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Sleeping Bear Marathon, Half Marathon, & 5K

October 6, 2018

Join us for a scenic marathon, half marathon, and 5k run/walk in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. All races start and finish in Empire, MI. The out-and-back marathon course will take runners by the “Dune Climb”, past Little Glen Lake, and through the village of Glen Arbor with breathtaking views of the Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Dunes along the way. The half marathon and 5k will follow the same course as the marathon, with the half marathon turning around at the 6.5 mile mark, and the 5k turning around at 1.5 miles. At the peak of fall color season, the tree-lined course will be one that both runners and spectators won’t soon forget. See why Good Morning America calls this area one of the most beautiful in the United States.

Live Runner Tracking

This year's race will feature live runner tracking during the race! Runners have the option of using the RaceJoy app on their phone so friends and family can track them and cheer them along while they're out on course.

Learn More and Download The App!


Interactive Course Maps

Half Marathon

Downloadable Maps

The Sleeping Bear Marathon is a USATF certified course (MI15047SH), and is a Boston Marathon qualifying race.


Schedule of Events

Friday, October 5, 2018

5:00-7:00 p.m. Packet pick up – Lake Michigan Beach Park, (click here for map)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

**All race day parking is located at Johnson Park** (click here for map)

6:30-8:30 a.m. – Packet pick & late registration Lake Michigan Beach Park (click here for map)
7:30 a.m. – Marathon start at Lake Michigan Beach Park
8:30 a.m. – Half Marathon start at Lake Michigan Beach Park
8:40 a.m. – 5k Run / Walk start at Lake Michigan Beach Park
9:40 a.m. (approximate) – 5k award ceremony
11:00 a.m. (approximate) – Half Marathon award ceremony
12:00 p.m. (approximate) – Marathon award ceremony
1:30 p.m. – Course closes

*The time limit for the marathon will be 6 hours. The course will close for all races at 1:30 p.m.


Short's Brewing Company

Great Lakes Marathon Series

River of Life Chiropractic
Great Lakes Potato Chip Company
Friends of Sleeping Bear

Cherry Republic

Results & Records

Marathon Course Records
Men: Zachary Morgan – 2:48:11 (2015)
Women: Karen Vis – 3:15:07 (2015)

Half Marathon Course Records
Men: James Sommerville – 1:16:56 (2015)
Women: Jill Roberts – 1:28:48 (2016)

5K Course Records
Men: Ryan Morley – 19:11 (2015)
Women: Heidi Brouwer – 22:13 (2016)

Frequently Asked Questions

We expect the race to fill up before race day, and if it does there will NOT be late registration available on race weekend.
Check out these interactive marathon course and half marathon course maps:

Marathon elevation map
Half marathon elevation map

The 5K is flat and fast.

The following age groups apply for male and female for all events: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85 and older.
There will be twelve aid stations on the marathon course. Aid stations are located approximately every two miles and each will have a portable toilet. Stations will be stocked with water and Gatorade, with Gu Energy Gel at select stations. Here’s the complete rundown of the stations with approximate locations:

Half Marathon

Mile 2.0
Mile 4.3
Mile 6.4 (Gu Energy Gel)
Mile 6.6 (Gu Energy Gel)
Mile 8.7
Mile 11.0


Mile 2.0
Mile 4.3
Mile 5.4 (Gu Energy Gel)
Mile 8.4
Mile 10.7
Mile 12.2 (Gu Energy Gel)
Mile 13.4 (Gu Energy Gel)
Mile 14.8
Mile 17.2
Mile 19.8 (Gu Energy Gel)
Mile 21.9
Mile 24.2

The course closes for all races at 1:30 .m., which is a 6 hour limit for the marathon, and 5 hour limit for the half marathon. Athletes that are on course past the closure times may be pulled from the course. We don’t currently offer an early start option for any of the distances.

All roads are open to vehicle traffic on race day, but the majority of the race takes place on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. When running on the road, athletes should run as far toward the left shoulder as possible. Volunteers and police will be stationed at major intersections to aid in athlete crossing, but athletes should be prepared to stop if needed.
You may pick up a packet for family members or friends, but in an effort to keep our event safe and secure, you must present a copy of their ID (a photo works great). Have your friend/family member text/email you a photo of their ID, and bring that with you to packet pick up and you’ll be good to go.
The minimum age to participate in the marathon and half marathon is 12 years old as of December 31, 2017. This means that if an athlete is 11 years old on race day, but will turn 12 by December 31, they may participate. If an athlete will not be 12 years old by December 31, they’ll have to sit this year’s race out.

The 5K is open to all ages.

Yep, for the half marathon and marathon.
Yes! As long as you sign up by the short ordering deadline (see registration page) all marathon and half marathon registrants get a gender specific moisture-wicking shirt. 5K registrants get a 50/50 potyester/cotton shirt.
Absolutely! The 5K features an out and back near the finish line, and the half marathon and marathon courses are open to vehicles, and there are plenty of places to stop along the course to cheer on your runner. Check out this map with spectator locations and routes.
Strollers and dogs are allowed in the 5K only. Please start with the stroller/dog at the very back of the pack, and yield to all non-stroller/pet participants.

Please be aware that all the roads are open to traffic, and in some places the shoulder of the road, where you will be running, is a bit narrow.

We want all participants to be safe and enjoy the race, which is which we ask for those with strollers to start at the back and use extra caution.

We review this policy each year, and it may change from one year to the next.