9th Annual Festival of Races May 25

Registration is still open for the Stafford’s Top of Michigan Festival of Races Saturday, May 25, at Petoskey’s Bayfront Park. Now in its ninth year, the Festival of Races annually draws hundreds of runners and walkers who participate for fun or competition in this Memorial Day weekend tradition,

The professionally-timed running event features a half marathon, 10k, and 5k distances and takes place on the Little Traverse Wheelway, Petoskey State Park, and a few local roads.

The start/finish line is near Lime Kiln Pond at Bayfront Park East in Petoskey. Start times are as follows: half marathon – 7:30 a.m., 10k – 8 a.m., and 5k – 8:15 a.m. There will be aid stations along the way, with volunteers offering water.

Proceeds benefit event organizer Top of Michigan Trails Council and Petoskey High School track and cross country teams.

Aside from a few other freebies, participants who finish the event will receive a custom-made race medallion created by Lake Art in Harbor Springs. Top finishers in each race will also receive recovery gear provided by sponsor High Gear Sports.

Race Director Becca Nelson said the annual Festival of Races is a growing regional event with runners and walkers from across the state and beyond participating. “We love showing off Little Traverse Bay to our participants. It is truly a beautiful setting for this great event, which can be fun, competitive, or both, depending on the individual,” she said.

Stafford’s Hospitality is the event’s title sponsor. Other sponsors include the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, 4front Credit Union, American Spoon, Evening Star Joinery, Harbor-Brenn Insurance Agency, High Gear Sports, Oleson’s Food Stores, The Outfitter, Rotary Club of Petoskey, Nub’s Nob, Crooked Tree Breadworks, Grain Train Natural Foods Market, Brummeler & Associates, Citizens National Bank, Bay Pines Veterinary Clinic, Bearcub Outfitters, Gurney’s Bottle Shop, and the City of Petoskey.

Last year, Daniel Scarpino of Sault Ste. Marie was the top male finisher (1:18:05.3) in the half marathon event, while Samantha Jarrett of Detroit was the top female finisher (1:43:02.0). In the 10k race, Katie Connolly of Petoskey led the ladies’ field (44:57.6), while Quinn Bonnett of Cheboygan locked down the men’s race (40:19.0). The top male finisher in the 5k race was Chad Mikesell of Shorewood, Wisc., (18:53.1). Only one other runner outpaced him, and it was his own wife, Sarah Mikesell, also of Shorewood, (18:09.4). She led all 5k runners.

Same-day registration is available, but participants are encouraged to register in advance. To find complete details about the event and registration, visit https://www.trailscouncil.org/festivalofraces/.

Top of Michigan Trails Councils works to connect Northern Michigan by trail, providing recreation and transportation opportunities away from the busy roads. Learn more at www.trailscouncil.org.