Above photo of Heather, running trails, by Beth Price of Beth Price Photography»

I’ve been dreaming of dirt lately—the hard-packed, tree root-entangled dirt that lines my favorite running trails in the woods. This will-it-ever-end? winter we’re having has me thinking about these peaceful, snow-free paths I turn to starting in spring and take to any chance I can get throughout summer and fall.

While I’m not sure when exactly we’ll see bare ground on the trails up here, I cling to the memories of wearing a lot less layers and flying along the trails, everything green and lush around me. And this time will come, I know. Patience, just got to have some patience.

Another reason I’m thinking about trail running: I’ve got my eyes on a new trail race taking place moments from my house. And even more exciting, I’ve partnered with race organizers—the same folks who are behind the Farmland 5K each December in Traverse City—to help spread the word about this great event called Run the Ridge 10K Team Relay.

Let's take back the trails together!
Let’s take back the trails together!

I can definitely get behind the race’s goal of “taking back the forest running trails, and celebrating the arrival of spring in northern Michigan.” Yesss.

Did I mention this partnership also involves a special registration offer for MRG readers? It does—a discounted race entry fee for a limited number of runners. (Details about this, and how to register below.)

First, here’s what you need to know about the event, which takes places Saturday May 10 at 5 p.m. (yes, an evening race!):

  • The Run the Ridge 10K Team Relay offers runners of all ages and abilities a two-person relay format, with each runner completing a 5K trail run.
  • Categories for relay teams include female team, male team, or co-ed team with awards going to the top 3 in combined age categories including: Under 40, 41–59, 60-79, 80-99, 100-119, and 120+.  Special awards will go to the 1st parent/child team, sibling team, husband/wife team, co-worker team, and grandparent/child team. In addition, awards will be given for costumes with the theme of pairs/duos; nature/spring, and forest/woods.
  • The two-person race begins at 5 p.m. in the evening and is held on the private trails within the Timber Ridge Resort Trail system. The route is a 1.55 mile loop repeated by each runner twice, and features established firm dirt trails settled in the forest.  An awards celebration in the campground includes a free post-event camp style cookout including s’mores on the campfire.
  • All finishers will receive a custom finisher souvenir (reserved for the first 200 entrants) and a lightweight technical running cap. The event is professionally timed, and features a “rustic” theme emphasizing the use of all natural materials for course markings, and event signage.
  • A portion of the proceeds from this race will be donated to support the Grand Traverse Conservation District’s “Peepers Pre-K Program,” with $1 from each entry being donated to promote the program’s mission to “connect children and the natural world.”
  • Timber Ridge is offering registered runners greatly reduced rates on its tent sites, camper/rv/popup sites, and basic and deluxe cabins on race weekend May 9-11. The tent rate is $18/night while the cabins start at $45/night.

I’m thinking we just might have to secure a cabin ourselves—even though we lives a few minutes away—because I love the idea of running the race, chowing down on food around a campfire afterward, and just hanging out the rest of the night with fellow runners. I’d love to meet as many MRG readers as possible, too, and I’m thinking that if we have a group of us running this event, we could even plan something cool for the following day, like an informal and fun run on the trails Sunday morning—I can show you all some of my favorite trail routes! Stay tuned for details on this…

OK, here’s the great news: a team rate of $50 is available for MRG readers when you use the code TEAMMRG14. This is a discount of $7.50 per runner. It is good through the NOON Thursday, May 8, 2014.

Ready to sign up? Register here »  (don’t forget to use the special code! TEAMMRG14)

Packet pick-up will be available starting at 3 p.m. Saturday May 10 at Timber Ridge Resort at 4050 E. Hammond Rd., Traverse City, MI 49696. I plan to have an MRG table there as well, and look forward to meeting readers!

For more information, contact Lisa Taylor, race director, at racedirector [at] runtheridgerelay [dot] com

Check out the Run the Ridge 10K Team Relay web site, and head over to Facebook to view the event page.

Hope to see many of you at this event! 




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