Every year on Memorial Day weekend, Traverse City, Michigan is flooded with people – both because it’s a gorgeous city, filled with amazing art, culture, and food, and also because of the Bayshore Marathon.
Bayshore boasts a full marathon, half, and 10k. There is a darn good reason the half fills up within hours annually, as does the 10k. The course is magnificent, and the town is bursting at the seams with places to indulge in either libations or food (OR BOTH) pre-and post-race.
Let’s talk registration – registration is in December, when you sign up make sure you have a place to stay already booked/arranged. Hotel rates will already be up the day of registration, both for the Holiday and the race. If you’re fortunate you know someone who lives in town, or nearby – that is beyond clutch.
If you’re lucky enough to get into any of the races, you’re in for a treat, the races are absolutely worthy the price tag, it is one of the most breathtaking courses I have ever ran. I urge you to take Friday off, and take your time getting into Traverse to pick your packet up at the high school. When you’re done make your way into town to enjoy dinner – more on that in a minute. This is also helpful because with the holiday and the race, the city goes from bustling to really busy really quick, same thing for packet up. If you have a friend who is willing to get your packet for you, you 1) have a good friend, and 2) owe them a beer.
Many of the hotels also have shuttles to the high school the day of the race – this is big because there are quite a few hotels in Traverse City, and it’s pretty spread out. The marathon and 10k start and finish at the high school. Half marathoners only need get to the high school to catch their shuttle up to Old Mission (norther part of the peninsula) where you will be staged, and ultimately start the race.
Pro-tip use the bathrooms at the high school, before getting on the bus for the half.
Pro-tip #2 for half marathoners (no pun intended) wait until the race starts to go – the lines will dwindle faster than you can say “pr” and remember that races are chip timed, so you just look at your “net time” or “chip time” when you’re done!
Half marathoners get the best experience in my opinion, it is a point to point course, that is well stocked with aid stations, and spectators. The half starts at 7:30, while the marathon starts at 7:15 at the south end of the peninsula. This actually allows for some really nice distraction/people watching- for both parties. It’s also good motivation to push at the end, as to not get passed by a marathoner.
*I can’t say that didn’t happen, I totally got passed at the very end by the winner and second place males, at the VERY end.
I also have to speak very kindly about the post race festivities, because it is on school property there is no alcohol. However, there are a lot of great treats: water, and Gatorade, watermelon, pre-portioned out ice cream, & chocolate milk. It’s open for runners and spectators alike, so it is also a great place to reunite with family & friends.
Ok. Why should you do this race?
-It’s a gorgeous flat course, that if the weather is forgiving – is a great fast course good weather and training could lead to a pretty big pr. If that is not on the menu, it’s still one of the most scenic courses I’ve ever been on.
-Spectators! Along the bay, and when you get into town people are everywhere cheering on the runners, some even have makeshift aid stations with Vaseline and beer.
-Traverse City, and its surrounding areas (Suttons Bay, Bellaire, Lake Leelanau, etc are GORGEOUS, and bursting at the seams with culture, and amazing food, breweries, and wineries. I have fed my post race hangries at Harvest the past two years – I recommend the beets, and Korean beef tacos.
You should also go to Brew, unless you don’t like coffee, then I don’t even know what to say to you.
**You also get a really nice Brooks tech shirt in your packet – unless you wear a Men’s size Large, then you are out of luck, and received an off brand/off shade shirt, if you asked about it after packet pick up – you most likely received a rude response. Which is very disheartening to me, as this race is expensive in both entry fees, and the added expenses with hotels, etc.
The only negative thing I can about this race is the situation with the men’s Large shirts, not only that, but the way they dealt with the inquiry. I don’t wear a men’s large, so this didn’t happen to me personally, but I ran this race with 7 other friends, one of which did get a men’s Large, and it was noticeably different to our Brooks shirts. Upon inquiry if this would be made right this individual was met with a very rude, & dismissive response.
I would recommend this race, however you do need to decide in December if you are going to commit- so the extended period between sign up and race day could be a downside, depending on which race you’re signing up for.
For me personally this was another training run, my goal marathon was 2 weeks after this, so this day was about running with friends, and taking in the views, and searching for Desi Linden.
**All opinions are my own, I paid for my race entry.