Zorn Park/City Beach
Running a half marathon is exciting. But there's something especially awe-inspiring about running it around a bay on the biggest lake in the USA!
With every step you take, you'll be joining a tradition. For centuries people have been drawn to these waters and wooded shorelines, starting with the Odawa who used the exact same footpath when they first settled here 600 years ago. The Little Traverse Wheelway has served not only as a footpath, but also as a horse and carriage thruway, a bicycle byway, and a railroad line bringing resorters "in" and lumber "out". It's no coincidence the finish chute for the race is at the historic "end of the line" just past the old Depot in Harbor Springs.
Today as runners and walkers, it's all too easy to head down the Wheelway and around the bay without giving a second thought to everybody who has traveled here before us. We hope to highlight this historic aspect while celebrating our continued access to, and connection with, the bay through this race.
Section 1: Little Traverse Wheelway
From start line in Bay Harbor through Petoskey's Bayfront Park
Runners will take a lap through Bay Harbor passing the start line and then head east on Village Harbor Drive past the Inn to the new spur path. The spur path goes along the base of the cliffs, past the basin to the bay where it joins East Park. Hard right (or you'll end up in the bay) up the first, and only, major hill to join the Little Traverse Wheelway. Don't forget to look over your shoulder at the top for an incredible view of the bay! Continue on the Wheelway towards Petoskey running through wooded sections and open sections on the bluff with views across the bay to Harbor Springs. At the 3 mile mark, runners drop down to the water's edge along the Petoskey waterfront.
Section 2: historic Bay View
At the 5 mile mark, runners will avoid a half mile section on Rt. 31 and instead veer off the Wheelway onto a grassy path that runs along the shore in front of historic Bay View cottages and past Stafford's Bay View Inn to rejoin the Wheelway.
Section 3: Petoskey State Park
Just past the Tannery Creek crossing, runners will take a short section of wood-chipped trail veering off the Wheelway into Petoskey State Park. A paved road will go through the park where runners will merge with the 10K runners/walkers at mile 7.5 (Aid Station 3) and head to the main entrance and rejoin the Wheelway.
Section 4: Beach Road
Runners will enjoy veering off the most congested part of the Wheelway to instead follow Beach Road through the back dunes and along the shore to the finish line. This is the longest, straightest, flattest stretch and can be challenging. Aid Station 4 is positioned midway to break it up. The last stretch, well-known to local runners as Beach Drive passes along historic cottages of Wequetonsing and runners then head down Bay Street along the Harbor Springs waterfront for a final, flat stretch before the finish line.
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