Gear Up for These 10 Winter Running Races in Michigan

Gear Up for These 10 Winter Running Races in Michigan

Nov 21 2015

The temperature might be dropping, but that doesn't mean you should stop running.

Don’t let winter slow down your outside running routine. Once you get outside, you’ll probably find that you enjoy running during the winter as much as the other seasons.

While some love the challenge the cold conditions bring others just can’t stand the thought of the dreadmill all winter long.

Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, there is no shortage of races to try out this winter in Michigan.

Here’s a top 10 list of winter running races around Michigan:

1. GRPS Annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot – Grand Rapids – Nov. 26
While this is not officially a winter race, it’s the start of the holiday season and that counts! And what better way to kick off a day of feasting than to expend some calories beforehand? For many runners, Turkey Trots are part of their holiday tradition. More than 2,000 runners participate in the Grand Rapids Public Schools Turkey Trot. Proceeds from the 5K go to support the school district’s athletic programs.

Not in Grand Rapids for Thanksgiving? Here are a few other Turkey Trots happening around the state.

2. Allegan Ugly Sweater Run – Allegan – Dec. 5
The holidays are sometimes synonymous with eggnog, fruitcake and yes, ugly sweaters. If you have an ugly holiday sweater you’re itching to put to good use, the Allegan Ugly Sweater 5K is the place to do it. The race starts and ends at the beautiful downtown Allegan Riverfront. All proceeds from the event benefit the Wounded Warriors Project and Arc of Allegan County. Awards will be given out for the “ugliest” sweater!

If running in a hideous sweater doesn’t sound appealing, check out these other holiday races.

3. Ididarun XC Night Run – Linden – Jan. 9, 2016
This trail run is not like your typical race since it takes place as night. The moon (and some glowsticks along the way) will light up the snow covered road, grass and trails for you. All participants will be required to wear a headlamp as well. The race can be run solo or in relay style. Once you hit the finish line, there will be homemade soup courtesy of the Linden Cross Country team to warm you up.

4. Bigfoot Snowshoe Race – Traverse City – Jan. 23, 2016
The Bigfoot race takes the idea of winter racing to a whole new level because its participants are required to wear snowshoes. That’s right, it’s a regular 5K/10K race, but with snowshoes instead of running shoes. The course is pretty hilly, and has plenty of logs to jump and branches to duck. If you’ve never used snowshoes before, this is the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl along the gorgeous countryside in Northern Michigan.

5. Man Vs Mountain 5K – Mt. Pleasant – Feb. 6, 2016
If you’re a fan of obstacle course racing, you’ll love the chilly take on this one. The Man vs. Mountain challenge is a 5K obstacle course that winds through Mt. Pleasant’s beautiful park system. Obstacles include a tire hop, balance beam, wall climb, army crawl through the snow and more. All participants get a hoodie, mug and swag bag.

6. Super 5K Road Race – Novi – Feb. 7, 2016
Add a little action of your own on Super Bowl Sunday by taking part in the Super 5K Road Race before the game! The race features a flat, paved 3.1 mile course that begins and ends at Novi High School. All finishers will get a medal, pint glass and unlimited access to the post-race junk food. New this year is custom Super 5K gloves and headwear for all finishers.

7. Frosty Five Trail Run – Adrian – Feb. 13
Those of you looking to push your mental and physical game to the limit will enjoy the Frosty Five Trail Run. The course is advertised as being very challenging with some single track areas, uneven paths and hills. Lots of hills.

8. Chili-Heart 5K Run – St. Clair – Feb. 20, 2016
This race gives participants the choice between a 5K run or 2 mile walk, perfect for runners of all skill levels. Regardless of the distance you choose, every finisher receives a medal. All participants will also get a warm cup of chili or soup afterward.

9. Shamrocks & Shenanigans – Ann Arbor – March 13, 2016
Celebrate St. Patrick’s day a few days early at the annual Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K. The race starts in downtown Ann Arbor, goes out to the U of M Big House and back. Shamrocks & Shenanigans donates 100 percent of the proceeds to the Save A Heart program at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Congenital Heart Center.

10. Martian Marathon – Pinckney – April 9, 2016
The Martian Invasion of the Races has a distance for everyone. Choices include the Meteor 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon. New this year is the Milky Way 26K combo which requires racers to tackle the 5K and half marathon. Not only do runners get a medal for both the 5K and half marathon, but there’s an additional 3rd medal at stake for completing the combo. Regardless of the distance or challenge, there are finisher medals for everyone.