Race Information

Muskegon State Park Edition
May 21, 2022
Muskegon, Michigan
Choose from 5 or 8 hours

Experience intensely 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 the time period (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) and scenic lake paddling. Don’t let the 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. If you are new to adventure racing, scroll down to the bottom of this page for a short tutorial and join us for our free clinic before the race.

For the 5-hour race only, you’ll 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 5-10 minutes. You can do some or all of these at the start, halfway through the race or at the end.

Video of how the race works
Video of racer testimonials



  • 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!)

What’s Included
See the Register page for prices. Entry includes tech shirt, pint or buff; post-race pizza or sandwiches 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!

Course Design
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 a few additional pieces of required gear) 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.

  • Trekking/Orienteering: Some of the finest navigation in Michigan. 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 in the-8-hour race do not have much shoulder. Kids 14 and under not allowed for the 8-hour race or 10-mile loop on the 5-hour race.
    • 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).
  • Paddling: Beautiful lake paddling but you’ll need to keep your eye out for checkpoint flags on the shore! Rent a canoe or kayak when you register or bring your own.
    • 8-hour: 3-3.5 miles
    • 5-hour: 3-3.5 miles
  • Special challenges in 5-hour race only

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Schedule (Tentative)

Canoe staging: 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 likely
Award ceremony and raffle: 
approx. 6:00 or 6:30 pm

Canoe staging: 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 likely
Award ceremony and raffle: approx. 4:00 or 4:30 pm

Directions & Parking

Race HQ and parking are at the Channel Beach Pavilion. Parking requires the Michigan Recreation Passport or one-day parking fee.


Muskegon State Park Campgrounds
There are many rentals, hotels and other lodging options in the area.

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 or bring your own canoe(s) or kayak(s).

Navigation/Race Preparation Clinic (TO COME)
Navigation 101/201 clinic, Saturday, May 7, 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.

Free Gear
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.

Women’s shirt specifications
Men’s shirt specifications

Merchandise (purchase online or at check-in; receive at check-in)

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 (black or chrome), $12
Multi-functional headwear/buff (green or gray), $12
Sticker (classic oval or compass-cut), $2
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. Obey all traffic laws. 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.

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 pizza and fruit for the Muskegon race and the award ceremony where we’ll congratulate the top finishers (and yourself!), hand out raffle prizes, and reminisce about our adventures. Family and friends are welcome to join. Purchase their meal when you register (or you can go back later).


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, explain the passport and hand out an instruction sheet and maps.
  • 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 (or write a letter/code on during COVID) 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.