Ludington State Park
October 9, 2021 (tentative)
Likely 5-6 & 10-14 hours
All information is tentative. Shifted from May 22 until Fall 2021 due to a paused permit process at Ludington State Park as a result of COVID uncertainty. Registration expected to open spring 2021. Add yourself to our email list (right side) to receive the notice that registration is open.
Experience intensely fun and challenging trekking, orienteering, paddling, and biking over some of the most beautiful and rugged terrain in Michigan at jaw-dropping, eye-popping Ludington State Park. You and your teammate(s) will race together to find as many checkpoints as you can in the time period. Both courses feature a nice mix of packed, marked trails and off-trail running with virtually no sand, not-too-technical singletrack biking and scenic paddling. Don’t let the long duration keep you from an incredible experience. Just adjust your pace, maintain a positive attitude and make sure you know how to follow a topographic map and use a compass to find off-trail checkpoints.
The race is capped at 500 participants due to limited parking. Prize depth will be determined in part by size of the divisions.
- Solo: females, males
- Two-person: co-ed, females, males
- Three and four-person co-ed, females, males
See the Register page for prices. Entry includes tech shirt; pizza, breaksticks and fruit dinner; and a chance at over $2,000 worth of top finisher and raffle prizes. Top finishers will also receive handcrafted wood trophies made from Michigan hardwood trees, similar to these.
Trekking, paddling and biking sections AND the checkpoints within each section can all be done in any order within each section (score-o/rogaine style). You’ll head out in waves by division, every 5 minutes or so.
- Trekking/Orienteering: 8-11 miles. Some of the finest navigation in Michigan. Expect a variety of terrain, from hardwood forest to lakeside swamp to Lake Michigan dunes and from epic ridge climbs and descents to fast-moving woods. Mostly intermediate-level difficulty with several beginner checkpoints. Very little to no loose sand.
- Biking: 18-25 miles. Some really fun singletrack along with paved roads. Some amazing Lake Michigan views. Road bikes are allowed in the race but NOT on the singletrack trails so you’ll need to skip those CPs.
- Paddling: under 2 miles. We will provide the kayaks and canoes. Because the paddle is short and can be done at any time, we will rent 40 boats and they will be first come, first served (a lot less expensive for you then everyone having to rent a boat). Very likely any wait for a boat will be short. No boat available? You can do a trek or bike section and try the paddle later. All rentals come with PFD and paddle(s).
Expedition format – a journey from wilderness drop-off via bus until your return to Ludington State Park. Transition areas and major sections will be done in order (to track teams for safety and allow volunteers to work multiple areas). All transition areas will be mandatory. If you are running behind, you should be able to get to all of these TAs without problem as they are on the way back to the state park. Checkpoints are mostly point to point but are optional and in any order (score-o/rogaine).
- Orienteering/Trekking: 12-15 miles. Great terrain. Distances between CPs will vary from 250 meters to over a mile. A combination of very definable checkpoints and more subtle intermediate/advanced placements to test your ability to process many types of information (contour shape, elevation, vegetation types, man-made features, distance, direction, water features, etc.). Very little loose sand.
- Biking: 35-42 miles. Some really fun singletrack along with gravel and paved roads. Not a lot of hills on the bike leg. Road bikes not allowed.
- Paddling: 6 miles. Beautiful river paddling. Short but sweet. You MAY provide and stage your own boat. We will move your bikes if they need moving.
Canoe and bike staging: Friday noon until 6:30 am Saturday, location TBD but within 30 minutes of start and on the way in to Ludington for most racers
Check-in, gear check: 6:00-7:25 am
Race briefing: 7:25-7:50 am
Race planning: 7:50-8:15 am + bus time
Bus to start: 8:20 am
Race start: 9:15 am
Race cut-off: 9:15 pm
Food: 8:15-9:45 pm, pizza, fruit
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 9:45 pm
Check-in, gear check: 9:00-10:45 am
Race briefing: 10:45-11:15 am
Race planning: 11:15-11:55 am
Race start: 12:00 pm
Race cut-off: 6:00 pm
Food: 5:30-7:00 pm, pizza, fruit
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 7:00 pm
Directions & Parking
Ludington State Park at the Hamlin Lake picnic shelter. It’s a beautiful setting with scenic Hamlin Lake off to one side and the Big Sable dam and river on the other. We will not have heated, fully sheltered space, just a basic picnic shelter. Come prepared for any and all types of weather. Michigan State Parks pass required.
See the Gear page for details. Required gear will be standard adventure racing gear (bike, hydration pack/containers, compass, emergency blanket and a few other small items). Kayaks, paddles and PFDs will be provided for the 6-hour race short paddle loop. We’ll co-host a Gear Clinic. See below for details.
5-6-hour race. Boats, PFDs and paddles will be provided. To reduce entry fees, we will NOT have a canoe for every team. Because teams can do the paddle at any point in the race, we can rent fewer canoes. It’s possible you will have to wait a few minutes for a canoe, but in past races there has been either no wait at all or just a short wait. You may bring your own kayak or paddleboard if you wish; make sure it isn’t lumped in with the rental boats.
10-12-hour rental. See the Register page for the prices. Rental boats, paddles and PFDs will be staged for you. At this point, we have 33, 16′ 3-seat canoes, 5 double kayaks, and 22 10′ single kayaks available. First come, first served. If we accidentally allow more boat rentals than we have boats, we will refund your entry fee or do our best to find you another boat. We recommend our sponsor Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus in Grand Rapids for rentals if our Ludington livery runs out. If you are renting a boat but are bringing your own paddles and/or PFDs, you can leave them at the staging area as well.
10-12-hour personal/staging. If you bring your own canoe or kayak, you will need to stage it on Friday or early on the morning of the race. We will provide directions to the staging area a day or two before the race. You can leave your personal paddles and PFDs there as well. You can pick up your boat on the way home. Delivery to the state park after the race is not part of your entry but we can try to arrange if necessary.
Race Preparation Clinics
Navigation 101/201 clinic, Saturday, May X, Seidman Park, Grand Rapids. Classroom and in-field practice. 1.5 hours. Free. If you can’t make it, check out the Navigation 101/201 clinic presentation and other sources on our Learn More page for tips.
Short-sleeved tech shirt comes with early or regular entry (late entrants get pint or buff). Men’s/adult crew or women’s v-neck, same shirt as our other races.
Merchandise (purchase online or at check-in; receive at check-in)
Hoodie – $30
Long sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck, $22
Short sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck, $17
Buff headwear, $10 ($18-$23 for most others)
Stainless steel pint, $10 ($15 on most race sites)
You and your teammate(s) will work to find as many checkpoints as you can in the time period. The race will be broken up so that you’ll do one activity for a while, then another, etc. so your body (and brain) will get nice breaks. Your bike will be your means of transportation from one place to another throughout the race, from start to finish. You’ll stop at various “transition areas” to leave your bike with a volunteer to paddle and to trek/orienteer on foot before returning to your bike to continue on.
Checkpoints may be out of view, tucked behind trees or a hill, but generally are not intentionally hidden (except in public areas to minimize risk of theft). Check your map to see where the point is located and consult your instruction sheet for the clue which will help you determine its more exact location. Some points will require use of your compass, topographical map and an understanding of how to read that map. Each checkpoint will have an orange and white flag with a punch attached to it.
The goal is to maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. A team that gets 25 checkpoints with seconds to spare will finish ahead of a team that gets 24 checkpoints with one hour to spare.
Rules & Age Limits
Please read through our standard race rules. Special rules that apply for the Ludington Edition only will be listed in one of the race updates you’ll receive. Obey all traffic laws. This is an open course so you may encounter vehicles and pedestrians at any point. Racers must be at least 14 years old due to biking in traffic; a parent may discuss the possibility of an exception with race organizers. Racers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and have a parent or guardian sign the waiver/consent form provided during online registration.
After the Race
We encourage you to hang out after the race. Grab some Spanky’s pizza and fruit, congratulate the top finishers (and yourself!), hopefully win a raffle prize, and share stories of getting lost and found. Family and friends should plan for their own food to ensure we have enough for racers. We will have a small picnic shelter. Please bring a chair or blanket to sit on. Also bring rain gear or warm clothes if the weather requires.
Our charity partner is Friends of Ludington State Park, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting wise use and conservation of this gem that is Ludington State Park. The organization works to support and improve the park through the funding of projects, recreational equipment and interpretive programs and by volunteering to assist park staff on projects and trail clean-up.
Questions? www.facebook.com/miadventurerace is a great place to ask questions and get answers so others can learn from your question. For questions specific to you, email Mark VanTongeren, race director.