While I won’t be running one of the Bayshore races this coming Saturday, I will be there — cheering on Joe and Andrew, who are running the 10K, and many friends (and MRG readers!) who are tackling 6.2 miles, the half marathon and 26.2.

It’s always a bit strange when I’m not training for, and gearing up for, one of the Bayshore races. It’s just become an annual running event for me, a start-of-summer tradition. It’s my hometown race, after all.

Old Mission Peninsula's Bluff Road.
Old Mission Peninsula’s Bluff Road. photo courtesy Bayshore Facebook

I am not running the 10K, half marathon or marathon this year because I ran Boston just a few weeks ago. My body is pretty much back to normal, but I wanted to be smart about my post-marathon recovery and, most importantly, I wanted to be there for Joe and Andrew. It’s my turn to be a spectator and cheer my heart out for the people I love.

I absolutely love this weekend ahead. I get giddy about this Week of Bayshore. It’s just a very fun time for Traverse City and for the thousands of runners who have trained hard all winter long (and logged onto their computers the beginning of December to register for these incredibly popular, sold-out-in-hours races), and who are just READY to toe the start line and see what they’ve got within them. The Bayshore races, now in their 32nd year, take runners on a scenic tour of Old Mission Peninsula with its sweeping views of East Grand Traverse Bay and lush cherry orchards. The weather is looking pretty perfect — 60s and partly sunny for Saturday, which I’m guessing will mean just-cool-enough temps in the morning at race start.

I caught up with Bayshore Race Director Daniel Siderman recently — I stopped by the downtown Running Fit location, where Daniel is a manager, to learn more about this year’s event. We sat in the shoe section — his fellow employees were unpacking a shipment of cool clothing items as we chatted — and he divulged the details, including why all three courses had to change slightly this year.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 1.22.06 PM
map courtesy bayshoremarathon.org

Course Changes

Runners at this year’s Bayshore races in Traverse City will navigate slight changes on the courses, most noticeably a new leg near East Bay Park at the base of Old Mission Peninsula for all three distances.

Daniel believes the changes are positives for runners. One reason: the new area added to the courses allows for improved aid station support for the out-and-back 10K and marathon courses, both of which share the same start line.

Aid stations now are at both mile 1 and mile 2, Daniel says. The turnaround points for both the 10K and marathon have been moved in, giving the 10K an extra aid station it hadn’t had in the past. “I like the spacing of how that worked for the aid stations,” he says.

A change in the half marathon start is behind the course changes for all three events: “It was a huge domino effect for the other courses,” Daniel explains.

If you’ve run the half marathon in recent years, you’re aware that the course start changed last year, from a field at the end of Bluff Road to Bowers Harbor Park, further west on Old Mission Peninsula. This change, which memorably resulted in a hilly start to the race, was due to the previous private property no longer being available to race organizers. This year, the start line changes once again, to a spot on Devil’s Dive Road 4/10 of a mile closer to Traverse City, at the township’s request.

The good news about this new start location: it should become the permanent start of the Bayshore Half Marathon, Daniel says. There will be a larger tent for runners, as they wait for the race start. Also, this land is expected to be upgraded over time. It will become even more friendly to recreational activities.

“Every year we should see the property improve in appearance,” he says.

This new half marathon start doesn’t change the hillier start to this race, but a sharp turn early on is no more, making for a smoother route for runners as they head toward Center Road, Blue Water Road and on to Bluff Road, which runs along East Bay.

Race Day Goodies

  • Gatorade and GU — same as last year — will be offered at aid stations (check the map for the specific aid stations).
  • Post-race, chocolate milk and Moomers ice cream will again be offered to finishers.
  • The popular homemade cookies, baked by members of the Old Mission Women’s Club, also will be available. (“There’s never any left over,” Daniel says of the cookies, which fill a Suburban.)
photo courtesy Traverse City Track Club
photo courtesy Traverse City Track Club

Runner & Race Low-Down

  • Combined, the 10K, half marathon and marathon will include 7,250 runners. While all three events filled quickly — the half marathon filled in a record 19 minutes — everyone who was on the marathon entry waiting list was offered the opportunity to register. A couple hundred runners on the half marathon waiting list also were able to sign up.
  • Some 284 race transfers (one runner transferring his or her entry to another runner) were made by the April deadline — the most the Bayshore has ever seen, most likely because more people are aware of this option.
  • The Traverse City Track Club, which oversees the Bayshore, has given more than $200,000 back to the community each of the last three years, thanks to the success of the event. This includes some 30 scholarships. Projects that benefit from these funds include improvements to area school tracks and to the TART Trail.

If you’d like even more insider info on the Bayshore races, check out this post filled with tips from veteran Bayshore runners. (This post includes great ideas for post-race eating, too!)

Are you running Bayshore this weekend? What are you most excited about? Best of luck to everyone — I’ll be out there cheering for you!


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