Top 10 Michigan Running Races to Cure Your Spring Fever

Top 10 Michigan Running Races to Cure Your Spring Fever

Mar 13 2015

After what feels like a never-ending winter, the temperatures are starting to rise and we are assured that spring is around the corner.

Good thing, too, because there are many fun-filled races on the horizon.

In preparation for spring competition, there are runners that have been slicing through the slush and are ready to hit their stride. For the less adventurous among us, this is the perfect opportunity to dust off the cobwebs on your tennis shoes and pound the pavement

It doesn’t matter which category you fall into, there is a perfect spring Michigan running race out there for you.

Here are the top 10 races you should look at for Spring 2015.

1. Big House 5K: Trail to the Victors – Ann Arbor – April 12

Photo courtesy of MGoBlue.
Photo courtesy of MGoBlue.

It isn’t every day you get to run through the tunnels of a Big 10 Football stadium, but on April 12, that’s where racers will finish the Big House 5K. The 5K begins near the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus, winds through many historic University of Michigan buildings and finishes on the 50 yard line of the Big House. All finishers receive a short sleeve tech shirt and proceeds go to six local non-profit organizations.

(Note: For those of you that don’t bleed blue, but prefer Michigan State, the Spartans have their own 5K on the same day. The Race for the Place is the largest annual fundraiser for the MSU Safe Place, a program that addresses relationship violence and stalking. The 5K starts and ends at the Jenison Fieldhouse in East Lansing. All race participants get post-race snacks, a T-shirt and free admission to MSU baseball and softball games on Sunday.

2. Traverse City Trail Running – Traverse City – April 17 and 18

Camping and off-road running unite at the Traverse City Trail Running Festival, which takes place at the Timber Ridge RV and Recreation Resort. The weekend long festival kicks off with a free kids race and 2-person 10K relay Friday night. The next morning is the 50K, 25K and 10K. Racers will run on single track and two track trails throughout the Pere Marquette Forest. All races begin and end at Timber Ridge RV, making it super convenient to get to the starting line from your camp site. Registration includes a race T-shirt and post-race snacks with Short’s Brewing Company Beer. The 50K and 25K racers will also receive a finisher’s medal.

3. Gazelle Girl Half Marathon/5K – Grand Rapids – April 19

Photo Courtesy of Gazelle Girl.
Photo courtesy of Gazelle Girl.

Calling all mothers, sisters, grandmas and aunts – the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon and 5K is for you, as it’s a women’s only racing event. The course starts and ends at Calder Plaza in the heart of Downtown Grand Rapids. All 5K finishers receive a T-shirt and lapel pin. Half marathon runners get a T-shirt and a sterling silver charm from imua jewelry by Terry Berry. This year, women that complete both the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon AND the Riverbank Run 25K will get a custom finisher’s medal.

4. Kalamazoo Marathon – Kalamazoo – May 1-3

“The race was truly one of the best experiences of my life,” “spectacular course with a good blend of commercial, residential and bike paths,” “extreme detail put into making every step of the way perfect” – all sentiments that racers have used to describe the Kalamazoo Marathon. Race weekend includes the marathon, the Borgess half marathon, 10K, 5K run, Priority Health 5K Walk, and Meijer Kids Fun Run. In addition to the race, everyone has access to the festival-like Tent City, which has live music, food and refreshments all day.

5. Fast and Furriest 5K Run/Walk – Midland – May 2

Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Bay Animal Society.
Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Bay Animal Society.

This 5K welcomes both the two-legged and four-legged type. The dog-friendly race is held at City Forest in Midland. All finishers receive a special event t-shirt and other event goodies. Each dog accompanied by a runner/walker will get a special bandana. All proceeds for the event benefit the Great Lakes Bay Animal Society.

6. Fifth Third Riverbank Run – Grand Rapids – May 9

The Fifth Third Riverbank Run is the largest 25K road race in the country, drawing in more than 20,000 participants. There is a distance for everyone in the Riverbank run, with distances such as:

  • Photo Courtesy of Fifth Third Bank.
    Photo courtesy of Fifth Third Bank.


  • 25K relay
  • 25K wheelchair/handcycle
  • 5K/25K combo
  • 5K/10K combo
  • 5K run
  • 5K walk

All race participants get a race T-shirt, access to the pre-race expo in DeVos Hall, and access to the Michelob Ultra Finish Fest. 5K and 10K finishers get a custom pin while 25K finishers get a commemorative medal. (And for those of you that run the Gazelle Girl Half, you’ll get an additional medal!)

7. Stony Creek Back to the Beach Half Marathon/10K/5K – Shelby Township – May 17

Winter only just ended but many of you may be ready to get back to the beach. If you’re looking for an event that includes a variety of different running surfaces, the Back to the Beach race should be a top choice. The half marathon portion of Back to the Beach is run on asphalt, trail segments, dirt roads, boardwalks and city street, while the 5K and 10K are run mostly on cross-country trail. All finishers, regardless of race get a T-shirt, medal and access to the post-race party. Half marathon finishers will get an additional pint glass.

8. Seahorse Challenge – Climax – May 24

Photo Courtesy of Seahorse Challenge.
Photo courtesy of Seahorse Challenge.

There are a handful of multi-sport races that start in May, but the Seahorse Challenge is considered the state’s big season opener. The Seahorse Challenge, held at Coldbrook County Park, has an olympic and sprint triathlon, aquabike and duathlon. Racers can make a weekend of it by camping just 800 meters from the transition area. The swim is done in a small clear lake, the bike boasts a smooth course with one short climb, and the run is half cross country, half pavement trail. All racers receive a T-shirt, custom finisher’s medal, swim cap and access to the self-proclaimed “best post race snack table out there”.

9. Yankee Springs Trail Run – Middleville – May 29-31

Trail running racers can rejoice the weekend of May 29 at the fifth annual Yankee Springs Trail Run Weekend. The event kicks off with a 10K Friday night, a marathon and double marathon on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. All courses are 100 percent single track trail through the woods of the Yankee Springs Recreation area. Runners will need to navigate hills and valleys and dance around rocks and roots along the course. Everyone that participates is invited to make a weekend of it and tent or RV Camp at nearby state park campgrounds or stay in one of the rustic cabins offered at the Long Lake Outdoor Center.

10. Hard Cider Run – Lansing – May 30

What’s better than a 5K run/walk and a cold hard cider on a beautiful spring day? The Hard Cider Run is open to runners of all abilities. All finishers receive a race T-shirt, complimentary hard (or non-alcoholic) cider and a commemorative cider glass to drink it from. Local food trucks will be on site so once the race is done, you’ll be able to refuel to your heart’s content.