GRA 10K/5K event to start, finish at Hanson Hills
Organizers are hoping for 200 competitors for this year’s race
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Grayling Recreation Authority 10K/5K – foot races held annually during the AuSable River Festival – will be conducted on Saturday, July 27, with courses that start and end at Hanson Hills Recreation Area. Event organizers are hoping for 200 participants this year, and registration is currently open.
“I’m hoping to break the 200 mark,” said Justin Andre, Director of Operations for Grayling Recreation Authority (GRA). “We’ve been around 180. That’s always been the goal, to hit 200 or surpass 200.”
Organizers have made a few changes to the 10K event over the last several years, including different venues and addition of the 5K option for runners.
The race course in 2002 through 2009 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 for 2010 through 2015. The 2014 race featured the 5K option for the first time.
In 2016, due to road construction projects in Grayling, GRA had to move the 10K/5K. Event organizers opted for Hanson Hills Recreation Area, GRA’s base of operation, for the venue change.
It was intended as a temporary switch, but people liked the new course, and event organizers decided to keep the 10K/5K at Hanson Hills.
The addition of the 5K option was an attempt to attract more participants, according to GRA, and it succeeded. In 2005 through 2013, the 10K event featured an average of 107 runners with a high of 131 in 2009 and a low of 91 in 2008. The 2013 GRA 10K had 96 runners and participation jumped to 173 in 2014 with the addition of the 5K division.
In 2015, the final number was 169, and in 2016 the race had 186 finishers. The 2017 race featured around 140 finishers. Last year, more than 160 people finished the GRA 10K/5K.
Andre said the 10K course this year will take 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 will use parts of the 10K course. Runners in the 5K race will go 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 back to Hanson Hills Recreation Area, Andre said.
People can sign up for the 2019 10K/5K online at https://runsignup.com/Race/MI/Grayling/GRA10K and https://runsignup.com/Race/MI/Grayling/GRA5K until 10 a.m. on July 24.
Cost to register for the event is $25 (10K) or $20 (5K) for those who sign up early. Race day registration will run from 7:30-8:30 a.m. on July 27 at the new Rotary Pavilion at Hanson Hills. Race day registration is $35 for the 10K and $25 for the 5K.
Andre said event organizers used the pavilion last year for registration and it worked well.
“We were able to run our registration out of that last year and it was really nice,” Andre said.
This year’s 10K/5K will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 27, at Hanson Hills.
Awards for the 10K/5K will be different this year. Event organizers are eliminating age division awards for the races. Every runner in the 5K and 10K races will receive a medal, and the four overall division winners (male 5K, male 10K, female 5K, female 10K) will receive special plaques.
“This year I’ve got custom medals coming. We’re going to get away from doing age group awards to speed things up,” Andre said. “Everybody who runs the 5K and 10K gets a finishing medal. That’s kind of a new format for us.”