I’ve long appreciated Emily Alt’s photos on Instagram–the Michigan runner and lifestyle and wedding photographer is @emilyalt1 over there–and she shares a favorite spot to run in the Mitten in the latest installment of the My Michigan Run. Winter, she says, is one of her favorite times of the year to get out and run. She lives in Grand Haven, though spends much of the summer up north in Empire.

My Grand Haven route starts on our street, Peterson Ridge, which sits up from the City Beach near Highland Park. I loop all through Grand Haven and into downtown (about 3 miles), then out to the end of the pier, back up 5 Mile Hill 2 times, through the Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl, down the wooded trails, back to Peterson Ridge, through Highland Park and then out to the City Beach and south for about a mile, then home. All in all it ends up to be close to 8 miles and it’s a perfect route for a few times a week.

I get the mixture of streets and neighborhoods along with trails, hills and ending on the beach. I discovered this route a few years ago when we would spend summers in Grand Haven–my friend actually started referring to it as “The Mayor’s Run” because he said he felt like the Mayor when running it–waving at people, saying hello to all the fellow runners–we were living in Chicago at the time where no one says hello ever while running, so it was a big and exciting change to be in Grand Haven where everyone seems friendly. When I moved to Grand Haven full time in August, I kept up with the Mayor’s Run, adding in some trails and beach work too.

I also love this route because it is almost always pretty deserted. The first few miles on the road I’ll see other people, but the final miles on the trails and beach are almost always silent, especially in the off-season after Labor Day. This is perfect for me. I love running alone and always have–I never run with music and it takes a lot for me to go out with friends on a run. I really cherish that time alone to think, plan for work, and come up with great ideas.

Emily returned to Michigan in August after living in the Windy City for awhile, and she’s happy to be back. “I used to work at Gazelle Sports in Holland for about four years before we moved to Chicago and it was one of the best places I’ve ever worked—I got to be super involved in the running industry and meet tons of people in the community, so it feels great to be back in Michigan and back on the Michigan running side of life!”

Follow Emily’s running and traveling adventures on Instagram here »

Where the route ends... (a non-wintry view, of course!)
Where the ‘Mayor’s Run’ route ends… (a non-wintry view, of course!)

Where do you love to run? if you are interested in sharing a beloved Michigan running location, wherever it may be throughout lower Michigan or the Upper Peninsula, email a picture and a description of the area (and why you like running there so much) to: michiganrunnergirl [at] gmail [dot] com (Please try to keep your story/description to 300 words or less). I’d love to feature a variety of routes, from city landscapes, rocky or sandy shorelines, wide open hills and meadows, tree-lined trails…you get the picture. I can’t wait to see your running route!

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