I’ve heard of this marathon before, but since it was over 3 hours away I never had the urge to run there. Then one day I got an email looking for pacers for the Charlevoix Marathon on June 24, 2017 . Now who could turn down a free race?
Charlevoix is a small town in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula sandwiched between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix. Reminiscent of a small coastal harbor town, it provided wonderful water views and all that comes with it; light houses, lake houses, boats, beaches, and even drawbridge between the two lakes. My family enjoyed walking through the small art festival that was going on along the lakeshore while they waited for my finish.
A race in late June in the Midwest normally would be considered, hot, humid, buggy and uncomfortable. But due to its more northern location next to the lake, the Charlevoix Marathon experienced perfect racing weather. The earlier (6:30am) start kept race temps around 60 degrees. The proximity to the lake also helped keep the bugs away and humidity down.
For a small marathon (under 400 marathon finishers) it was an extremely well executed race. The race distances include a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, and full marathon. It is a USATF certified marathon and half, a Boston qualifier, and included pacers. Pre-race informational emails were very helpful, but not excessive. Packet pickup was quick and easy. I did find out at the packet pickup that there was no bag-check. Thankfully I was staying only one block away and had time to drop off my extra gear at the hotel.
The course itself is an out-and-back. I started the race with no knowledge of the course at all, and was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful route. The first (and last) 3.5 miles are tree-lined residential roads with lake views, and then it turns onto a tree lined bike path with more lake views. It is mostly flat, with a few small hills. Halfway through the course there is about a mile long wooden pedestrian bridge. The aid stations were plentiful, well-spaced, and well stocked. I had a wonderful time feasting on Gatorade, pickle juice, and bacon on the course.
A small but enthusiastic crowd greeted us at the finish. The finish medal was large, and the post-race food even included pizza! I was pleasantly surprised throughout this race. From the amazing location, to park-like course, and the wonderful finish I would recommend this race. In fact, make it a long weekend and spend some time to enjoy everything Charlevoix has to offer!
Visit the marathon page at www.charlevoixmarathon.com for more information.