Muskegon State Park Edition
May 21, 2022
5 & 8 hour options
Experience fun and challenging trekking, orienteering, paddling, and biking over some of the most beautiful terrain in and around Muskegon State Park, along gorgeous Lake Michigan. You and your teammate(s) will race together to find as many checkpoints as you can in up to 5 or 8 hours (or come in early if you wish). A nice mix of trails and off-trail running, fast gravel and paved biking (no singletrack mountain bike trails in the area) and scenic lake paddling. The primary orienteering/ trekking map will be super-detailed LIDAR format.
Don’t want to do the paddle? Skip it. Don’t want to do the bike? Skip it. Choose your our own adventure. Maybe don’t skip both, but many participants will have plenty to do within two of the three areas. You won’t get credit for the checkpoints within the skipped section, but what’s more important, your ranking or having a fun experience and memories to last a lifetime?
Don’t let the duration keep you from an incredible experience as well. Just adjust your pace, maintain a positive attitude and make sure you know how to follow a topographic map and have basic compass skills to find off-trail checkpoints. If you are new to adventure racing, scroll down to the bottom of this page for a short tutorial, check out our blog posts on the home page, and join us for our free clinic before the race.
Amazing Race-like Challenges (5-Hour Race Only)
Conquer 2-3 special challenges on the beach like you might see on the Amazing Race or Survivor (or in our Winter or ArtPrize races) to keep things fun. Nothing too difficult – if you work well with your teammate(s), you’ll finish each in 4-8 minutes. They will be worth one checkpoint each. All are optional. Do them halfway through the race (when you return from a section) or at the end.
- Two-person: co-ed, females, males
- Three and four-person: co-ed, females, males (family teams of up to 6 can sign up under the 3-4-person division)
- 8-hour solo: females, males (8-hour only; 5-hour racers: use the teammate finder site to find a teammate!)
(& Up For Grabs)
Your entry includes this amazing tech shirt (or you can pick the pint or buff); post-race pizza and fruit; and a chance at over $1,000 worth of top finisher and raffle prizes. Top finishers will also receive handcrafted wood team trophies and wood individual medals!
Race Format & Distances
The race will be split into two major sections. You may do them in either order. Within each section, you may do the checkpoints in almost any order as well. The ultimate flexible race format! You’ll return to the start/finish area (and your vehicle) after each section. This means you can race lighter – bring enough water, food and clothes (and the required gear which is minimal) for the section and replenish when you return! With two races, multiple race courses, checkpoints in any order, and three start waves, we’ll have you spread out right away and likely for the entire race.
Water available? There are drinking fountains and restrooms at one transition area on the 5-hour course and two transition areas on the 8-hour course. We’ll have Gatorade powder at each so you can mix that in. We may have Gatorade coolers but not guaranteed at this point. There may also be one or more businesses along the way where you can stop and get fluids or food, even ice cream – it opens at noon so plan your route accordingly! 🙂
- Trekking/Orienteering: Some of the finest navigation in Michigan. Highly detailed LIDAR map. Expect a variety of terrain, from hardwood forest to Lake Michigan dunes and from epic ridge climbs and descents to fast-moving woods. Checkpoint locations are a mix of beginner and intermediate-level difficulty with no briars or swamps.
- 8-hour: 7-9 miles
- 5-hour: 3-6 miles
- Biking: Mostly paved roads with some optional dirt two tracks. There are no singletrack mountain bike trails in the area. Some of the paved roads on the 8-hour race and the 10-mile loop of the 5-hour race do not have a shoulder or a very narrow one.
- 8-hour: 20-22 miles
- 5-hour: 3 mile or 10 mile loop (depending on time, experience and bike type; the 10-mile loop includes some dirt two-tracks-see photo).
- Kids 14 and under not allowed in the 8-hour race or on the 10-mile loop of the 5-hour race.
- Paddling: Beautiful lake paddling but you’ll need to keep your eye out for checkpoint flags on the shore! Will you be paddling on Lake Michigan? Maybe, but only if conditions are safe as determined by the sheriff marine patrol; we would never have you venture far from shore either. Rent a canoe when you register or bring your own canoe(s), tandem kayak(s) or solo kayak(s). The only racers who are allowed to rent kayaks are solo kayakers in the 8-hour race. No rental kayaks available for others.
- 8-hour: 3-5 miles
- 5-hour: 3-3.5 miles
- Special challenges in 5-hour race only. See explanation above.
Canoe/kayak drop-off (if bring your own): 6:30-8:30 am
Check-in, maps handed out, gear check: 7:30-8:30 am
Race briefing: 8:45-9:15 am
Start: 9:30 am
Race cut-off: 5:30 pm
Food: 5:00-6:30 pm, pizza and fruit
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 6:00 or 6:30 pm
Canoe/kayak drop-off (if bring your own): 7:30-9:30 am
Check-in, maps handed out, gear check: 8:30-9:30 am
Race briefing: 9:45-10:15 am
Start: 10:30 am
Race cut-off: 3:30 pm
Food: 3:00-4:30 pm, pizza and fruit
Award ceremony & raffle: approx. 4:15 or 4:30 pm
Directions & Parking
Race HQ and parking are at the Channel Beach Pavilion in Muskegon State Park. The address is 605 S. Scenic Dr, Muskegon, MI 49441. Parking requires the Michigan Recreation Passport or one-day parking fee. Click on the link for details.
Lodging and Things to Do in the Area
Required and Recommend Gear
See the Gear page for details. Required gear will be standard adventure racing gear such as your bike, hydration pack/containers, compass, emergency blanket and a few other small items. You may rent a canoe(s) or bring your own canoe(s) or single or double kayak(s). We will have single kayak rentals for the 8-hour solo racers but no kayak rentals for any others.
Navigation/Race Preparation Clinic (TO COME)
Navigation 101/201 clinic, Saturday, May 7, Seidman Park, Grand Rapids. RSVP here. Includes in-field practice. About 2 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.
Merchandise (purchase online or at check-in; receive at check-in)
Shop and pre-pay online (except tech shirts) during registration and receive at packet pick-up or shop in person the day of the event.
Multi-functional headwear/buff (green or gray), $12
Sticker (classic oval or compass-cut), $2
Stainless steel pint (black or chrome), $12
Short sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck (various colors), $12
Long sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck (various colors), $15
Hoodie – $30
Rules & Age Limits
Please read through our standard race rules. Special rules that apply for certain races will be listed in one of the race updates you’ll receive. This is an open course so you may encounter vehicles and pedestrians at any point. Racers must generally be at least 14 years old due to biking in traffic; a parent may discuss the possibility of an exception with race organizers. See the Register page for more details on age limits. Racers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and have a parent or guardian sign the waiver/consent form provided during online registration.
For the 2022 Muskegon race: For the 3-mile bike loop in the 5-hour race, there is no age limit because the roads have a good shoulder for biking. For the 5-hour 10-mile loop and the 8-hour race, racers must be at least 14 years old due to narrow shoulders on some roads.
After the Race
We encourage you to hang out after the race in the beach house. Throw on some dry clothes and join us for complimentary and very tasty pizza from world famous Bernie O’s and fruit and the award ceremony where we’ll celebrate all racers, award the top finishers (and yourself!), hand out raffle prizes, and reminisce about your adventures. Family and friends are welcome to join. Purchase their meal when you register (or you can go back into the registration system later to pay for them).
Our charity partner is the Muskegon Friends Movement, a non-profit organization for the benefit of Muskegon State Park. One of their main goals is on trail improvements, including improved marking and maps and a portion of proceeds from the race will go toward this! We are also providing proceeds to Camp Anew, a grief camp for youth.
For Beginners: How an Adventure Race Works
Adventure racing is like no other sport! It involves a mix of brains and brawn, individual effort and teamwork, speed and endurance. For such amazing rewards, it requires a little effort to learn how it works and get better over time.
The goal of adventure racing is for you and your teammate(s) 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. Usually your bike is the consistent mode 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 race instructions sheet for the description 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. Others you can find from just looking at the 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.
- Check-in. We recommend arriving to check-in early as we will hand out maps then and you can get most or all of your route complete before the pre-race meeting.
- Pre-race meeting. We’ll go over rules, safety issues, answer any questions.
- Race instructions/clues. The race instructions lists key rules, describes the course and the activities, and provides hints about where checkpoints are located along with the numbers of each checkpoint corresponding to the map, passport and punch.
- Passport. The passport is the piece of waterproof paper you’ll punch at each checkpoint to prove you found it. Each punch has a unique barb pattern. You must not lose it!
- Flag (control) and Punch. You are looking for orange and white 3-sided orienteering flags (technically called control markers). You must punch the correct box in the passport so we can verify you were indeed there. The punch will have a number on it corresponding to your passport. Check it to confirm you got the right one.
- Maps. The map(s) are topographic, showing the shape of the land and terrain details. Sometimes the map is lower resolution USGS. Other times it will be high-detail LIDAR. They are pre-plotted with the checkpoints on them. While not every trail in the area will be on the map, the vast majority usually are. You can waterproof your map with packing tape or contact paper and/or keep it in a waterproof map case or zip lock baggie.
- Map reading will be critical. You should also know how to use a compass (baseplate or sighting – with a straightedge), although you may be able to manage without if you can navigate well with your map. Attend our free clinic or learn online here.
- Order. CPs are usually optional and often times can be found in any order within a section.
- The goal. Maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. If you arrive after the time limit, you will either receive a severe checkpoint penalty or not be counted in the final standings, depending on whether the race is beginner level or not.
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.
Michigan Adventure Racing began in 2011. It is locally owned and invests in the community through local vendors and charity partners. MAR puts on seven races each year: three Michigan Adventure Races, Hurt the Dirt and Dirty Duel trail running races and Coast to Coast and Lord of the Springs bicycle races.