Known as the “Original Traverse City Foot Race,” the Festival of Races that are part of the National Cherry Festival each July include distances for just about any runner: a half marathon, 15K, 10K and 5K. These races, which take place the final weekend of the weeklong festival, on Saturday, July 8, are a summer tradition for many runners, including my family.
Our first family 5K together, during the Cherry Festival in 2012. Can’t believe how small my kids look in this photo! (Alex’s look is priceless, too)


More family Festival of Races memories.

This year marks the races’ 44th year—the race started in 1973 as a 10K and shifted to a 15K in 1978. In 1989 the 5K was added; most recently, the 10K was re-introduced along with a half marathon. All told, more than 50,000 participants have crossed the finish line over the years.

This latest episode of the Michigan Runner Girl podcast features my conversation with co-race director Katherine Brege, assistant race director Tabitha McNeil and Traverse City runner Robyn Thompson. We talk about their favorite Cherry Festival and Festival of Races memories. Katherine shares details on each race. This includes details on the fantastic challenge of the big hill in the 15K—”Mt. McKinley”—and the cool things offered to half marathoners (awesome finisher medals, upgraded tech shirt, first two miles through the vineyard and cherry orchard with views of West Grand Traverse Bay)
Tabi offers up information on finish line updates and changes. The finish line has been re-designed for better people traffic flow and communication. Other highlights:
  • Cherry Bay Orchards will provide dried cherries and cherry juice (perfect recovery drink for runners) and yummy cookies
  • Meijer provides various fruit options and chocolate milk
  • Fresh cherries for all, as always
  • Shuttles back to the start line for runner convenience
  • Photographer capturing runners; photos posted and available for free at
We also talk about the popular Cherry Mile (formerly the Golden Mile) and Carter’s Run, the kids’ fun run mile, that take place Thursday evening of Festival Week. {To listen to this show, please click on the player at the top of this post. Or download the episode using your favorite podcast app}
Andrew and me at the finish of the Cherry Festival 15K, in 2015. Andrew’s first 15K!


The Priority Health 5K Run/Walk, 10K and 15K, and Chateau Grand Traverse Half Marathon all take place Saturday, July 8 in Traverse City. Be sure to use this special MRG race discount — MRG2017 — code to save $5 off your race entryLearn more about these races and get signed up here »

The Festival of Races, featuring a half marathon, 15K, 10K & 5K, takes place Saturday, July 8 in Traverse City during the weeklong National Cherry Festival. Running the final stretch through downtown, on the parade route, is a highlight of these races.
*If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show. Check out this studio’s work here.

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