When Keli Elphinstone heard about the North Mitten Half Marathon & 10K and saw the finisher’s medal, her first thought was “I am so running this race!”

Keli, who has dealt with running injuries for a couple of years, also figured the early summer race held at northern Michigan’s Crystal Mountain would agree with her body: “I need to get off the roads and run more trails, so I thought this race would be another plus.”

Keli Elphinstone, wearing her MRG hoodie after a race last fall.
Keli Elphinstone, wearing her MRG hoodie after a race last fall.

The North Mitten Half Marathon & 10K offers a mixture of road and trail running, and despite its location at a popular ski resort (i.e. hilly slopes), the course is mostly flat — runners do not run up the “mountain.”

The half marathon will be Keli’s first of six planned races this year — she’s gearing up for her biggest race yet, Run Woodstock 50K in September — and she is looking forward to this kick-off-to-summer event at Crystal Mountain.

“My plan for North Mitten is to just finish, no pressure to place in my age group, not to push myself to go out too fast — just finish,” she says.

MRG is again partnering with North Mitten — I’m actually hoping to be there with my family and run the half marathon myself! — and race organizer Janice Davidson gives us the inside scoop on this year’s event. I also have a total of 4 race entries — two half marathon entries and two 10K entries — to give away to readers. (Details at the end of this post) First, though, here’s more from race director Janice Davidson:

What kind of race experience can runners expect? 

The North Mitten 10K and Half marathon is set mostly on the property of Crystal Mountain. The terrain is diverse and fun. The loop course starts on pavement to single track trail to dirt road, back to trail and back to pavement. The run is primarily flat with very small inclines along the pavement stretches.

Runners participate in last year’s North Mitten Half Marathon & 10K.
How is this year’s event shaping up?

Registration is ahead of pace from last year. New gender specific shirts! Retail will be available on Saturday night check-in, including stickers and lightweight pullovers. Runners will receive resort coupons including a discount for a carb load meal at the Thistle Pub and Grille. This year’s drawing is for a Mountain Getaway package.

Memorable moments runners can expect in each race?

In the half, miles 4.5  to 6 traverses the Betsie River Pathway watershed. The 10K has a female runner registered from Romania! She is coming to the states to run this race. There is more to this story, but I am not at liberty to share…yet.

The North Mitten 13.1 and 10K will take place Sunday, May 24 at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, MI., about 45 minutes from Traverse City.
The North Mitten 13.1 and 10K will take place Sunday, May 24 at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, MI., about 45 minutes from Traverse City.

Any training tips? 

Run different surfaces. If possible come to the resort and run the trails. Train. Check out the map to determine where the aid stations are and be prepared. Keep running and smile!

If runners are making a weekend out of their trip to Crystal Mountain for the race, any activities or places at the resort to check out? 

Come early Saturday for the 10th annual Beer and Brats Festival! On Saturday/Sunday or Monday there is a Michigan Only Alpine slide and the new Adventure Course. There’s paintball or outdoor laser tag, new bike rentals fleet, the Michigan Legacy Art Park, and the family pool party on Sunday night.

The races are part of Crystal Mountain’s official kick-off to summer.

Anything more runners need to know? 

We have a kayak for the overall male and female winners in both the 10K and half. Winners also receive free entry into next year’s race. We are looking for volunteers for aid stations and at the start/finish Line.

Giveaway details: to enter to win a free entry to this year’s North Mitten Half Marathon & 10K, please comment below why you’d like to run one of these races, and also which distance — half marathon or 10K — you’d like to tackle. Two winners in each distance will be selected randomly and announced here on the site next week. The giveaway starts Wednesday, March 25 and ends at 6 p.m. EST Wednesday, April 1. Good luck, everyone!

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62 Responses to “Race Preview + Giveaway: 2015 North Mitten Half Marathon & 10K at Crystal Mountain”

  1. Stephanie Klumpp

    I am interested in running this half marathon because I am moving out of state in the fall and am hoping to pack in as many beautiful Michigan runs as possible.

  2. T.C. Glotfelty

    I would love to run the half marathon. Having lived in Michigan almost my entire life, I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t really seen much of the northern part of the state and its beauty. Seems like a perfect opportunity.

  3. Maribel Maddala

    I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to run the North Mitten Race Half Marathon at Crystal Mountain! It would be my first time coming to Crystal Mountain so why not run a half!?!

  4. Jill Harrison

    I’d love to run the Half! I’d love to take my family to Crystal Mountain for the holiday weekend and see spend time in beautiful Northern Michigan before tackling a run of my favorite distance–13.1! My husband would probably run it with me, so that would make it even better :)

  5. I would love to run the 10K I have longer races planned for April and May and this would be icing on the cake! A fun way to round out Spring Runs and the kick off to SUMMER!

  6. Honestly, I’ve never run more than a 5k and am really looking to push myself this year for higher mileage and more running overall. So i’d love to try out the 10k! :)

  7. Cori Friar

    I would absolutely love to run the 1/2 Marathon! The course sounds absolutely beautiful, and it would make it my 3rd race within 3 months time (I’m registered for Gazelle 1/2, Riverbank Run 25K as well). This would be my first race that incorporates trails, and the perfect excuse for a Northern MI weekend getaway!

  8. Nicole Harden

    I would like to participate in either race, really. But I have already signed up for a half marathon for the weekend after, so probably the 10k. But I could see myself succeeding in the half marathon both weekends. We have that week off and it would be an awesome 5 year anniversary trip for my husband and I! He doesn’t run, but I think we can manage a weekend away regardless!

  9. Tiffany

    I would like to run the half. I ran my first half this past Sunday and enjoyed it. I am enjoying the long runs, peace an quiet outdoors allows me to burn off the everyday stresses.

  10. Connie Tornow

    I’d love the chance to take a runcation up north with my little family! The 10k would be the perfect distance for me, as I’m in training for a half in July.

  11. Elizabeth Stomski

    I would love to do the North Mitten half marathon- I’m still a beginner with trail running, but this will prepare me for the North Country Trail team race (66 miles of trail) in June! What better way to practice trail running than to do this trail race!!

  12. I would love to run the 10k because trails and a half sound like too much after RBR. I haven’t been up north in quite a while and have never run a race up there. I could probably run the half if that’s what I win but my BRF’s son’s grad party is that afternoon and I might be way too slow on the trails to get done in time to get back to GR. I could end up on Crystal Mountain all day :)

  13. Angela Serna

    I would really love to run the 10k. Last year I ran my first half marathon, The Bayshore, so I wasn’t able to run this race and its on my bucket list! I’m focusing on improving my 10k PR this year and I know this terrain will help me with that goal!

  14. Barb Hendricks

    I would love to run the half marathon – we head north every Memorial weekend to kickoff the start of summer. This would be beautiful scenery and what better place to run than your home state!

  15. Belinda Belanger

    I would love to run the 1/2 marathon. This race is already on my summer training schedule and will be my first half (during a race). I am drawn to the beautiful location and the smaller size that this race has to offer.

  16. I would love to win the entry for the 10k. I just started running last June, and since then haven’t stopped. I have several 5k’s under my belt, and completed a 15k in November. I just moved to Michigan last month, this race would be a wonderful milestone of my first 10k, and my first Michigan race.

  17. Jack Spillane

    I would love to do the half as it would be my second official and first trail half marathon. Either way, I’m sure I’ll be running this half! See ya there!

  18. Kevin Burke

    Crystal is one of my favorite destinations in Michigan. My family and I spend numerous weekends up here skiing or just hanging out at the resort in the fall or spring. When I seen this race advertised I thought to myself, what a perfect place for me to attempt my first half marathon. So hopefully if all the training goes well, I’ll be there. I haven’t signed up yet so a free pass would give me that extra push I guess.

  19. I’d love to participate in the half marathon for rge following reasons:

    1) I’m all about the being, and the medal is awesome!
    2) I’m a native Michigander, and haven’t done an event that far north.
    3) Keli is a friend, and I’d love to hang out with her up there!
    Thanks for the opportunity!!

  20. Lori Piggott

    I would love to run the half marathon. I have never run a half marathon race and will be running my first marathon this fall. It would be great to be able to show my daughter how much fun the races can be and how rewarding they are after seeing all my hard work pay off at the finish line.

  21. Ann Smith

    I am training with a group for this half marathon. One of the others training with me is my son. He and I have completed a duatholon and 5ks together, now a half. :-) (our group has 2 mother/son combos and a mother/daughter combo for halls this spring.)

  22. Pamela Jean

    I would love to run the half marathon. I have done several that all take place on the road so it would be a challenge and loads of fun to have a combination of off road and road. I am also running in the Detroit marathon this year and what a great way to kick start my training.

  23. Nicole McMichael

    I would love to run the 10K! I began this new year with a goal to lose weight and get healthy. I’ve lost more than 20 lbs and have added healthy workouts and activity in my daily life. This would be my first 10 K and a great goal to work towards!!!

  24. Laura Lyman

    I wanted to run this half last year, but was out East at my daughter’s graduation. I also love running trails and especially here in Northern Michigan. This would be a great place to run!

  25. Cindy Roskamp

    I am all about the half marathon. I would love to run crystal mountain because I have always loved that area and to run in it would be so great. I have been running for a year now and this would be perfect for my training for my marathon in June

  26. Heather Saxton

    I read about this run last year and thought this would be a great spring half for me! I ran Bayshore half last year and wanted to take on another half-marathon, preferably on trails (I’ve ran the Woodstock 5mi three years in-a-row… LOVE it!).
    Unfortunately I haven’t had much time to get long miles in. I really love reading about your strong commitment to running! You are very inspiring!
    I’m hoping to still register for the 10K this year. And would love to say that I won a free entry for this 10K from one of my favorite bloggers!
    Thanks for the opportunity.

  27. Jessica Roe

    I enjoy finding new races that I have never ran before in my home state–especially trail runs. I am a team leader for the Borgess Run Camp in Kalamazoo and I will be running the Borgess Half Marathon on May 3 and would love to keep up the training and conditioning. Honestly, I think there is no place more beautiful than northern Michigan. We are blessed with so many wonderful trails. To run this particular half marathon would be incredible!

  28. Laurie Carpenter

    I have been trying to find a fun 10K to race this spring – I’d love to run this one! What a great route, a fantastic time for a Michigan race, and an awesome race medal! Thanks for the opportunity!!

  29. Courtney Warsen

    I would love to run the Half for the Grand Rapids Dream Center. They reach out to those who are struggling-whether it be financially, physically, or have addictions that consume them-the Dream Center gives them the hope that they lost. I would love to dedicate this run (as I am also dedicating other races this year) to them-to raise awareness and funds for them, to help those who have lost their way and to give them the hope and love they deserve and to get them back to the life they were meant to live!

  30. I heard about Michigan runner girl last year when I was featured from the gazelle girl. I love running and have found so much reprieve in running which has kept me stable, while this year has brought many trials and tribulations I have found peace and calm in my running and my running family. Having been born and raised in northern Michigan I cannot think of a better run to add to my accomplished list. I would love to do the half or 10k, I am not specific on either! I am trying to conquer a portion of the 2015 miles in 2015 as a part of a team of 3, so as many runs as I can get in to add to those miles the better! I would love the opportunity!!! Winning races is always more friendly to my budget as well!!!

  31. Sue Straley

    I would like to do the 10K. A friend of mine had asked me to do this race and I have not made a commitment. I have had some minor health issues although I am running short distances when possible. I think winning a spot for the 10K would give me the extra motivation I need to make it possible.
    Thank you for your consideration. Run Sue Run

  32. Heather Quist

    I would love to run the 10k! I’m planning to run a marathon in October so this race would be the perfect start to my training! Plus any reason to be outside in beautiful northern Michigan is a huge bonus!

  33. Alicia Beachly

    Crystal Mountain is one of my most favorite places to staycation! I would love to run one of these races! If I had to pick a distance, it would be….. the 10k.

  34. Misty Cunningham

    I have never run a race in Northern Michigan and would love to make this my first. It sounds like such a beautiful course and would be so excited to add this half marathon to my race schedule this year. Thank you!

  35. Janelle Dubbs-Schmeling

    A few years ago I had an injury that brought my running to an abrupt stop. While it’s been a long road to recovery, I’m back running and decided to run a Half Marathon or full Marathon in each state. I’ll have 5 states under my belt but am looking forward to traveling to fun places to complete this goal. I’m so excited for a Half Marathon to be so close to me and in such a beautiful location. I can’t wait to tackle this Half Marathon trail race! Thanks!

  36. Heather Reddick

    I love running races that include trails. Super excited to run this one. Will do the 10k, as I just finished my very first half and I am ready for some 5k’s and 10k’s this summer.

  37. Aaron Brown

    My wife and I are running the half marathon course. We love Crystal Mountain for its top notch skiing and second to none service. The area is absolutely gorgeous in the winter, we are excited to see what the property looks like in the spring!

  38. Mary Blinkhorn

    I saw the poster for this race while snowboarding at Crystal Mountain this past weekend. I have ridden the trails around the resort on my mountain bike. I can’t wait to run them! I spend my summer weekends in Frankfort which is a short drive away and we usually watch the fireworks at Crystal. I would like to run the 10k.

    • Louise Mendrala

      I used to own a condo at Crystal back in the late 1990s. Many great memories are associated with the resort. Would love to have an updated memory… that of a successful 10K run on the beautiful roads and trails encompassing Crystal.

  39. John McGee

    I’m a Michigander-at-heart who’s been living in Tennessee the last 8 years. I picked up running a few years ago and try to find excuses to make it back to Michigan. Can’t think of a better excuse than this! Rarely visited northern Michigan while living there, and have yet to do a race up there. Plus, come on, that medal is awesome!

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