The good folks at the Mackinac Bridge authority just put a big dent in my spring running schedule.
Hoping to ensure safety and history for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk, the authority decided to cancel several other bridge-closing activities, including the annual Memorial Day run across the Might Mac, as well as the October Fall color run.
After logging half a dozen crossings through the two annual running events over the last several years, I am disappointed, though I appreciate safety, as well as the more than half century of history in the Labor Day event.
Alas, big crowds won out over the small band of runners.
Even though Memorial Day won’t include a Mackinac Bridge run, there are still plenty of options for Up North runners, or those wishing to run Up North, spring through fall.
- Early season runners might check out the Run Michigan Cheap series, which swings through Petoskey and Harbor Springs April 15, offering 5K, 10K, and half marathon distances, all charted along the picturesque Little Traverse Wheelway. Check out www.runmichigancheap.com for more information.
- For those squeezed out by the Bridge Authority decision, another option is the Stafford’s Top of Michigan event on May 26. Including routes from 5K through marathon, this series moves between Charlevoix, Petoskey, and Harbor Springs, with stunning water views at every distance. Visit www.trailscouncil.org/top-of-michigan-marathon for additional details.
- Looking for a run that’s about more than mileage? Boyne Mountain once again hosts the Dirty Dog Dash on June 2.
- The distance might be only 5K, but it is designed around an obstacle course that includes water hazards, bonfires, and rope climbing. There is also as much apres run fun as you are likely to find at any other event, with live music, a beer tent, and more. Learn more at www.runningguru.com
- If you are ready to try some single-track racing, check out Great Lake Endurance, the group behind such events as the Waugoshance Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, and Marathon Relay, scheduled for July 7. The route here winds through the heavily forested area between Wilderness State Park and Mackinaw City. Great Lakes Endurance coordinates similar runs at Grand Island, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, as well as Gaylord’s Tree Tops Resort, early summer through late fall. Find out more by heading to www.greatlakesendurance.com
Okay, I am bummed that the Mackinac Bridge won’t let me run this spring or next fall, but that does not mean I am giving up my running weekends. These other running events close to home, and many others all over the Great Lakes State, mean there is no reason to idle your running shoes.