PETOSKEY — Registration is open for the eighth annual Stafford’s Top of Michigan Festival of Races, set for Saturday, May 27 in Petoskey’s Bayfront Park.
The professionally-timed running event features a half marathon, 5k, and 10k distances, and takes place on the Little Traverse Wheelway, Petoskey State Park, and a few local roads.
The start/finish line is near Lime Kiln Pond at Bayfront Park East in Petoskey. Start times are as follows: half marathon – 7:30 a.m., 10k – 8 a.m., and 5k – 8:15 a.m. There will be aid stations along the way, with volunteers offering water.
Proceeds benefit event organizer Top of Michigan Trails Council and Petoskey High School track and cross country teams.
Aside from a few other freebies, participants who finish the event will receive a custom-made race medallion created by Lake Art in Harbor Springs. Top finishers in each race will also receive locally created artwork.
Race director Becca Nelson said the annual Festival of Races is a popular regional event with runners and walkers from across the state participating.
“Little Traverse Bay is truly a beautiful setting for this great event, which can be fun, competitive, or both, depending on the individual,” she said.
Last year, Paul Hagan of Petoskey was the top male finisher (1:19:58.5) in the half marathon event, while Ali Fitzpatrick of Rochester was the top female finisher (1:33:16.0). In the 10k race, Mandy Paull of Cheboygan led the ladies' field (40:05.9), while her father, Denny Paull, locked down the men’s race (39:22.2). Top finishers in the 5k race were Chad Mikesell of Shorewood, Wisconsin, (17:49.3) and Sarah Mikesell, also of Shorewood, (19:01.2).
Same-day registration is available, but participants are encouraged to register in advance. To find complete details about the event and registration, visit trailscouncil.org/festivalofraces.