2020 Stafford’s Top of Michigan Festival of Races

Half Marathon/10K/5K

Frequently Asked Questions

Memorial Weekend 2020

Half Marathon
(Bay Harbor to Harbor Springs)

10K Run / Walk
(Petoskey to Harbor Springs)

5K Run / Walk
(two races beginning in Charlevoix and Harbor Springs)

Video from 2016 Race

Community Marathon Trails Council Petoskey Michigan

What is the date of the race?
Saturday, May 23, 2020

When does registration end?
Online registration will end at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 (no exceptions).

How old is this race?
This is the fifth year.

Is the course certified?
Previous to 2020, the course has been certified, but for 2020’s race will not be certified.

Why did you change the half course and remove the marathon for your races this year?
For your safety, we had to make the difficult call to remove our Marathon and reroute our Half Marathon portion of our Festival of Races. For the Half Marathon, our plan is to show you another section of trail in Petoskey – the Bear River Trail – before a short out and back toward Bay Harbor, then turning you around to head to Harbor Springs for your finish.

As I’m sure you’ve heard and if you haven’t, here is a link to learn more (there are pictures in the Baird Document – there is also drone footage) – the Little Traverse Wheelway is experiencing a couple of locations with erosion issues.  The section of the trail in question is the most scenic part of the course and there is a chance it could slide into the bay.  Structural engineers will not know the extent of the damage until spring and it is highly doubtful the trail we be open by Memorial Day.

Because our goal is to provide you with safe, scenic and secure race conditions, we feel that with the uncertainty of the condition of the section between East Park and Magnus Park just west of Petoskey would route you onto US 31 for just shy of two miles. Because of the traffic and safety concerns, we do not feel comfortable having our race proceed on such a busy stretch of road, hence our new route.

Do I get a T-Shirt?
New for 2020, shirts will be available for an additional fee. Don’t worry, you’ll still get great swag!

Where is the start?
Half Marathon: Bayfront Park, Petoskey 8:00 am
10K:  Zorn Park, West Bay Street, Harbor Springs 8:30 am
5K races: The 5K race in Charlevoix will start at the intersection of Michigan Ave and West Dixon Ave at 8:00 am.  The Harbor Springs 5K will begin in Zorn Park, West Bay Street, at 8:30 am.

Where is the finish?
The two 5K races, and the Harbor Springs 10k will be run out and back and finish where they start.

The Half Marathon races all end at Zorn Park Beach on West Bay Street in Harbor Springs. This beautiful finish area provides runners with a chance to cool off after their run by taking a dip in the Bay.

What is the weather like in late May?
The average temperature for May 23 is 62 degrees for the high and 48 degrees for the low. However, be prepared for colder, wet conditions as well as warmer than expected conditions. Be prepared for anything!

Is there a course map?
We are in the process of finalizing updated routes, we’ll post them here when updated.

The Charlevoix 5K map can be found HERE

What is the course like?
The Wheelway is a re-establishment of a turn-of-the-century bicycle trailway that goes from Waller Road in Charlevoix to Hoyt Street in Harbor Springs. The trail itself is 23.4 miles and is surfaced with 8’ to 10’ wide asphalt or a 6’ wide concrete sidewalk and is open to non-motorized uses only. For this race, road connections extend into downtowns. A small portion of the half marathon will be on a grass surface through Bay View, to avoid vehicular and pedestrian traffic through that community. The route veers off the Wheelway north of Petoskey at Beach Road, and follows local roads through a scenic resort area along the bay. The Trail is relatively flat and prime for running a fast time. The Half Marathon and 10K are run on this same course. The Half begins in beautiful Bayfront Park in Petoskey. The 10K begins at the finish line in Harbor Springs and is an out and back course.

Is the course closed for traffic?
No, it is open. There are many road crossings–many minor and a few major–along the course. Runners must be aware that traffic will not stop and they must be extremely cautious, as they will have to stop and yield to oncoming traffic. We will have crossing guards at major intersections, but runners must be aware and cautious approaching all intersections.

Is there a cut-off time for the Race?
Yes, cut-off time is 12:00 pm, so half marathon runners will have four minutes to complete the race. Runners on the course after that time must provide their own support.

What should I bring with me to the race to help finish and have a good time?
Suggestions of items runners have included in their packing lists:
Change of clothes
Your own water for fluid between aid stations
Extra socks
Extra shoes including a pair of non-running shoes
Small personal first aid kit
Snacks, candy and other items to eat after the race
Bug spray
Vaseline, sport wax or Body Glide
GU or your special energy supplement
Plastic bag for your smelly clothes after the race
Rain gear and/or umbrella
Tums or Pepto-Bismol
Medical tape
Sports watch and/or GPS
Water bottles
Icy hot or ice packs
Ankle wrap
Moleskin, duct tape or Second Skin

Will there be a bag drop?
Yes, if you are participating in the Half Marathon, bag drop will be available. Bags will be labeled with a tag from your race bib when dropped off at the start and will be available at the finish line.

Can I have stroller, jogger or dog on the course?

Can I wear headphones?
Yes, but you MUST be aware of your surroundings at all times and this includes being able to hear any verbal warnings/instructions from course officials, the sound of any other participants on the course approaching you to pass, and traffic at the road crossings.

Will this race be professionally timed?
Yes, with the exception of the Charlevoix 5K.  The timing equipment will be provided by Superior Timing. Results will be posted immediately at the finish line.

If I am injured, pregnant or unexpectedly out of town, can I get a refund?
Entry fees are non-refundable and entries are non-transferable. This means once you have registered, you will not receive a refund if you cannot participate. You may not defer your entry to the following year.

What about weather cancellations?
The race will go on rain or shine.

Why haven’t I received an email confirmation?
Usually the problem is that your computer’s spam filter has erased or blocked the email confirmation that was sent to you. Please make sure that you check your spam filter.

Where does my registration fee go?
The race will benefit the Petoskey High School cross country, track and soccer teams; as well as Top of Michigan Trails Council, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to advocate for and facilitate the establishment of a multi-use non-motorized trail system in northern Michigan. TOMTC was instrumental in getting the Little Traverse Wheelway built.

Where should I park on Race Day?
Half Marathon Runners: Parking in Harbor Springs is a must, as we only offer pre-race transportation to the start line. Public parking is available in town Harbor Springs.

10K Runners: Parking is available throughout town in Harbor Springs.

Harbor Springs 5K: Parking is available throughout town.

Charlevoix 5K: Morning parking is easy in Charlevoix. Look for the public parking lots behind the buildings on the west side of Bridge Street/US 31.

Is there a shuttle?
Shuttles are available for runners only.
AM shuttle leaves Harbor Springs (on East Bay Street, in front of the Pier Restaurant) PROMPTLY at 6:30 am for the half marathon.

NEW THIS YEAR: if you cannot coordinate rides, please park where your race finishes. We will not be offering a shuttle after the race. That way you can stay as long as you need and not have to wait around for a shuttle!

Unfortunately, we cannot shuttle you to or from your hotel.  UBER/Lyft has arrived in Northern Michigan! Please make your arrangements in advance.

What about awards?
Medals will be presented to finishers of the Half Marathon.

Overall awards will be given in each race for men and women. Age group winners will go three deep in the following age brackets for men and women:

20- 24
25 -29

What is not allowed on the course?
Our ability to obtain a permit next year will depend on leaving the course as we found it. No trash on the trail, please. Cups and papers at aid stations should be dropped within 50 yards of the station or carried to the next station.

What airports are nearby?
The nearest regional airport is Traverse City (TVC) (90-minute drive) and the closest major airport is in Grand Rapids (GRR) (three-hour drive). There is also a regional airport in Emmet County in Pellston (PLN) (25 minutes from Petoskey).

Do you recommend any places to stay?
Please visit Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau: http://www.petoskeyarea.com/stay/
Our title sponsor also offers lodging:  Stafford’s Hospitality

Do you offer race day registration?
Registration will be available at packet pickup and Saturday morning for the 10K and 5K races ONLY! Registration is permitted during the same time as packet pickup for these three races. Allow plenty of time to register. Cutoff time for registration is 30 minutes before the start.

What about packet pickup?
We are still working out the details for packet pick up, so check back for updates!

Half Marathon: Waterfront Park, Petoskey, 6:30 – 7:30 am
10K: Zorn Park, Harbor Springs, 7:00 – 8:00 am
Harbor Springs 5K: Zorn Park, Harbor Springs, 7:00 – 8:00 am
Charlevoix 5K: Near start line (Dixon Ave), Charlevoix, 6:30 – 7:30 am

Are there restroom facilities along the course?
Restrooms/porta-johns are available in the start areas, at some of the aid stations and at roadside parks along the course. Please see the pdf map for restroom locations (coming soon).

Where can my family/friends find me for photos along the course?
See the interactive map for road crossings, once posted. Please do not park on US 31, as this is a busy state highway.

The Community Marathon Benefits:

  • Top of Michigan Trails Council
  • Petoskey High School sports teams

Race and Volunteer Contacts

Top of Michigan Trails Council

Becca Nelson, Race Director
231.348.8280 | info@trailscouncil.org