In just over a month, the longstanding Muskegon summer race tradition known as the Seaway Run takes place along the shores of Lake Michigan. The June 22-23 event, featuring the Healthy Lifestyles Expo on June 22 and a half marathon, 10K and 5K on June 23, attracts runners from throughout Michigan and beyond. Last year, I ran the half marathon as part of the 10-minute mile pace group — a new experience for me and such a great time. Joe and I made a weekend of it, spending time exploring Muskegon both on foot and on bike. We’re looking forward to being back there this year, for the expo again as well as for the race (we’re eyeing the new 10K distance this time around.)
The Seaway Run is a MRG partner race — you can listen to my conversation with Race Director Andrew Buikema on the podcast here, and also take advantage of the special race discount code for this event here — and I’m excited to share some stories of runners who have taken part in previous Seaway races and are looking forward to this summer’s event. Read on for their stories and if you’re not yet signed up for this race, I hope you’ll join us!
Seaway Runner: Elizabeth “Betsy” Neustifter, 2017 15K women’s winner
Lives in the Grand Rapids area, trains all over the Grand Rapids/Lakeshore area.
The best thing about the Seaway Run… 
I really enjoy Seaway. I love that its all-inclusive. The race welcomes everyone no matter what your experience level is. I really enjoy the scenery, the smaller race and more intimate crowd.
‘I knew nothing about running’
My running journey is slightly different. I started running seriously back in 2007 when I moved to North Carolina. I always wanted to be a marathoner (because I thought they were so cool!). When signing up for my first race, I decided to jump straight into the half marathon. I knew nothing about running. My training was done mostly on the treadmill … and I didn’t take into consideration the elements and the course. Needless to say, it was a long 13.1 miles … but since then, I grew up, learned a hell of a lot about running (and myself) and it quickly became my passion.
Goals for this year’s Seaway Run…
Since Seaway no longer has the 15K, I will be running the half marathon this year. I would like to finish in a 1:26. Running in Michigan at the end of June can be tricky though. You never know how humid and hot it will be. You just have to roll with the punches and control the controllables.
Post-race eatin’ & celebrating…
I LOVE breakfast. Usually after a race, my family and I go out for breakfast. BUT, I can be persuaded into having a nice, salty Bloody Mary.
A friendly note to race organizers…
I think in 2019, they should bring back the 15K. That is one of my favorite distances, but with that said, I would encourage anyone who is thinking about signing up to sign up! It’s a beautiful time of the year. Can’t beat summertime in Michigan. I challenge any runner to sign up … they won’t be disappointed.
Seaway Runner: Greg Helmer, 5K 2017 masters men’s winner
Lives in the Muskegon area. “His son is super fast too and also ran the 5K last year. Great family!” ~ Andrew Buikema, Seaway Run Race Director
The best thing about the Seaway Run… 
No doubt, what I like best is the scenery of the lake shores of Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake.The views of each course have always been a unique feature and with the recent changes in courses last year, the views are even better. The race experience is best maximized by enjoying the great opportunities Muskegon has to offer beyond the race, such as enjoying the downtown shops, visiting the farmer’s market, or hitting the beach for a post-race cool down.
‘From 400 meters to the marathon’
I started running during the fall of my sophomore year, joining the high school cross team in 1987. I ran collegiate cross country and track, and continued to travel and compete at the national level through 2001. I have competed in every distance from 400 meters to the marathon. My favorite race distance is the mile, but I am a 5K junkie and now enjoy running the local 5Ks along the shoreline of West Michigan, preferably running with one of my sons.
A change in mindset…
After surrendering my attempt to run a sub-4:00 mile and qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, I slowly shifted my appreciation for running by changing my mindset from training to compete to training for time away from the grind of everyday life to think, reflect, plan, and simply energize my day by running with a different purpose. While my competitive days are over, I appreciate my running now more than ever.
Goals for this year’s Seaway Run…
The 10K looks very interesting, but I will most likely register for the same race distance as my two oldest sons with the goal of at least finishing close enough to see them cross the finish line, or I will help my youngest son run the 5K.
Post-race eatin’ & celebrating…
I encourage all participants to walk down to the farmer’s market after the race to enjoy a wide range of post-race meals and drinks. Last year, our family enjoyed fresh omelettes and organic smoothies made by vendors at the farmer’s market.
Make it a weekend …
The race is well organized from packet pick up to the awards ceremony. Participants will not be disappointed if they take time to explore and enjoy the opportunities the Seaway Run has to offer by visiting sites and events during the entire weekend along the lake shore.
Seaway Runner: Kelly Machiorlatti, 2017 Half Marathon Pacer
Grand Rapids area runner. “Kelly has paced for me A LOT! Rivertown Half, River Bank Run, Seaway…super consistent runner and all around amazing person.” ~ Andrew Buikema, Seaway Run Race Director
The best thing about the Seaway Run… 
I love the Seaway Run! The course highlights the splendor of the Michigan lakeshore! The crowds are phenomenal and the finish line support is spectacular.
‘Running is great therapy for me’
I first pinned on a numbered bib for a race when I turned 30 and ran the Chicago marathon after being spurred on by a friend. After swearing I would never race again, that same friend convinced me to try a sprint triathlon. From there I was hooked — triathlons, marathons, half marathons, trail races. I had fun doing it all. After years focusing on my own performance, I wanted to shift my energy to helping others. Pacing was a perfect way give back by helping others achieve their goals. Most of my “racing” now is pacing races. My favorite distance to run is a half marathon because it is long enough to be challenging but short enough for manageable training. Running is great therapy for me. It has taught me to keep moving forward one step at a time and that I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined.
Goals for this year’s Seaway Run…
I am pacing the 11 min/mile group so my goal is to help people achieve their goals, have fun, make some new friends — all while hitting my pace time.
Post-race eatin’ & celebrating…
Pigeon Hill Brewing Co., eating Cauliflower cheddar nuggets while drinking a Walter Blond Ale.
One more thing…
Yes! Do the race! Nothing beats the beauty of the Michigan lakeshore OR the hospitality of the community.

Ready to sign up? Use the code MRG2018 to receive $5 off your race entry. Learn more and register here »

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