A couple of summers ago I convinced my family to combine a bunch of camping with running, with one of our adventures involving race spectating and volunteering at the Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon & 5K in beautiful Leelanau County. (Other trips took us to the U.P., the shores of Lake Huron and sand dunes in southwest Michigan, among other places.)
That weekend of the Glen Arbor races, we had a great time at a rustic campsite near Empire, Mich., not far from the race start. The event happened to fall on Father’s Day weekend, which made it all the more fun.
Helping out at an aid station was more fun than I imagined (even the o’dark thirty wake-up call was inspiring with its gorgeous sunrise). There’s something so motivating and fulfilling about being out there on the course, encouraging runners as they give it their all.
This year I’ll be back at the Glen Arbor Half Marathon & 5K — now in its fourth year, it is set for June 20 — but this time I’ll be running. I can’t wait to tackle this 13.1. This race has been on my want-to-run list for some time. I’m guessing we’ll camp again. Joe and the kids likely will run the 5K.
I’m also excited to be partnering with race organizer Endurance Evolution, which is also behind several other road and trail races as well as a triathlon here in northern Michigan. I recently caught up with Endurance Evolution’s Eric Houghton, race director of the Glen Arbor Half Marathon & 5K, to learn more about this year’s event. He’s also offering a special race discount to MRG readers (get the details at the end of this post!)
He says this year’s event is shaping up well: “It will follow the same courses and time schedule as last year — the third weekend in June. We are once again very pleased to have Honor State Bank in as our presenting sponsor,” he says.
“The Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon and 5K offers something for everyone,” Eric says. “The 5K is flat and fast so it works for someone looking to run a fast time or just complete their first 5K, walkers can even take part. The half marathon is a bit more challenging with a nice climb at the 8-mile mark leading up to Inspiration Point. But because our events tend to be smaller they are often times more approachable for athletes of all levels.”
The half marathon has amazing scenery! Some of the best in Leelanau County. The view at the scenic turnout at Inspiration Point is breathtaking and the run through the “narrows” with views of Big and Little Glen Lake and the dunes will help ease the pain near mile 11.
The 5K is essentially traffic-free on the tree-lined avenues just off downtown Glen Arbor. It is a flat and relatively easy course.
If you were to offer training tips to runners participating in one of these races, what would they be?
If you are running the half marathon, the time is now. The snow is melting and roads are clearing up. Get out there and get going, don’t wait. Remember to add a few hills to your training.
5K runners aren’t in such a big rush to get training but I always think having a 8-12 weeks to train will make the event more enjoyable.
Oh, boy. So much to do and see. I am an outdoors kind of guy, so I really recommend folks check out the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Heritage Trail and the more adventurous may want to try the trails north of Glen Arbor headed toward Port Oneida and Pyramid Point.
Anything else you’d like to add, that you’d want runners to know about?
Sign up sooner than later to avoid any price increases (although our prices are very reasonable for 5K and half marathon). You can sign up a whole family for a discount if you like.
We have some of the best volunteers in the world and they make our events great. Anyone interested in helping out is encouraged to check out the Endurance Evolution website.
Ready to sign up? The first 15 runners to use this code — MiRunnerGirl_15 — will receive a 15% discount for either the half marathon or 5K. Register here »