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Race Updates

Race Update #2

We hope you are ready and excited for Saturday! The weather looks pretty good for running – cool with temps in the high 30s and low 40s and right now, they say we’ll get it all in before the rain starts (maybe not ideal for volunteering so thank the volunteers when you can). If you are cold at the start, wear warm-up clothes and then throw them onto the gear tarp as you run by, just 30 meters into the race. Remember that you will likely warm up quickly, especially in the woods where there won’t be as much wind.

Thanks again to our generous sponsors and all the volunteers who will be working a lot of hours to help this race go smoothly. Thanks also to Camp Anew for their volunteer crew. And thanks to all of you for coming back year after year or trying this race for the first time!

Race Prep, #s, Check-In

  • Race Number Look-up. Look up your race/bib # here (in alphabetical order or search function in upper right). Confirm the info is correct. Email me if not. Bring your race # to early or same-day check in. This helps us quickly get you your physical race number/bib and shirt or buff if you bought one.
  • Distance Changes. We can still change your distance right up until race time. Email me if you need to change. Need to change distance or fix an error on race day? Go directly to Epic’s tent near the start/finish arch. U
  • Who You’re Racing. Here’s a breakdown of all racers by age group.
  • You MAY pick up race numbers and shirts for friends. Get their # in advance or look it up on your phone or our posted lists at check-in.
  • Give the shuttle process 15 minutes to be safe and complete check-in at least 25 minutes before your race.
  • Gear bag tent. Leave your clothes with us. Well, some of them. We’ll use a bag tag system again. We’d recommend keeping valuables in your vehicle though just in case. We’ll also have a tarp next to the tent for half and full marathoners to throw a bag for quick gear and fuel needs between loops. There are two changing rooms at Luton, in the central grassy area, so get some dry clothes on after the race and join us for lunch.
  • Meal ticket for spectators/guests: none needed if you paid online.

Early Check in

  • Friday from 4-7 pm at Gazelle Sports, 3930 28th ST or Saturday morning at Luton Park, 25 minutes before the race to be safe, plus shuttle time.
  • At early check-in, we’ll raffle off some Founders Brewing and VanderMill Hard Cider gift cards and give out Clif Shots and Bloks to all as an incentive to use early check-in if you can.
  • The parking passes have all sold out online but the shuttle is a breeze.
  • If you did not get a shirt and would like one or would like to change sizes, shirts will be available for sale on Saturday at 9:45 am at the check-in tents. $15 to purchase. We have to make sure everyone who pre-paid for a shirt gets their shirt first.

Location & Parking

  • For most of you, the best bet is to take US-131 or the East Beltline (aka Wolverine/M-44) to 10 Mile Road. Turn east. Unless you have the parking pass, drive PAST Luton Park and go to 6750 10 Mile Rd NE, Rockford to the shuttle lot at Crossroads Wesleyan Church, one mile east of Luton Park on the southwest corner of 10 Mile and Myers Lake Road.
  • The folks at Crossroads will have coffee, fruit, and restrooms for you. Thanks!
  • Spectators should use the shuttles (2) as well but can drop off passengers if necessary (elderly folk, families with kids). The shuttles will run continuously throughout the day.
  • Please do NOT park on Olde Meadow DR across from the park which is private or on the shoulder of 10 Mile Rd or Luton Park’s entrance.
  • Please do NOT park at the old Kies lot and run in from there. That lot is for general public, non-race use.
  • Parking Passes. If you purchased the parking pass for parking at Luton, just show the RunReg receipt via your phone to the parking lot attendant (or print the receipt if you wish). No need to have the pass on your dash this year.
  • Please consider carpooling for environmental reasons and because we expect more spectators than previous years, which will result in a very full shuttle lot at Crossroads Church.

Schedule of events
6:45 am Luton Park 10 Mile lot opens (requires pass)
6:45 am marathon check-in begins
7:45 am shuttle begins from Crossroads Church for half and quarter marathon
7:45 am quarter/half check-in begins (finish at least 25 minutes before start time)
8:00 am marathon start
9:30 am quarter marathon start (waves)
10:00 am half marathon start (waves)
10:45 am kids fun run
10:30 am – 2:45 pm brunch/lunch
2:00 pm shuttle bus ends; volunteers take over shuttling duties
2:45 pm cut-off for all racers (if you are close, we will not pull you off the course)


  • Lunch! Our famous R.P. Vanden Berg pig roast, Ramona’s Table deli sides and Kingma’s fruits will be in the parking lot.
    • Pig and deli sides are served around 10:30 am and we’ll keep it open from then on (runners can eat at anytime after a race, right?). The quinoa is vegan and nut-free in case that helps you plan your lunch.
    • If you would like to share a homemade or store-bought side dish or snack, that’s great but up to you.
  • Results. Results will be just posted north of check-in by the start chute. Epic Race Timing will have printouts on boards and via a receipt print-out system with your finish data on it. Shortly after the race, you can also look up results using the race # look-up link above. We’ll also email a Race Recap with results later in the day or Sunday at the latest. You can always go to Epic Race Timing’s site to find results.
  • Awards. You can pick up your award right after the race. If possible, stick around for the award ceremony and photos which will occur not too long after we have determined the top 3 finishers in each division. The awards tent will be next to the check-in tent. We’ll award Merrell Money ($170) to those who win the overall title for each distance (under 40 or 40+), a Gazelle Sports gift certificate if you are top 2 in your age group and wood medals for top 3. Your gift certificate will say Michigan Adventure Race on it, not Hurt the Dirt. The certificate is good as gold at all five locations (3 in West Michigan, 2 closer to Detroit), but not online.
  • Raffle. We’ll raffle some prizes BEFORE the start of each race. If you registered to race, you’ll be in the drawing. Must be present to win.
  • Finisher Award. Stainless steel camp pint. We still have some stainless steel pints from last year and wood medallions from years ago if you had your heart set on a finisher medal. First come, first served. Old date on the back.
  • Merrell Demo Shoes & Booth. Try on a pair of Merrell trail shoes after the race and test them out on the Youth Strider (Kids) Loop. Follow the flags inside the Green loop; return the way you came and don’t cross the finish line. Watch for racers when you return. Might be best not to race in them but it’s your call. Also stop by their table to enter to win some sweet raffle prizes.
  • GRIT Life Gym Booth and Challenge. Your chance to grab free swag, win a prize pack, and compete in a quick Sled Sprint contest for a chance to win an hour long massage from our world class licensed massage therapist Annika Dieringer! She will also be onsite giving free 10 minute massages from 8:00 AM until Noon. Don’t miss your chance to have Annika help work out those kinks that trail running can bring!
  • Metro Health Sports Medicine Booth. Their team is roviding medical support and stretching at the race. Stop by their tent if you need any help or have a question.
  • The 4th Musketeer Table. This group builds strong local movements of men using adventure, inspiration and challenge and creates environments for man and God to meet.

Trail Rules & Etiquette (more in Race Update #1 below)

  • Keep flags (likely orange but could be blue) on your right throughout the race. Never cross the line of flags. You will not see flags at random places on Black, Red or Green because the trail is so defined except at a small number of “off-shoot” trails. Stay on the main/straight trail and don’t cross over the flags at these off-shoots.
  • Please run THROUGH any narrow areas that are wet or muddy to help keep Luton a great, narrow singletrack trail.
  • We are not outright banning music but you MUST keep volume low and have one ear free to be able to hear runners around you. If we receive several complaints, next year music will not be allowed.
  • If walking, please stay on the far right and you must walk single file at all times.

Course Details (see Race Update #1)

  • New: Do not access the portajons or parking lot via the start chute you went through. You need to cross the timing mats under the arch before you exit the course. Otherwise it won’t record the completion of the lap! If you just need the portajon, use the one right at the kiosk if available.
  • Review the course map here.
  • Aid stations
    • Black spoke aid station (1.4 miles): water and Gatorade (watered down some as most have requested), maybe a few snacks.
    • Red spoke aid station (4 miles) water and Gatorade, sweet and salty snacks, may or may not have fruit (you’ll get it just 2.5 miles more)
    • Start/Finish aid station (6.55 miles) water, Gatorade, fruit, sweet and salty snacks, okay to run out the finish chute and grab some pig or deli sides if you really want. Return on the right/south side of the kiosk.

Kids Run

  • The kids run will start at 10:45 am from the south side of the kiosk. No pre-registration. Parents will need to sign this waiver for their child. Please bring it with you if possible (or we will have copies there)
  • We will have a few volunteers out on the kids loop but please accompany your child if possible
  • Please keep an eye out for the kiddos when you cross the Green loop just after the start and when the kids merge onto Green from the meadow.


  • Please use the free shuttle by parking at Crossroads Church. If you have waited 10 minutes and no shuttle is around, please let the Crossroads Church staff know and they can call the shuttle driver.
  • Day of lunch price is $10 for adult/teen spectators, $5 for kids. Pay at the line if you didn’t pay for spectators online when you registered. No need to show proof of payment if you paid online.

If you missed Race Update #1, please read it on the website.

The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start. — John Bingham

See you at the start!


Upcoming Local Trail Races to Check Out


Race Update #1

We hope you’re looking forward to the race on Saturday, April 27! Some races are about the celebration. Others are about performing well. We hope you’ll find Hurt the Dirt to be about both – a celebration of running on trails with a local and broader community of runners and a challenge to perform at your best on a moderately tough but really fun trail system. For some of you, your best will result in a medal and prize. For others, this will be your first marathon or half or maybe your first trail race or even your first race. Your best might be just to finish. Maybe just lining up to the start line was a monumental struggle. We are grateful to play a part in this challenge, to see you trample your fears and achieve big goals!

Luton Park is widely considered one of the top trail systems in the Lower Peninsula for both running and biking. Its trails were designed with sustainability and flow in mind. Luton stays in great condition, drains well, offers a forgiving surface, and is designed so runners can maintain momentum with smooth ups, downs and turns. Its stacked loop design (hub and spoke) allows for varying skill levels and routes. If you haven’t run this trail, we think you’ll love it.

We have reached our capacity limit of 550+ racers for the fifth year in a row. Thank you for racing with us whether its your first time or ninth.

Transfers, Drop Downs

  • Transfers: If you won’t be able to race, use our free Transfer process. Find someone to take your place (reach out to West MI Trail Runners or Hurt the Dirt Facebook pages if necessary; You and your replacement figure out the money exchange on your own (e.g., PayPay). Sign into your RunReg account, and click Edit/Transfer to the right. If you find someone to transfer your race to but they want to do a shorter race, first go in and drop down, then do the transfer.
  • Drop Downs (or Jump Ups): Go into your account, scroll to the bottom and change your distance there. If you are jumping up, you’ll be charged for the difference. If you are dropping down, sorry but no refunds for that (consistent with other races). Marathoners who drop down can keep their parking pass. You’ll receive that by email.
  • After online closes on Wednesday at midnight, we’ll take changes by email or on race day if necessary (go right to Epic Race Timing tent).
  • For more instruction on transferring or dropping down, go to the Register page.

This is a loooong, detailed update, but we’re covering everything in one update and it should answer all your questions. You can access this update on the website if you need to reference it later.

Course Preview
Merrell and Hurt the Dirt will offer a course preview this coming Saturday, April 20. Try out a demo Merrell shoe, get acquainted with the trail, or just come for some company. Just know that if you can’t make the preview due to distance or conflicts, the trail will be well marked on race day and with 550 fellow racers, you’ll never be lost or lonely.

  • When: April 20. 9:00 am. Or come early and run the first loop with the West MI Trail Runners group, who will likely be running multiple loops. Go to their Facebook page to see when they are starting.
  • How: RSVP and details here (come even if you forget to RSVP)
  • Where: Luton Park, 5950 10 Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341.
  • Who: Hurt the Dirt racers and anyone else.
  • What Else: The course will not be flagged for the preview so follow Green > Black > Red > Green (connected by the Blue hub in between each trail) on the course map and trailhead posts.

Thanks to Our Sponsors!
Presenting Sponsors

  • Merrell. If you didn’t know, Merrell is both a locally owned and global running shoe and gear powerhouse. Merrell has some of the best trail running shoes in the industry. Check them out at Gazelle Sports or a local shoe store near you. Merrell paid for half of your stainless steel “camp style” pint finisher awards and has donated 12 $170 Merrell Money cards for shoes or apparel to the first-place winners (three races, male and female, under 40 and 40+).
  • Gazelle Sports. Gazelle Sports is one of the top running specialty stores in the U.S., with stores located in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Holland on the west side of Michigan and Birmingham and Northville on the east side. Gazelle will provide gift certificates for all the age group 1st and 2nd place winners. If you need shoes or gear for the race, we encourage you to visit them. They have a large team of expert shoe fitters to get you in the right shoe for your running goals, foot, and gait.
  • Grit Life. Led by NASM certified personal trainer and Spartan SGX coach, Craig Duncan, GRIT Life is a Grand Rapids-based community constructed on healthy lifestyle through movement, nutrition, recovery and mindfulness. Along with these pillars, the expert coaching, accountability and relationships keep members motivated and focused on their goals. Bring in proof or registration or bib from Hurt the Dirt and receive a two week free trial with GRIT Life! Offer valid now and expires June 1, 2019. Call 616-272-GRIT to get your two weeks started.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Sponsors

  • Ramona’s Table, offering great food and a great location in Rockford by the dam. Each year they bring us the best veggie sides – quinoa, charred corn salad and pesto tortellini – of any trail race this side of the Pacific Coast; thanks for the generous discount.
  • Metro Health Sports Medicine will provide medical support for the race. Their sports medicine group features a team of highly-skilled physicians and athletic trainers offering the latest tools and techniques to speed your recovery. Stop by their tent near the finish line if you have questions or need treatment.
  • Founders Brewing Co. for $300 in gift cards to one of the best breweries in the world, right here in downtown Grand Rapids (if you didn’t know). Thanks for supporting three of our races this year.
  • Gordon Water Systems offers the most reliable water softener systems, bottled water and coffee service in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and Portage. Thanks for providing the refreshing water at the start/finish.
  • Tim Parks LC. A great resource for promotional products and decorated clothing for your business or event. Tim has provided shirts for our races since 2011. He also crafted the snazzy barnwood trophies some of you will take home and sourced the cool camp-style pints.
  • Clif. Clif will provide a pack of Bloks energy chews or two gels for every racer. Quick energy, delicious flavors, certified organic, easy to open. My go-to fuel.
  • Zanfel. We shouldn’t have any poison ivy on the trail but if you get the rash, Zanfel can help you get rid of it.. The only product known to remove urushiol, the toxin responsible for the reaction, from the skin anytime after outbreak.
  • Jamie Geysbeek Photography. Our race photographer. Specializing in event photography, including race coverage, weddings, corporate events and live music. Discounts to racers and free high-res photos for you to download after the race (but no promises that we get pics of all racers).
  • Icespike. Great for running on tough or slippery trails and in winter conditions. Buy them at Gazelle Sports GR, Kzoo and Holland (call for availability) or online.

Support businesses that support local trail running. Take a minute to drop by their booth if they have one at the race or try out their products or services as you prep for the race and in the future.

Thanks to Our Volunteers and Partners!

  • A big thanks to all the volunteers who will be working a lot of hours to help this race go smoothly. Please thank them as you run by them if you have a breath to do so! Our charity partner is Camp Anew, which provides support to children and teens ages 7-17; it is a place where campers will experience the value of gathering with other children who have experienced grief. Camp Anew will have volunteers out there as well.
  • Thanks also to Kent County Parks for allowing us to race at Luton each year and the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance (The Alliance) for building and maintain the trail system with help from other trail users. All trail users, not just mountain bikers, are encouraged to join The Alliance to advocate for, build new, and maintain existing area trails.
  • Also thanks to our vendors for discounts and special deals including Epic Race Timing for affordable chip-timing, Kerkstra Portajons, RJ VandenBerg Pig Roasting and Kingma’s Market for the discounted fruit.

This map shows where most of you will be coming from. A special thanks to those of you who are traveling from far away for this race (or adding the race into your visit) and our massive November Project group from Chicago and elsewhere. Sorry we couldn’t capture all of you on this map. Safe travels.


Racer list
Click on Who’s Registered on the RunReg site to see who is racing. Email me if your information is incorrect. We’ll provide the final racer list with age group divisions and your race/bib number by Thursday of race week.

More than 260 of you will win a top finisher or raffle prize at Hurt the Dirt!

  • Finisher award. Every finisher will receive our Hurt/Merrell stainless steel camp pint for crossing the line – usable and memorable at the same time.
  • 12 overall and masters winners will receive $170 Merrell Money cards good for shoes and gear, and custom wood trophies.
  • 216 Age Group winners (Under 15 years, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65+)
    • 1st place: Gazelle Sports $15 gift certificate (in store only), wood medal
    • 2nd place: Gazelle Sports $10 gift certificate (in store only), wood medal
    • 3rd place: wood medal
    • If you do not live near their stores, consider stopping by the Grand Rapids store after the race; it’s a fairly quick drive from Luton.
    • Overall winners are not included as 1st place age group winners
  • 30+ raffle prizes from Founders Brewing, Zanfel, Hurt the Dirt shirts

If you did not order a shirt but would like to buy one now, you may order one by midnight Sunday (4/21) within your RunReg account. Mens/adult crew or women’s v-neck, slightly contoured. Generally to size. Some say they run just a bit larger than normal sizes so you may want to go with the smaller size if you are right in between sizes. Order one now to guarantee you get one, especially if you wear a size that’s less popular. We do order extras and may have some left over after the final check-in (9:45 am or so) if you decide to wait.

Optional Parking Pass

  • A parking pass is required to park at the Luton Park trailhead (start/finish) due to limited spaces there. No worries if you don’t have a pass. The shuttle is free, efficient and just 1 mile to the east. Plus Crossroads Church will have coffee, snacks and bathrooms if needed. Thanks! We have a good gear check system so bring a bag with you.
  • Marathoners paid for parking passes in their entry fee. We’ll email passes to marathoners several days before the race.
  • Other racers (and spectators with mobility issues or young kids) can buy the $5 pass ($5.30 including service fees) online, now via the RunReg registration site. Scroll down under Purchase Event Items.  First come, first served. Limit 1. 70 passes available. Parking fees go to Kent County Parks for Luton Park maintenance.
  • Show parking attendant on your phone or print it. No need to have it on your dash.


  • Early check-in is Friday, April 26, 4-7 pm at Gazelle Sports, 3930 28th ST
  • Same day check-in is Saturday morning at Luton Park, 45 minutes before the race to be safe.
  • We will email your race/bib number on Thursday, April 25. Have this number when you check in so things go efficiently.
  • You may collect race numbers and shirts for friends. Just make sure they know so there’s not confusion when they check in and can’t find their stuff.
  • If you didn’t order a shirt or you need a different size, you must wait until AFTER half marathon check-in Saturday to get it (likely about 9:45 am – until after all those who purchased their shirts get their correct size).

For most of you, the best bet is to take US-131 or the East Beltline (aka Wolverine/M-44) to 10 Mile Road. Turn east. From there, these are the options depending on if you have the parking pass:

  1. Shuttle. Use 6750 10 Mile Rd NE, Rockford in your map app to get to the shuttle lot at Crossroads Wesleyan Church, one mile east of Luton Park on the southwest corner of 10 Mile and Myers Lake Road. We rented two buses so most of you will have a wait under five minutes.
  2. Park at Luton (with $5 pass and all marathoners). 5950 10 Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341

You may NOT park on Olde Meadow which is a private road or on the shoulder of 10 Mile Rd or the Luton Park entrance. 

Schedule of events
6:45 am Luton Park 10 Mile lot opens (requires pass)
6:45 am marathon check-in begins
7:45 am shuttle begins from Crossroads Church for half and quarter marathon
7:45 am quarter/half check-in begins (finish at least 25 minutes before start time)
8:00 am marathon start
9:30 am quarter marathon start (waves)
10:00 am half marathon start (waves)
10:45 am kids fun run
10:30 am – 2:45 pm brunch/lunch
2:00 pm shuttle bus ends; volunteers take over shuttling duties
2:45 pm cut-off for all racers
(subject to race director’s discretion; if you are close, we will not pull you off the course)

Start Logic
Shifting the quarter marathon start to BEFORE the half marathon two years ago has decreased congestion for the majority. Quarter marathoners will finish the race before they meet up with many of the marathoners on lap two and before half marathoners catch them, which will cut the number of racers passing or being passed drastically between the three distances. Quarter marathoners will have more of a brunch than a lunch but it should make for a better experience for all.

Order yourselves in the wave chute with our pace signs, based on where you normally finish during a race. For the quarter and the half, we’ll send racers out in “ripples” every 20-40 seconds so that the trails aren’t so congested at the start.

Pre-Race Prep & Bag Drop

  • Start-finish layout map.
  • Bring a bag with clothes to change into (changing rooms available), warm-up clothes, bib. Camp chair if you want.
  • Gear check. We can keep your gear bag secure.
  • Drop bag area. If you are a half or full marathoner wanting quick access to your gear DURING the race, you may want to use the drop bag tarp next to the gear bag tent so you can access the bag as you make the turn to do your next lap.
  • Portajohns are located in three places: the majority are in the grass area west of the trailhead. One is in the changing room structure just north of the others. One will likely be near the trailhead kiosk and gear drop tent for quick, mid-race use.

What to Wear/Weather

  • If we get heavy rain during race week, we may have to avoid the Black and Red loops per our permit with Kent County Parks.
  • Instead, you would do more loops of Green and Blue as necessary to keep distances about the same. Not ideal, but better than cancelling the race! Running and biking in heavy mud can permanently widen the trail (most people run around puddles and mud) so we want to be good caretakers of the trail. Singletrack trails are worth preserving.
  • If you are new to racing and struggle with knowing what to wear, a good rule of thumb is to dress 15-20 degrees warmer than the feels-like temperature at race time, maybe even more considering much of the course is sheltered from the wind.
  • You may dump off warm-up clothes at the gear check/drop bag area just 15 seconds into your run or on your next lap.
  • In case of severe weather (e.g., thunderstorms) we will wait as along as possible for storms to pass and finish the race up when lightning or severe winds are no longer a threat. Stay in your car if storms roll in before the race and we’ll communicate to the shuttle driver when the coast is clear. We’ll then wait for everyone to get shuttled over. If we have to cancel the race, we can’t provide a refund due to all the upfront costs but we will provide a small credit for next year’s race.


  • Shirts and sweatshirts – prices vary ($20-$30)
  • Buffs – $10, full length head/neckwear ($18-25 for national brands).
  • Pints – $10
  • Stickers – $3 ($1 if you promise to put it on your vehicle)




  • Here’s the course map. One loop is just over 6.5 miles (wheel-measured; gps varies wildly). Complete one loop for the quarter marathon, two for half, four for the full marathon. The elevation gain/lost is roughly 700-750 feet (GPS varies greatly), mostly in 5-15 feet ups and downs. It’s fun, flowing singletrack running. We didn’t say easy, but fun.
  • Within the green, black, and red  “spoke” trails that are linked by the blue “hub” trail, there is only one way to go with just a few exceptions. We will only flag those exceptions within the spoke trails. We will flag all intersections where you turn off or return to the “hub” blue trail. Red or orange flags crossing the trail means do not access that trail. If you are jumping over these flags, you are going the wrong way. Just follow the line of flags extending down the correct trail at any junction. We will not use tape across trails because bikers and other trail users are allowed to be on the trail during the race, although strongly discouraged. MI Adventure Racing and the West MI Mountain Biking Alliance are asking people to use another trail that day.
  • There will be mile markers at each mile. If you miss a sign, it may help you to know that the start of Black is about 1.4 miles and Red starts at 4 miles.
  • Aid stations. We’ll have aid stations at these 1.4 and 4-mile trailheads along with the start/finish, just after starting lap 2. Black will have water and Gatorade; possibly some food. Red will have plenty of sweet and salty snacks. We cannot guarantee that all food items will be available near the end of the day so carry your favorite food/gels if it’s critical to your performance. Half and full marathoners may certainly eat your BBQ pork and/or veggies/fruit DURING the race. Fruit will be available at the start.
  • There are no portajohns out on the course but we will position one right at the start of the next lap so you don’t have to run through the parking lot.


  • See the start-finish layout so you understand how you’ll flow from start to lap 2-4 (if applicable) to finish. The start chute is to the left/north of all the tents. Gather in that chute based on your typical finish position in a race.
  • Your start time will begin once you cross the mat (your timing chip is adhered to the back of your bib) so no need to be up front in the chute unless you are that speedy.
  • If you need to leave the course to hit the portajohn, get some emergency stretching, demolish some pig or deli sides, etc., please exit through the finish chute. Do NOT go back through the start chute. We need you to cross the mat so you get credit for the lap.
  • The Green and Blue loops have ample opportunities to pass so, ideally, get in the appropriate pace position before you get to Black at mile 1.4 where things get a bit tighter. Because vegetation is still thin from the winter, you can pass in many, many places throughout the race course.
  • Please stay away from the start mats near the inflatable start/finish so your chip doesn’t accidentally start early.


  • Most volunteers will have mobile phones so flag a volunteer (or runner) down if injured and they can call for help.
  • A Metro Health Sports Medicine doctor and Rockford Ambulance will be at the start/finish to help with medical issues.
  • Tip: If you do decide to get intimate with the dirt, roll onto your shoulder rather than your wrist! Your odds of falling in a trail race may be greater, but trail running is safer and better for your body than road running. Give yourself some space behind runner in front of you and keep your body (and mind) loose; it has an amazing way of flexing to handle varied terrain (and hard impacts)..
  • Please pay special attention to the children running in the Kids’ Run on the Green loop from 10:45-11:10 or so. They may or may not run in a straight line so give them a wide berth if you pass any of them in the final 150 meters of the race/loop.

Trail Etiquette

  • Alert any non-racing patrons (and other racers) if approaching from behind with “on your left” (or right if it presents a better passing lane, but left is standard) when you see a wide enough spot just ahead. Both the person being passed and the person passing should be working together to make the pass happen easily.
  • Be aggressive and sprint by; don’t wait for that perfect passing lane or things will back up behind you.
  • If you need to walk during part of the race, please stay to the right, single-file if you are with another participant. Two-abreast walkers or runners is strictly prohibited.
  • Awareness on the trail is important for safety and respect. Music is discouraged. If you choose to listen to music, please remove one ear bud and keep the volume low so you can hear people wanting to pass behind you.
  • Dogs (and bad-ass cats) are not allowed with runners on- or off-leash.
  • Non-registered “bandit” and pacer runners are not allowed and will be subjected to a 550-racer wedgie machine.
  • Please hold any trash such as gel wrappers until you get to one of the aid stations where we will have garbage bags.

Kids’ Run

  • The free kids’ run will start at 10:45 am at the trailhead kiosk. It will consist of most of the youth bike trail inside the north section of the Green loop and connects with the Green loop on the way back to the finish. You may run it with your child at a different time if 10:45 am doesn’t work.
  • Parents please sign a waiver for your child at the check-in tent or trailhead kiosk where volunteers in safety vests will have some. We’ll have a few monitors out there, but parents should run with younger children.
  • Keep in mind that the Green loop section of the kids course is being used by adult racers so please be cautious when you cross this trail near the start and merge into this trail nearer to the end. Please don’t run or walk two-wide with your kids on this section.
  • Each kid 12 or under receives a medal.


  • The start/finish provides a good vantage point, although seating is mostly on long grass on a hill so spectators (and you after the race) may want a blanket or a chair might work.
  • Venture out on the two-three wide Blue “hub” trail to see more of the action, off to the side (especially on Green as you walk to Blue) and in clockwise direction so you can see runners coming at you. Walk single-file and step aside for the runners as needed. Spectators can ask the trail via the Kies trailhead if you know your way around.
  • Spectators should stay off the Black and Red trails unless they want to “bushwhack” next to the trail.


  • We will raffle off Founders Brewing gift cards ($30 each), Zanfel poison ivy cream ($39 retail) and other prizes before the start of the marathon, before the quarter and before the half so that everyone has a chance to win. You can leave your prize at the gear bag tent/drop bag area. You have permission to remind me shortly before the start if I forget, since this is a new process. 🙂


Post-Race Lunch
A pretty spectacular lunch will be provided to all registered runners. You must show your bib. Our feast has been featured in Runner’s World.

  • Pig roast from R.P. Vanden Berg, deli sides from Ramona’s Table and fruit from Kingma’s Market.
  • Note: The quinoa is the nut-free deli option if needed.
  • If so inclined, bring some sweets/dessert, bag of chips, or a favorite side or drink to share (personal alcohol is permitted; no kegs please). It’s nice to round out the lunch with some more variety. Everyone bringing food can have a free MI Adventure Racing sticker.
  • Spectator/guest lunch: We will offer our lunch to spectators again this year. $7 for adults, $4 for kids. Please pay on RunReg.

See you April 27 if not sooner!


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