Close to 150 runners finish looped courses during 2019 GRA 10K/5K race
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The 2019 Grayling Recreation Authority 10K/5K – foot races for people of all ages held every year during the AuSable River Festival – featured close to 150 finishers with 103 people completing the 5K loop and 43 runners finishing the 10K course. This year’s 10K/5K event was held on Saturday, July 27, with each loop starting and ending at Hanson Hills Recreation Area.
The 2019 Grayling Recreation Authority 10K/5K was the sixth to feature the 5K option for runners, and it continued to be a popular choice for participants with more than 100 runners.
In 2014, GRA added the 5K course to the event due to requests from participants for a shorter option. It was an immediate success; the event had a record number of runners – 173 – in 2014 with the addition of the 5K competition. The 10K/5K had similar numbers in 2015 with 169 finishers. More than 180 people raced in the 2016 event. The 2017 event featured 140 people. Last year, more than 160 runners finished the 10K/5K.
Justin Andre, Director of Operations for Grayling Recreation Authority, said numbers were “down just a little bit” this year. Organizers are still working toward their goal of having more than 200 runners in the 10K/5K.
“We’re still looking to grow that event,” Andre said.
Andre said the weather was good for this year’s race.
“It was a beautiful morning. It turned out to be a perfect day for the race,” Andre said.
This year was the fourth time that Grayling Recreation Authority conducted the event at Hanson Hills.
In 2002 through 2009 the 10K course started and ended at Grayling High School’s track and utilized part of the Grayling Bicycle Turnpike, a paved path for nonmotorized traffic. In 2010, organizers moved the GRA 10K back into town to be closer to AuSable River Festival events. The race started and ended near Grayling Middle School in 2010 through 2015.
In 2016, due to road construction projects in town, Grayling Recreation Authority had to move the 10K/5K. Event organizers opted for Hanson Hills, GRA’s base of operation, for the venue change.
It was intended as a temporary switch, but people liked the new course, and organizers decided to keep the 10K/5K at Hanson Hills.
This year’s GRA 10K/5K had separate mass starts for the two different distance options. The two races also featured different courses instead of having the 10K runners complete two loops on the 5K course.
The 10K course this year took runners out of the Hanson Hills entry way, left onto Old Lake Road, across M-93 south toward Camp Grayling, onto Margrethe Boulevard, back to M-93 near Camp Grayling, out to M-72, right onto the sidewalk along M-72, right onto Old Lake Road near Northbound Outfitters, and back to Hanson Hills.
The 5K course used parts of the 10K course. Runners in the 5K race went out of Hanson Hills, left onto Old Lake Road, right onto M-93, right onto the sidewalk along M-72, right onto Old Lake Road at Northbound Outfitters, and then back to Hanson Hills Recreation Area.
“The courses have been pretty nice for us the last couple of years,” Andre said.
The overall winners for the 2019 GRA 10K were Jorden Wakeley (Men’s Division, 0:34:56) and Emily Short (Women’s Division, 0:41:31).
Short has now won the 10K Women’s Division in 2012 through 2019, an active streak of eight consecutive victories, including a first place overall finish in the 2015 GRA 10K.
In the 5K event, Josie Short won the Women’s Division with a time of 0:19:42. J. Short also won the division in 2017 and 2018. There were 61 runners in the Women’s Division this year.
Out of 42 runners in the 5K Men’s Division, Tyler Bischoff finished first with a time of 0:19:32.
Event organizers eliminated age division awards for the 10K/5K race this year. Instead, every runner in the 5K and 10K races received a medal, and the four overall division winners (male 5K, male 10K, female 5K, female 10K) received special plaques. Sylvester’s of Grayling made the medals.
“Awesome custom medals for all the participants. It really added to our event. Everyone got a souvenir medal to take home,” Andre said.
Complete results of the 10K/5K are available at Grayling Recreation Authority's website: https://hansonhills.org/summer-activities