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Race Information

June 1, 2019
Silver Lake, MI
5-7 hour race
8-10 hour race

Registration to open winter 2018/19.

Watch our 2015 Silver Lake Race video!

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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 (and some fun singletrack for the 8-10-hour racers).


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The 5-6-hour race will feature beginner to intermediate biking, orienteering, and trekking along with some skill-based Amazing Race challenges: paddleboarding, sandboarding (it’s not too hard) and hopefully a monster waterslide down the dune. We’ll throw a couple of mystery challenges at you as well. They’ll be doable by all, but those who are quick with their feet or mind will gain time on everyone else. You’ll spend time around beautiful Silver Lake with some exposure to lush area forests and Lake Michigan too. Everything is optional.

The 8-10 hour race will have intermediate to advanced trekking/orienteering, intermediate singletrack, two track and road biking, and paddling (no special challenges). Two-person teams may use single or tandem kayaks or canoes on the paddle section due to limited rental equipment available (first come, first served) and to reduce barriers to entry. 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, created by the NOAA Office for Coastal Management via low-flying airplanes with even more detail added by hand.

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

Women’s shirt specifications
Men’s shirt specifications


8-10 hour
Same-day check-in, Silver Lake ManGrace Adventures, 6:30 am to 7:15 am
Race briefing:  7:30 am to 8:00 am
Race start:  8:30 am
Race cutoff:  4:30 pm

5-7 hour
Same-day check-in, 8 am to 8:45 am
Race briefing:  9:30 am to 10:15 am
Race start:  11:00 am
Race cutoff: 4:00 pm

Pizza dinner (all racers):  starts at 4:15 pm
Raffle and awards ceremony:  4:45-6:00 pm

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

Orienteering Practice/Clinic
For the 5-hour race, 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 May 30 at Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery. 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. 

Kayak/Canoe Rental (8-hour)
We have a limited supply of rental kayaks and canoes due to no large canoe outfitter nearby. See the Register page for the prices. We will do our best to close registration right when the last boat is rented. However, if you register and we do not have a boat for you, we will give you a full refund for the race or a refund for the boat if you can subsequently find your own boat to bring.

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:

Silver Creek RV Resort. 10% off; mention you are racing (reference Ted)

Hideaway Camground and Resort 10%; mention you are racing (reference Chris)

Jellystone Park Camp – Resort

Val-Du Lakes Campground  10% off; mention you are racing (reference Mary)

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. During or before the race, please seek shelter during these conditions. No prize is worth risking your life. 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. We’ll try to hold the event the next morning if Saturday is not a possibility.

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 $8 ($15 on most race sites)

Short sleeve ($17) and long sleeve ($22) shirts

Ventilated hat  $15

Sticker (removable) $3

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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.

5 Hour Race: All CPs are optional. The format will be “breakout” or “score” style. You can get any checkpoint in any order. Teams will head out in dozens of directions. Ideally, this will greatly minimize lines. You can access gear and food from your car at any time during the race. Water and Gatorade will be available at most TAs but fill your bladders/bottles and bring cash. Plan on 25 miles of biking on two-tracks and paved roads. Road bikes are allowed, but not recommended on the rough and potentially sandy two-track section. Expect 8-12 miles of trekking/running on trails, off-trail and mostly hard-pack dunes.

8 Hour Race: The format is predominantly breakout/score style with all checkpoints ad transition areas pre-plotted. After just one mandatory checkpoint, the format moves to breakout/score where any checkpoint can be obtained at anytime.  Plan on 35-42 miles of biking on singtrack trails, two-tracks and paved roads and probably 10-14 miles of trekking/running mostly off-trail and on hard-packed dunes. Paddling will be under 5 miles.

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.

Referral program
Grab two of my business cards at check in (four per team). Write your name and email on them. If anyone asks about the race, hand them a card. Keep them in your purse or wallet. You can also hand them out to people you talk to when you get your haircut, have a drink, play softball with, etc.  Have them email me and share your name. I’ll put all the cards in a raffle after the ArtPrize race and draw for a free entry (max. $75). Minimum 10 cards submitted.

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? The best we can do is offer it once all racers and volunteers have been fed – it’s tricky to plan for friends and family at the risk of racers not getting food. They should bring their own to be safe. 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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