the race code at the end of this piece to save money through March 15.

How did the idea of this race come about?

Adventure runs are an up and coming sport. As we looked at what other runs had to offer, we realized none were using the natural features available — Lake Michigan and the beach. We thought, what a great place to highlight Muskegon’s shoreline and have a world-class run while allowing us to share the story of the mission. We have a number of traditional roads races in our community and we wanted to offer something different. Something that added a twist and could be run as individual or as a team. We have a “competitive” flight, which is timed and will have awards, as well as non-timed flights. Individuals can run as fast as they are capable or take their time and bask in the satisfaction of finishing a fun and challenging course.

MRG-MuskegonRescueMissionLogoWhy was it important to have this race benefit the Muskegon Rescue Mission?

Muskegon Rescue Mission has been caring for homeless and needy people in West Michigan since 1907. We serve anyone who comes to our doors and there is never a charge. On average we house over 60 people per night. We served, in our shelters, or provided via our food pantry, nearly 100,000 meals last year. The mission receives no federal, state or local government funding. We rely on individuals, businesses, churches and events like this run for our funding. Without their support we couldn’t care for the men, women and children who come to our door.

What kind of racing experience do you hope participants have?

We are planning of having racers at all levels. Our run is a no-experience needed event, yet it will be challenging enough for the most accomplished athletes. We are confident that everyone who runs in ForeShore will find the course both fun and challenging. ForeShore Adventure Run participants will have to “Get over it,” go under “Hairspray” and avoid “Ankle Biter.” These are just a few of the over 15 obstacles runners will have to endure. With over 15 obstacles, on a 5K course, set on the beach … this won’t be your typical day at the beach!

Each runner selects their preferred start time which means the course will never feel crowded. Runners should register early to be sure their preferred start time isn’t closed. We limit the number of runners at each start time to be sure we don’t have a wait at any of the obstacles.

We’ll also have a Kids Zone course that is free to children of run participants. The obstacles they will have to navigate will replicate the obstacles on the adult run. This will make for a unique experience as children will have the same experience as their parents. We do require that a responsible adult be present while their kids participate in the Kids Zone.

What kind of finishers’ items will there be?

All participants will receive a long sleeve runners shirt, not a short sleeve cotton shirt that no one likes to wear to exercise. Along with the shirt they will receive a medal as well as a variety of other products provided by our sponsors.

Ready to sign on? Registration is underway — head over to the event web site to learn more and sign on. And through March 15, just for MRG readers, enter the code runnergirl to receive 25% off your race entry.

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