If you’re not familiar with Traverse City, Michigan let me just tell you that it is one of the most beautiful places ever. To add to that there are a ton of great hotels, things to do, restaurants, and breweries/bars.
It’s also host to the Bayshore Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10k, or as a majority of Michiganders refer to it: “Bayshore”.
The half marathon is a hot ticket item, for the last 2-3 years entries have sold out in MINUTES. Sign up is in December (I think?) you seriously need to be logged in, and ready to register and pay at 9am sharp. Last year all 2700 spots were filled by 9:04-ish. And you can get on the waitlist, but good luck.
The 10k sells out quickly as well, and the marathon does fill, but I can’t tell you if it hit capacity. My point for saying this is, there is a GOOD REASON why it fills up so quick.
The race is the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend (MDW), so it’s in late May- so TYPICALLY, cooler temps, which is helped by the fact that most of the course is along the bay (hence the name). For the half you start on the north end of the peninsula, and run straight down, and finish on the track of Traverse City Central High School. The marathon is an out and back, so you start and finish at the high school.
If you do the half you’re shuttled up to the northern part of the peninsula to the starting area. I stayed at a cute little hotel called the Beach Haus kind of old, however it was super cute, and clean- I had a beach front room, with a walk out patio.
Also, there was a pretty good sized group of us from my running group that did either the full or half, so we were all in good company, and one of our friends- has super super nice parents and gave us a ride up to the start line from their house.
The starting area is essentially a large field, with porta potties, and you line up, and go. It takes about 2-ish miles for you to get out to where you can see the bay, and then you run along the bay until finish. It is a GORGEOUS race, I’ve never done a race so scenic and beautiful.
On top of that, the race is just really well executed, there a lot of aid stations, and lot’s of goodies in the finishers area (chocolate milk and ice cream!). The only con is packet pick up, it was kind of a shit show, and I’m not sure I’d feel that way if I had had to pick up just MY packet, but my friend Ashley and I picked up like 10 packets, and that made it a shit show.
In terms of swag, you obviously get a medal, you also get a tech shirt, and anyone who did the marathon also got a pair of running socks.
On top of that Traverse City is one of my all time favorite cities, so it’s a FANTASTIC place to go out it in and celebrate those miles! A few of my favorites are:
Rare Bird, The Fleet (Food Trucks), Harvest, Red Ginger, North Peak, & 7 Monks. If you’re unsure about what to eat pre-race there is an option for a spaghetti dinner, however, I can’t recommend the food scene in Traverse enough.
In short, I can’t recommend this race enough, it’s beautiful, it’s well executed, and the crowd support is also fantastic, the roads were lined with spectators for the majority of the course with spectators, signs, and goodies from everything to vaseline, candy, coke, and beer.