Ragnar Trail Michigan to return to Grayling on June 24-26
Fri, 06/18/2021 - 4:56pm caleb
Event will feature 1,000 runners from more than 150 teams competing in relay race at Hanson Hills, normal operations at park to be closed for three days
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Ragnar Trail Michigan – a massive relay race event conducted at Hanson Hills Recreation Area – will return to Grayling on Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, after being cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’re super excited to be back in northern Michigan for the trail event,” said Justin Andre, Director of Operations for Grayling Recreation Authority/Hanson Hills. “They put on an outstanding production. It’s quite the sight to experience.”
The event – first held in Grayling in 2019 – features a “Ragnar Village,” a tent city behind the Hanson Hills Lodge with a merchandise store, a campfire, a beer tent, and camping sites for the competitors.
Spectators are welcome at the event. There will be a $10 parking fee, Andre said.
“We encourage them to come out and check out the festivities,” Andre said.
Andre said the Ragnar participants – most of which are from out of town – will start to arrive on Thursday, so Hanson Hills Recreation Area will be closed for normal activities such as disc golf, archery, hiking, and mountain biking on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, June 24, 25, and 26.
“All recreation will be shut down besides spectating the race due to the size of the race,” Andre said. “Pretty much every inch of this place is consumed by this race. We ask the community to be patient with us. It’s a good event for the community and it brings in a ton of visitors.”
Andre said Ragnar organizers capped the event at 1,000 runners. One-hundred and fifty-one teams consisting of eight or four people each are registered for the 2021 event, organizers said.
During the race on Friday and Saturday, competitors have to complete three loops in an assigned order: the “green” loop (2.8 miles), the “yellow” loop (5.6 miles), and the “red” loop (7.7 miles). Competitors run day and night throughout the event. The first wave is slated to start at 7:30 a.m. on Friday.
This year’s Ragnar Trail Michigan will also feature a modified version of Grayling Recreation Authority’s Firecracker Fun Run, a one-mile race that showcases the GRA Mighty Milers (K-5) youth cross country program. Normally, the race is held a few minutes prior to the Fourth of July Parade in downtown Grayling, but organizers opted to move it due to the later start of this year’s parade. Usually the parade and the Firecracker Fun Run are conducted in the morning, but this year’s parade is slated for 2 p.m.
The Firecracker Fun Run is normally open to the public to help with fundraising efforts for Grayling Recreation Authority’s youth running programs, but this year the event will only feature Mighty Milers.
Andre said it will be a good opportunity for the kids to run during a unique event surrounded by running enthusiasts.
“I’m really excited to showcase these kids in front of 1,000 people who are invested in the running community,” Andre said.
The Mighty Milers will get to run through the Ragnar arch after passing the Ragnar Village, Andre said.
“All the campers and runners can cheer them on,” Andre said.