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Race Information

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

Registration to open winter 2018/19. 

Watch our 2015 Silver Lake Race video!

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’ll go from a treeless, other-worldly area with massive vistas to lush Michigan forest just minutes away. The sand is mostly hard-packed as are the two tracks and roads you’ll be biking on, but there may be some sandy roads depending on the conditions so mountain bike-width tires (2″ or at least 40 mm) are recommended.

The race will feature beginner to intermediate biking, orienteering, and trekking along with very fun paddleboarding and sandboarding (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.

The dunes orienteering section is a highlight of the race; like nothing you’ve ever navigated before. You’ll benefit from a LIDAR orienteering map for some of the dunes. LIDAR is the highest level of topographical detail in existence.

Silver Lake WomanSilver Lake ManYou will receive a short-sleeved tech/wicking shirt with your entry if you register before May 24. $15 after the race if we have any left. Men’s/adult (crew) and women’s (v-neck) styles/sizes. Shirt design and color may change.

Women’s shirt specifications
Men’s shirt specifications


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 and 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 pm (waves if needed)
Cutoff: 4:30 pm
Pizza dinner:  starts at 5:30 pm
Raffle and awards ceremony:  5:45-7:00 pm

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

Orienteering Practice/Clinic
Map reading will be important; orienteering will be beginner to intermediate level. Any orienteering in the dunes will be intermediate level but you can skip that section (or any checkpoint or section) if you prefer. We will have a Navigation 101/201 clinic on DATE TO COME at Seidman Park in Grand Rapids. Click here to RSVP on the Facebook event page or contact us. If you can’t make it, check out the Navigation 101/201 clinic presentation on our Learn More page for tips.

See the Required Gear page for details on what you need to bring or carry. Required gear has been reduced to just safety items. Stand-up paddleboards, paddles and PFDs and sandboards will be provided. 

This is a great opportunity to tie the race to one or several nights of camping. Make your reservation on the Silver Lake State Park campground reservation page. We’ll be near the water in case you want to join us. Purchase the Recreation Passport when you renew your license or at the gate for entrance into the state park.

Other options from friends and partners:

Hideaway Camground and Resort
Jellystone Park Camp – Resort
Val-Du Lakes Campground

We would encourage you to 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.

We will race rain or shine. In the event of a thunderstorm, we will postpone the race until conditions improve. Race organizers reserve the right to cancel the event in the case of extended severe weather. We will do everything possible to get the event in, but refunds are not available if it is cancelled due to significant costs we must pay in advance of the race.

Check-in will be at Grace Adventures on the day of the race. Print, sign and bring the waiver with you. You may pick up bibs, passport and shirt for a teammate or friend if you have their waiver. Attach your number on your backpack or wherever most visible. Make sure you keep track of your passport.

Buff headwear $10 ($18-$23 for most others)
Stainless steel pint $10 ($15 on most race sites)
Short sleeve ($17) and long sleeve ($22) shirts
Sticker (removable) $3

buffpint 200hshirt 275Pink Raspberrymar magnet 2 150w

Pre-race briefing

We’ll go over rules, answer any questions, explain the passport and hand out an instruction sheet and maps. Bring your passport with you. The passport is the piece of waterproof paper you’ll punch at each checkpoint to prove you found it. 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. At most challenges, you will punch the passport upon arrival and a volunteer will hand you the second punch if you complete the challenge successfully. Punch the “CH” box next to the CP box you just punched. The race instructions/clues will list the rules, describe the course and the challenge activities (5 hour), and provide hints about where checkpoints are located. The map(s) will be topographical, aerial and/or Google Map-based. Most, if not all, checkpoints will be shown. It’s critical that you do not lose or destroy your passport, map or instructions! You can waterproof your map with packing tape or contact paper if desired (find at Meijer-type stores).

We will note which checkpoints are “advanced.” Teams that are not going at a fast pace should consider skipping these as they require going a significant distance or over dodgy terrain to obtain. They are meant to challenge the elite teams trying to obtain all CPs. Map reading will be critical. You should also know how to use a compass.

All CPs are optional. Water and Gatorade will be available at most TAs but fill your bladders/bottles and bring cash. Plan on 24-27 miles of biking on two-tracks, gravel and paved roads. Road bikes are allowed, but not recommended on the rough and sandy two-track section. Expect 9-11 miles of trekking/running on trails, off-trail and mostly hard-pack dunes.

Checkpoints may be out of view, tucked behind trees or a hill, but generally are not difficult to find. They will usually be located at eye level. 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. Each checkpoint will have an orange and white flag with a punch attached to it. Look for the checkpoint number attached to the flag/punch to confirm which checkpoint you are at and punch the corresponding box on your passport.

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. Call the number on the race instructions sheet for minor medical issues. In an emergency, call 911.

Bring CAMPCHAIRS and join us immediately after the race for the post-race pizza and awards/raffle. We’ll hold it outside on the lawn if the weather allows. Otherwise, we can be inside. Bring your own beverage if you don’t want water or Gatorade. Please no alcohol; it is not allowed on Grace Adventures property.

Can friends and family pay to eat the post-race food? Yes, if you pay for them in advance on the registration page ( We’ll pass out some great prizes to the top teams in each division. We’ll raffle off a bunch of stuff too. Camping overnight might be fun too as teams share stories and race directors point out tips for next time.

Charity Partner
Our charity partner for the race is Grace Adventures. Grace provides custom retreats, Christian summer youth and horse camps, as well as leadership and character training programs. A share of race profits and money from the charity challenge will go towards Grace’s camper scholarship fund that helps kids with financial difficulties get to camp.

Age Guidelines
Racers generally must be at least 12 years old for the Silver Lake Edition unless the parent discusses 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. Exceptions may apply (e.g., two responsible 17-year olds racing together).

Questions? 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.

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