This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. North Dakota was my 16th state.
North Dakota was completely unexplored territory for me in 2009 when I signed up for the Kroll’s Diner Bismarck Marathon and Half Marathon. At the time, I hadn’t been anywhere near Bismarck or anywhere in North Dakota for that matter.
I got a long-sleeve white technical shirt with the race logo on the front at packet pickup, which was quick and easy to get in and out of. The race started at 7:30 am and it was in the mid-50’s then, so weather-wise, we had ideal racing conditions. The start and finish were at a nice park but the rest of the course was pretty uneventful and not very scenic.
Much of the race course was along running trails that were mostly flat. It was an out-and-back course with a loop during the first part. There were sufficient water stops with good volunteers but sporadic crowd support. I felt like the finish line was upon me suddenly, with the many twists and turns of the park trails, and my finish time was 1:59:00.
At the finish, I was handed a pretty hefty medal with the race logo on it that matched the shirt I had picked up at packet pickup. Overall, this was not a particularly bad race, there just was nothing exciting or out of the ordinary about it. If you do run this race, the race website always has hotel discounts every year so check there before you make reservations.
My family and I found Bismarck to be a very depressed area with not much to do. I would only recommend this race if you’re going to be in Bismarck anyway and are looking for a good half marathon while you’re there. It’s not bad for a half marathon, it’s just that there are better ones out there in my opinion from what I’ve since seen and heard from other runners. South Dakota on the other hand, was a completely different story, but I wouldn’t discover that until years later.
This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Michigan was my 15th state.
I signed up for the Traverse City Bayshore Marathon and Half Marathon because I knew other runners who had ran the half marathon or marathon and raved about the course. My family and I were also going to a christening for my husband’s twin nephews fairly nearby the area in April, so the timing would be perfect.
When I ran the half marathon in April of 2009, the marathon and half marathon both were filled to capacity (1700 for the marathon and 1500 for the half) in January. Both races were filled less than seven weeks after registration opened in December so they’re obviously very popular races, or at least they were in 2009. I imagine it’s still a popular race since it’s still going strong. One thing to note is that the races have been moved to Memorial Day weekend.
The course was definitely one of the most scenic ones I’ve ran and unlike race directors who mean hilly when they say that, I don’t. The half marathon was a pretty flat out-and- back course with several views of Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan. In fact, 90% of the course was along Grand Traverse Bay. We also ran past huge stately homes along the water.
Spectators were sparse, which didn’t surprise me since runners had to be bussed to the start. I found the weather to be a bit colder than I prefer, but I also prefer warmer racing temperatures than most people. The finish was on an outdoor track for the last quarter mile, which I liked and it made it easy to find my family after the race.
My finish time for the Bayshore Half Marathon was 2:00:37.
I highly recommend this race and spending some time in Traverse City before and after the race. Traverse City is a popular vacation area during the summer but in late spring when this race is, the weather is nice but it’s not so crowded. There are many wineries and places to try all things made with cherries of all sorts. One place you can’t miss is Sleeping Bear Dunes. Who knew there was an enormous sand dune you can climb up (or roll down as I saw many kids doing) in Michigan? We loved this place! It was only about a 35 minute drive from Traverse City, which makes it an easy day trip but you can camp at the park if you prefer to stay there overnight.