Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa, a beautiful all-season destination about 45 minutes from Traverse City, is known for its numerous recreation opportunities, from downhill skiing, swimming and golfing to hiking and biking. Crystal’s winding, hilly trails play host to a couple of mountain bike races each year, and they also connect to the Betsie River Pathway, the 22-mile Betsie Valley Trail, the North Country Trail, and Arcadia Dunes.

MRG-NorthMittenLogoThese trails are great for running, too, and Crystal has held 5Ks over the years as well as partnered with the Betsie Valley District Library to hold the Betsie Valley Run each October—a quiet, picturesque race I ran a few years ago. Crystal’s latest race offering: The North Mitten Half Marathon and 10K, slated for the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, May 25.

Janice Davidson, longtime recreation manager for Crystal Mountain and a passionate runner, is the race director. She’s also an avid MRG reader I have gotten to know through the Michigan Runner Girl Facebook community—she ran her first 26.2 at last fall’s Sleeping Bear Marathon and is running this year’s Bayshore Marathon. I’m excited to be working with Janice to help promote The North Mitten Half Marathon. While I won’t be able to run the race this year—it takes place a day after the marathon—I hope to one day. I have great memories of Crystal Mountain, including skiing there as a middle-schooler and in more recent years swimming with my family at the outdoor pool. When I ran the Betsie Valley half marathon in 2010, my family booked an overnight stay at one of the privately-owned condos for rent at Crystal–it was a great, close-to-home family getaway.

Here’s a bit more about this kick-off-to-summer race (including details on sweet prizes!) from Janice:

How did this race come about?

The main reason is there are a lot of people here that weekend—it’s the opening weekend of the summer season, we open our outdoor pool—and there are people looking to run a half marathon. I’ve heard that from guests and from friends.

Tell us about the race itself—the half marathon course is on paved and dirt roads as well as trail, right?

It’s definitely a variety. There’s a little incline here and there, a couple of small rolling hills, but nothing significant. It’s great for beginners. It’s open trail—not single-track—and there will be lots of support out on the trail. I want people to have a great time and experience Crystal Mountain, and get a good run in.

You have lined up some pretty cool awards for race winners…

Yes, the overall prize for Male and Female 10K runners includes a cruiser bike, from Einstein Cycles. And the overall prize Male & Female 13.1 runners includes a river kayak, prizes sponsored by The Honor Trading Post and Crystal Adventures. Winners in both races will also receive a recreation package including entry into next year’s races.

I’ll be sharing more information about The North Mitten as race day nears–including a race entry giveaway! Stay tuned!

The North Mitten Half Marathon and 10K events will be capped at 500 runners total. The resort expects lodging to fill for the weekend’s events. Memorial Day weekend lodging packages are available. Learn more about the event here and also at the North Mitten Facebook page. 



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