Ludington State Park
October 9, 2021
6 or 10 hours
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-hard 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.
Video of how the race works
Video of racer testimonials
- Solo: females, males
- Two-person: co-ed, females, males
- Three and four-person co-ed, females, males
Family teams are welcome. If you have kids under 12 who should not be on the shoulder of moderately busy roads, you can just skip those points and do the biking portion inside the state park, including to the lighthouse. You should have plenty to do without the street biking.
See the Register page for prices. Entry includes tech shirt; BBQ dinner; and a chance at over $2,000 worth of top finisher and raffle prizes. Top finishers will also receive handcrafted wood team trophies and wood individual medals!
6 Hours (bonus hour added to 5-hour race to help teams who need more time)
Trekking, paddling and biking sections AND the checkpoints within each section can all be done in any order (“score-o/rogaine” style). The ultimate flexible race format. You’ll return to the start/finish area (and your vehicle) after each section. This means you can race light – bring enough water, food and clothes (and a few additional pieces of required gear) for the section and replenish when you return!
- Trekking/Orienteering: 6-8 miles. Some of the finest navigation in Michigan. Expect a variety of terrain, from hardwood forest to lakeside swamp to views of 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: 18-22 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 if you have the super skinny tires (like 30c width or narrower).
- Paddling: 1.5-2 miles. We will provide the kayaks and canoes (at no extra charge) but you may bring your own. Because the paddle is short and can be done at any time, watercraft will be first come, first served (a lot less expensive for you then everyone having to rent their own boat). You’ll likely have no wait for a boat but if you do it will be very short. Or, rather than wait you can do a trek or bike section and try the paddle after!
The trekking and biking sections AND all of the checkpoints within each section can be done in any order (“score-o/rogaine” style). You’ll return to the start/finish area (and your vehicle) after these sections. This means for much of the race you can race light – bring enough water, food and clothes for the section and replenish when you return! But you won’t know who is ahead of you so race hard to the end if you are vying for a top finish!
- Orienteering/Trekking: 10-15 miles. Great terrain. Lots of orienteering in this race. Three sections. 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: 35-45 miles. Some really fun singletrack along with gravel and paved roads. Gorgeous Lake Michigan views. Not a lot of hills on the bike leg. Gravel bikes are fine. Road bikes with super skinny tires (like 30c or narrower) not allowed on the singletrack for safety reasons.
- Paddling: 5-6 miles. Beautiful flat-water paddling. Includes some strategic route choices and possibly a few short portages. Rentals available. You MAY provide your own boat.
Check-in, maps handed out, stage personal boats, gear check: 6:30-7:30 am
Race briefing: 7:30-7:50 am
Start: 8:30 am
Finish by: 6:30 pm
Food: 5:30-7:45 pm, pulled pork/jackfruit sandwich, mac & cheese
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 7:00 pm
Check-in, maps handed out, gear check: 8:30-9:30 am
Race briefing: 10:00-10:20 am
Start: 10:30 am
Race cut-off: 4:30 pm
Food: 4:00-5:30 pm, pulled pork/jackfruit sandwich, mac & cheese
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 5:00 or 5:30 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 Recreation Passport required.
Ludington State Park camping. Book your site up to 6 months in advance.
Ludington Beach House Vacation Rentals(please mention you are with the race)
Cartier Park Campground
Ludington East/Pere Marquette River KOA
Other options in the Ludington area
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).
6-hour race. Boats, PFDs and paddles will be provided, but be aware you are not guaranteed to have a boat waiting for you the very second you want to paddle. To reduce entry fees, we will NOT reserve a canoe/kayak for every team. Because teams can do the paddle at any point in the race, we can rent fewer canoes and kayaks. In past races there has been either no wait at all or just a short wait… and you always have the option of doing the trek or bike and coming back to paddle later. You may bring your own canoe, kayak or paddleboard if you wish; make sure it isn’t lumped in with the rental boats.
10 hour rental. See the Register page for the prices. Rental boats, paddles and PFDs will be staged for you. Rent one canoe or tandem kayak for 2-3 person teams and two for 4-person teams (or you can bring one of your own and rent one). Solo kayaks available as well.
10 hour personal/staging. If you bring your own canoe or kayak, stage it Saturday morning at the start/finish, during the check-in process. Very easy process for this race.
Navigation/Race Preparation Clinic
Navigation 101/201 clinic, Saturday, September 25, Seidman Park, Grand Rapids. RSVP here. Includes 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, pint or buff 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.
Women’s shirt specifications
Men’s shirt specifications
Merchandise (purchase online or at check-in; receive at check-in)
Hoodie – $30
Long sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck (various colors), $15
Short sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck (various colors), $12
Stainless steel pint, $12
Multi-functional headwear/buff (green or gray), $12
Sticker (classic oval or compass-cut), $2
You and your teammate(s) will work to find as many checkpoints as you can in the time period. All checkpoints will be pre-plotted on topographic maps. 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 dinner 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.
Camp Anew, a branch of Starlight Ministries, that provides support specifically 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. Campers share their stories, capture memories, discuss their feelings, and have fun! Camp Anew is a biblically based Grief Camp operated at Warner Memorial Camp.
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.
What to Do in Ludington
Thinking about hanging in Ludington before or after the race? This is a cool coastal town right on Lake Michigan. Ludington has great breweries and restaurants and shops in town. Stop by Q Smokehouse and Spindrift Cycle Sports downtown, two of our sponsors. Plan your trip here:
Pure Ludington site
More things to do in the Ludington area
Ludington Craft Beer Guide