The Charlevoix Marathon in Northern Michigan is a reasonably flat out-and-back almost exclusively on bike path, though a small part weaves through the western part of the town that sits between Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan from which it draws it’s water.
Returning to Michigan, where I spent about 5 years in a previous career was nice. I’d never been to Charlevoix. In fact I’d never heard of it, but I had been to the neighboring cities of Traverse City for their cherry festival, and Macinaw City, so I was somewhat familiar with the area. Summertime along lake Michigan brings fond memories and I would recommend the area to anyone. As for the race, it’s pretty for a little bit, but becomes rather monotonous, as out-and-back courses tend to be. Community support was great, with plenty of water and electrolyte as well as food, but I doubt I’d return for logistical reasons unless they bring back that cherry juice at the finish.
I traveled there overnight from Detroit with Cade pictured below. My flight came in a little after midnight so it was nice to have the companionship for the 4-ish hour drive. We arrived, picked up our packets and briefly saw roving Marathon Maniac Ambassador Carol “Ponytail” Earles and Teal Clark. I tried to squeak in a half hour nap before the start and probably wound up more tired than if I hadn’t.
Off to the start where I ran into Georges and Jonathan, and soon we were off on the course. The course has turnarounds for 5k, 10k, half and marathon distances, and several pace groups. I maintained a 4:15 pace until the turnaround when I started to fall back. I ran into Georges and we exchanged phone numbers since I had mentioned that I had left the Bookface machine, and I lost a bit of time when I got a phone call about mile 18 about an issue from work, and again at 23 about the same issue. Sadly I missed 4:30 by 22 seconds. I wasn’t running for time, but it’s never fun to disappoint. I’d call that a B effort for the day.
I was honestly really looking forward to the “all you can drink cherry juice” that Andy Bowden said we would find at the finish. Unfortunately this year it appears that’s a no-go. (Sad Panda) I had never been this far north in Michigan without getting something cherry so we made a quick side trip to Cherry Republic, a shop selling all things cherry and I purchased a bag of dried cherries for my office, and tried their cherry cider, which isn’t really my thing.
A quick stop down to Lake Michigan to dip a toe into freezing water and back on the road for 4 hours to get Cade back to Detroit, and me down to Mom’s house for a surprise visit which she seemed to be onto from the get-go. Cade and I had lunch at a diner near his hotel then I was off to see Mom and Mike and the newest edition to the house, Teddy Bear, a Bichon rescue that Mom fell in love with a few weeks ago. I was dead tired so there was much napping in chairs and sleeping in, along with hobbling around with significant plantar fasciitis pain, but I managed to get several dog kisses from Teddy which I have reason to believe can help with that. Unfortunately I had to catch my flight back from Detroit less than 24 hours later so it was a quick trip, and I stupidly didn’t take pictures with Mom and Mike. *headslap*
Fun fact: Did you know that there was once a kingdom in Michigan? After Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, died it’s widely known that Brigham Young took over, but there was another man named James Strang that lead a breakaway faction of Mormons to Beaver Island, the largest island in Lake Michigan, and established a “kingdom” in which of course he was king. The power went to his head and he would later be killed by two men he had ordered flogged. Today you can take a ferry to beaver island from Charlevoix.