2020 Stafford’s Top of Michigan Festival of Races


Frequently Asked Questions

Memorial Weekend 2020

(Charlevoix to Harbor Springs)

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 we are still finalizing routes.

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?

Where is the finish?

The two 5K races, and the Harbor Springs 10k will be run out and back on the marathon course from the start (Charlevoix) and from the finish (Harbor Springs).

Marathon and 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?

A map of the half marathon start can be found HERE

A .pdf of the entire course, showing mile markers, aid stations and restrooms, can be found HERE

An interactive map can be found HERE

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, for a total of 26.2 miles. A small portion of the trail (about .25 mile) is currently unpaved through Bayfront Park in Petoskey, due to construction, but the gravel surface will be smooth. A small portion of the marathon and 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 downtown Bay Harbor, and the route connects with the Wheelway at East Park. The 10K begins at the Top of Michigan Trails Council headquarters at 1687 M 119, which is located on the Wheelway 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 1:30 pm, so marathon runners will have six hours and 30 minutes to complete the race; half participants will have 5 hours and 30 minutes. 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
  • Towels
  • Your own water for fluid between aid stations
  • Gloves
  • Jacket
  • Extra socks
  • Extra shoes including a pair of non-running shoes
  • Sunblock
  • 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
  • Sunglasses
  • 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 Full or 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?

  • Marathon Runners: There will be plenty of parking for runners catching the shuttle in Harbor Springs at 5:30 am. A shuttle will only be available before the race, so please plan accordingly. Check at registration for details, but do indicate when you register that you will need a ride.
  • Half Marathon Runners: The map for the half start indicates areas for parking (first parking area on the right after you come in the main entrance to Bay Harbor Village) and it is a short walk to the start line. HOWEVER, we will only be offering a shuttle prior to the race, therefore, only park here if you can arrange a ride back. Otherwise, There will be plenty of parking for runners catching the shuttle in Harbor Springs at 5:30 am.
  • 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 5:30 am for the marathon. We are still working out the details for the shuttle heading to Bay Harbor for the start of 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! Communicate with them HERE. They will want to make ride arrangements in advance.

What about awards?

Medals will be presented to finishers of the Marathon and 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:

  • 16-19
  • 20- 24
  • 25 -29
  • 30-34
  • 35-39
  • 40-44
  • 45-49
  • 50-54
  • 55-59
  • 60-64
  • 65-69
  • 70-74
  • 75+

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

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, but we hope to have something like last years’ pick up – a great party in Charlevoix with a spaghetti dinner and band!


  • Marathon: Near start line (Dixon Ave), Charlevoix, 6:00 – 6:30 am
  • Half Marathon: Village of Bay Harbor, 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.

Where can my family/friends find me for photos along the course?

See the interactive map for road crossings. Please do not park on US 31, as this is a busy state highway. The aid stations all will have parking available nearby. West Park, East Park, Magnus Park and Bayfront Park all are good choices. On the Harbor end, there is a safe parking area by Aid Station #12, at the intersection of Beach, Fern and Pennsylvania.

Will medical personnel be on hand?

Physicians and nurses will be on hand for the entire event for your safety, in case of an emergency.

At the Harbor Springs finish line:

  • Race participants (marathon, half, 10K and HS 5K) will enjoy goodies such as chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter sandwiches, oranges, bananas, watermelon and chips at the finish line.
  • T-shirts will be distributed, if ordered, as well as swag not picked up at registration
  • Be ready to cool off in the waters of Little Traverse Bay. There is a beach at the finish line!
  • Awards will be distributed to the first three finishers in all age categories. Special awards will be given to places 1, 2, and 3 for men, women and masters in each race.

At the Charlevoix 5K finish line:

  • T-shirts will be distributed to those that didn’t receive them on Friday
  • Plenty of water and snacks will be available!
  • Awards will be handed out!

Post-race activities:

We’ll add more as community calendars become available.

Who do I contact if I’d like to volunteer?

Please contact Becca at 231.348.8280, or email info@trailscouncil.org.   A lot of quality volunteers are needed to make this race come together!

The Community Marathon Benefits:

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

Race and Volunteer Contacts

Top of Michigan Trails Council

Jeff Winegard, Race Director
231.348.8280 | info@trailscouncil.org