Looking for a great, beginner-friendly trail run this summer? The 13th annual Brainy Day Trail Run 10K & 5K on August 17 in Nunica, Michigan has all the makings of the perfect off-road race: a 5K that's scenic and comfortable for those of us just getting into trail running, and a 10K that provides plenty of challenging fun (yep, there are hills!). The race, which has grown considerably in the past couple of years and benefits the Brainy Day Fund, also boasts an incredible after-party—homemade banana bread, anyone? In addition, Michigan craft brewer Oddside Ales provides cold ones and there's local pizza, fruit and other goodies.
"I think as runners there are some races every year we run, and there are some races we do every year because it's a great experience," says race director Kevin Curley. "Our main goal is to create an experience."
An extra bonus—and at the heart of this race—is proceeds go to an important cause. The Brainy Day Trail Run supports and raises awareness for those who suffer from a neurological condition called hydrocephalus. All proceeds are donated to The Brainy Day Fund, which supports families through a scholarship program as well as provides research grants for medical professionals looking to end hydrocephalus.
A race discount code is shared during the episode, just for MRG listeners. Use it before early bird pricing ends March 31 for the best savings.
Also on this week's show...Jonny is back in northern Michigan!! Musician Jonny Tornga, who is part of the production team here at the MRG podcast, has spent the past couple of years in New York City, where he worked for Lululemon and truly found his, ahem, footing in the running community. Heather is super excited to have him on the show to give us a run-down (sorry, too many puns?) on life as a runner in the Big Apple and what it's like to return to his hometown after some time away. Jonny, who is training for this spring's Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, started running because of his involvement in producing this show. He ran his first 5K at the Great Beerd Run and then jumped to the 25K at the Riverbank Run.
"I got to do a lot of growing up as a runner in New York City, which is an experience all on its own," he says. Winter running isn't the same in NYC, he found. "It's cold, but we get very little snow there. So that's been interesting coming back [to Traverse City] and training for the Bayshore this year. I had turned into a little bit of a wuss out there. We get a lot of rain, so I ran in a lot of rain. It's been interesting...and dealing with cars. In New York City, it's normal to run in the streets and you come here and it's a little bit frowned upon sometimes to run in the streets. So that's been another interesting thing."
Jonny is training for his second marathon, this spring's Bayshore Marathon. "It's a longer distance for me, but I'm excited to dig into it."
Who doesn't love a shiny, new race medal draped around their neck after crossing the finish line of a race? Yep, we runners and triathletes dig the bling that comes with pushing through the miles and into the finish chute, whether the race is a hard-won accomplishment after months of training or a super fun run with family or friends. But what do you do with all of those medals? Hang them in your home? Stash them in a box in your closet?
West Michigan runners Heather Dunbar and Eddie Kline share their involvement with Medals4Mettle, an organization that takes donated medals and awards them to children and adults who must run a much more difficult race as they struggle to save their lives. "These medals are awarded to honor the mettle and courage it takes to face the challenges of the race we all share together: the human race."
Heather Dunbar is coordinator of the Grand Rapids chapter of Medals4 Mettle, and Eddie Kline is the race director of the Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K as well as the Backward Mile, an event that takes place April 23 and benefits Medals 4 Mettle.
About the Backward Mile in Holland, which takes place Tuesday, April 23:
The Backward Mile is a fun family run for a great cause. Runners will start at the finish line and end at the start line. Runners will dress backward and run backward. Instead of receiving a finisher medal, runners turn in an old race medal. The Backward Mile will collect an old race medal from each participant, then donate those medals to Medals4Mettle. These medals are awarded to residents at Benjamin's Hope in Holland, Mich. to pay it forward to those who must run a much more difficult race than the medal donor’s race; a race they did not choose to run. (Not required to turn in a medal to participate, everyone is welcome)
Coming off three big endurance sport conferences, including the 2019 Running USA Industry Conference held Feb. 10-12 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Eva Solomon catches up with Heather and brings listeners up to speed on some of the latest happenings in the world of running and triathlon.
Eva, who is co-founder and owner of Epic Races, a race management company in southeast Michigan, also talks about the upcoming Ann Arbor Marathon, Marathon Relay, Half Marathon, 10K & 5K. And, all new this year, a 19-mile training run (a perfect long run for those in the final weeks of training for this year's Boston Marathon, Eva says.)
Eva shares what runners can expect at this year's Ann Arbor Marathon, which is set for Sunday, March 24. Midway through the show, Eva and Heather are joined by two runners and veterans who are part of Team Red White and Blue (Team RWB), an organization that Epic Races partners with for many of their racing events. Ryan Taylor, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran, is a cyclist and marathoner. Thomas Sumner, a U.S. Army veteran who has been involved with Team RWB for a few years, shares how he went from being "a couch potato" to walking many miles while carrying a heavy backpack.
Ann Arbor Marathon details: All events start and finish in view of one of Ann Arbor’s most memorable landmarks, The University of Michigan Stadium. Participants run through downtown Ann Arbor, then wind their way through the city’s streets and parks as well as the University of Michigan campus. The marathon and half marathon courses also encompass stretches along the Huron River and Gallup Park and through Nichols Arboretum before returning to campus and downtown. The full marathon is two loops.
The 10K is a true trail running going through Nichols Arboretum including the infamous “Arb Hill”!
The 5K is a beautiful run through The University of Michigan’s campus and the surrounding area with a fun finish line party with all four races hosted by 26.2 Brew (Eva gives us the low-down on this new Samuel Adams beer.)