Race Information – Silver Lake

June 1, 2019
Silver Lake, MI
5 or 8 Hours

The largest and possibly most scenic adventure race in the U.S. 

Silver Lake and Silver Lake State Park provide perhaps the most amazing adventure race course in the Midwest if not beyond. Few places in the world offer Sahara Desert-like views to the north and south, an inland ocean to the west, and beautiful Silver Lake to the east. You and your teammate(s) will race together, from a treeless, other-worldly area with massive vistas to lush Michigan forest just minutes away. The dunes traverse/orienteering section is a highlight of the race; like nothing you’ve ever navigated before. The dune flats and ridges are wind-swept and hard-packed in most spots.

The race will feature beginner to intermediate biking, orienteering, and trekking along with very fun paddleboarding (near shore and short distance) and sandboarding (boards provided; think snowboarding but on sand, you may sit or stand). You’ll spend time around beautiful Silver Lake with some exposure to lush area forests and Lake Michigan coast running too. Everything is optional so that you can make it to the finish on time.

The 8-hour race will nearly double your amount of biking and provide an extra orienteering section. You’ll still experience the paddleboarding and sandboarding sections.

Watch our 2015 Silver Lake Race video and you’ll be hooked!

2-person Females
2-person Males
2-person Co-eds

3-4 person Females
3-4 person Males
3-4 person Co-eds

Solo Females*
Solo Males*

*Adventure racing is really a team sport. If you cannot find a team to race with (use our Teammate Finder page), you may race as a solo.

Divisions must have a minimum of three teams by May 12 to receive a division champion trophy. We reserve the right to combine 3-4 person divisions to achieve this.


Same-day check-in; maps handed out, 7:30 am to 8:50 am
Race briefing: 8:50 am to 9:25 am
Additional planning: 9:25-9:55 am
Start:  10:00 am
Cutoff: 6:00 pm
Pizza dinner:  starts at 5:30 pm
Raffle-awards ceremony:  5:45-7:00 pm

Same-day check-in; maps handed out, 9:00 am to 10:25 am
Race briefing: 10:30 am to 11:00 am
Additional planning: 11:00-11:25 am
Start: 11:30 am (waves)
Cutoff: 5:30 pm (likely extended by 1 hour to ensure you can finish)
Pizza dinner:  starts at 5:30 pm
Raffle and awards ceremony:  5:45-7:00 pm

*We reserve the right to announce an extension to 5:30 pm in advance of the race to allow teams to get back to the finish on time. There will be “shortcuts” to help as well.

Directions & Parking
The start/finish is at Grace Adventures Youth Camp, 2100 N. Ridge Rd., Silver Lake, MI 49436

Orienteering Practice/Clinic


  • Receive a Michigan Awesome long-sleeved hooded shirt, guaranteed if you register by May 19. Otherwise pick from our buff or pint.
  • Super soft, tri-blend fabric.
  • Women’s and men’s sizing, cuts, necks. Generally considered true to size.

Gear, Bike Rentals

  • Just a few mandatory items. See the Required Gear page for what you need to bring or carry along with recommended items below it.
  • Bike: whatever works best for you on paved, gravel and two track roads. Skinny tires not recommended. No singletrack but some roads may have loose sand.
  • If you need to rent a bike: try Hart Bikes, 231.780.7946, near Silver Lake – they will deliver it right to the start and pick it up after or rent one from West Michigan Bike & Fitness in Grand Rapids or Holland (or your local bike shop).


  • Check out Dunes Harbor, part of Grace Adventures, next to the start/finish. 20% discount with promo code MAR2019.
  • Many other campgrounds, hotels and other options in the area to choose from.
  • Great opportunity to tie the race to an extended trip


  • Invite friends and family to camp and then watch the race.
  • We will offer race maps to spectators so they can try to follow you.
  • Even better, have friends and family volunteer!


  • Buff headwear $10
  • Stainless steel pint $10
  • Short sleeve ($17) and long sleeve ($22) shirts
  • Sweatshirt ($30)
  • Sticker (removable) $3

buffpint 200hshirt 275Pink Raspberrymar magnet 2 150w

Check-in, Pre-Race Briefing, Race Components

  • 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, answer any questions, explain the passport and hand out an instruction sheet and maps.
  • Passport. The passport is the piece of waterproof paper you’ll punch at each checkpoint to prove you found it. You must not lose it!
  • Flag (control) and punch. You are looking for orange and white 3-sided orienteering flags (technically called the control marker). You must punch the correct box in the passport so we can verify you were indeed there. A card with a number will be attached to the flag. Check it to confirm you got the right one.
  • Race instructions/clues. Lists key rules, describes the course and the activities, and provides a quick description of where checkpoints are located.
  • Maps. The map(s) will almost always be topographical but may be aerial if accurate topo information is not available. Checkpoints will be shown on the maps. You can waterproof your map with packing tape or contact paper if desired (find at Meijer-type stores). Either way, we recommend keeping it in a waterproof map case or zip lock baggie at least.
  • Goal. The goal is to maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. A team that gets 25 checkpoints with one minute to spare will finish ahead of a team that gets 24 checkpoints with one hour to spare.


  • Transition Areas. Transition areas are locations where you switch between one discipline and another (trek/orienteer, bike, paddle). TA flags are almost always mandatory and in order so that teams are generally going in the same direction (easier to track for safety) and volunteers can close out TAs and leap frog to others later in the race. They are almost always manned by a volunteer and will often have water/Gatorade. Always carry cash in case you need fluids or food at a store you pass by. It’s your responsible to punch the TA flag, often when arriving and departing so we can capture your split time and track teams. Teams often switch shoes and other gear at TAs.
  • Trekking (with orienteering). In most cases, trekking checkpoints will be optional and can be found in any order during each trekking section. Sometimes we require you to get a minimum number of checkpoints (e.g., 3 out of 6), but never all CPs in a section. Map reading will be critical. You should also know how to use a compass. See our Learn More page or attend one of our clinics. Checkpoints may be out of view but generally are not hidden intentionally except to avoid theft in the day before the race if they are in public places.

Estimated 5-hour miles: 5-7
Estimated 8-hour miles: 9-11

  • Biking. Biking will occur on a mix of gravel, paved, and two-track roads. Depending on road conditions, there may be loose sand or rugged spots. Skinny tires on any type of bike are not recommended. 2″ or 40c tires or wider are recommended. There will not be any singletrack/technical bike trails. Racers often wear clip-in bike shoes and then switch to running shoes for any orienteer/trekking sections that occur within a bike leg.  mountain bike-width tires (2″ or at least 40 mm) are recommended.

Estimated 5-hour miles: 12-14
Estimated 8-hour miles: 25-28

  • Paddling. Instead of a traditional canoe section, you’ll be paddleboarding out to a buoy or two and back. The buoys will be within 100 meters of land but water depth may be over six feet. Life jackets are provided and must be with you but do not have to be worn. This will not be a long section because we don’t want to have long lines. There is a limited supply of paddleboards in the area and we have reserved all of them. Bring your own for others to use and we will provide a $30 credit for your next race. Contact us.


  • Bring campchairs and join us immediately after the race for the post-race pizza and awards/raffle on the lawn or in the gym if weather is bad.
  • We’ll pass out some great prizes to the top teams in each division. We’ll raffle off a bunch of stuff too.

Charity Partner
Grace Adventures is a year-round Christian organization working to strengthen spiritual, personal, and professional relationships for children, adults, and families through training, retreats, and camps. Proceeds from the Michigan Adventure Race will go towards our scholarship program, which provided over $30,500 to students attending our summer camps in 2018.

Michigan State Park Centennial Celebration
We’re excited to put on this race at Silver Lake State Park – one of the best in the state – during Michigan’s 100 year celebration of its state parks. Check out the Centennial celebration site, add a memory to the Memory Map, plan your next adventure to a state park (besides the adventure race of course), donate to our state parks, and more.

Visit www.facebook.com/MIAdventureRace and the related Community/Group page to ask questions and get answers so others can learn from your question. For questions specific to you, use the Contact form to reach Mark VanTongeren, race director.