The countdown is on … IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City is just one month away. Heather talks about how her training is going and catches up with Joel Gaff, an endurance athlete and longtime northern Michigan race organizer who is serving as race director of IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City.
Some 2,500 athetes are signed on for the Aug. 25 event.
“It’s really been a totally different game, in a good way and in a lot of ways,” Joel says of taking on this new position. “There’s a large support team with me … It’s an exciting and challenging new opportunity. It’s been fun.”
Joel’s company Endurance Evolution is behind several northern Michigan road and trail races, as well as this weekend’s Traverse City Triathlon on Old Mission Peninsula. Heather is participating in the Olympic distance triathlon at this weekend’s event, and Joel shares how he’s seen a big uptick in the number of athletes signed on for the Olympic distance -- likely to help them prepare for IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City.
Joel goes into detail about each course -- the swim in West Bay, the bike in Leelanau County, and the run in downtown Traverse City and around Boardman Lake. He also shares the best spots for spectators to see their athletes, as well as the ideal locations for parking on race day.
Learn more about IRONMAN 70.3 by listening to these previous MRG podcast episodes:
In a little over two weeks(!), women from all across Michigan and beyond will take part in the first-ever Michigan Runner Girl Trail 10K & 5K. This Aug. 4 event, held at 45 North Winery & Vineyard in Lake Leelanau, features a loop 5K course – the 10K runners will do it twice – on the winery’s beautiful on-property recreational trail. And after crossing the finish line? Each runner and walker will receive a finisher’s medal and commemorative wine glass (for tasting some of 45 North’s delicious vintages!).
On this latest episode, Heather sits down with two special guests to talk about this inaugural race: her husband Joe, who has been busy doing tons of behind-the-scenes work on this race, and Eddie Kline, who is serving as co-race director of the MRG Trail 10K & 5K. You likely know Eddie as the race director of the Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon & 8K in Holland, Mich. This race, which has been frequently featured on the podcast and the MRG website in the past, takes place each September.
Heather, Eddie and Joe share details of the upcoming race and answer questions that have come up from readers and listeners. Can guys come to this all-women’s race? Absolutely! We welcome husbands, partners, brothers, dads, grandpas, uncles and sons to join the festivities and cheer on their runners! Another question answered: yes, walkers and runners alike are invited to participate! A special discount code also is shared. We hope to see you there!
MRG’s vision for this event:
Imagine a day filled with running, with encouragement and cheering from fellow women who embrace movement, friendships and going after big (and small) goals – and who love Michigan’s scenic landscape just as much as you. You’ll experience all of this – and more – when you take part in the inaugural Michigan Runner Girl Trail 10K & 5K on Sunday, August 4 in beautiful northern Michigan, near the shores of Lake Michigan on the picturesque Leelanau Peninsula. This all-women’s event takes place in Leelanau’s wine country, on the sprawling 45 North Vineyard & Winery property just outside the village of Suttons Bay and 20 miles north of Traverse City. You’ll experience the vineyard’s gorgeous trails (created just for running, cycling and hiking). You’ll receive a sweet finisher’s medal and commemorative wine glass (and a wine pour, if you’d like one; we’ll have non-alcoholic drinks available, too). Then sip, savor and celebrate your awesome accomplishment with so many other strong and amazing women!
Sign up here: runsignup.com/mrgtrailrace
Epic Races knows a thing or two (or a thousand) about putting on races and events. This Ann Arbor-based race management company, co-founded by endurance athlete Eva Solomon, is behind a slew of road running and cycling races and triathlons held throughout southeast Michigan each year. These range from the flagship event Tri Goddess Tri each June to the popular Battle of Waterloo, Swim to the Moon, Ugly Dog Triathlon, Hot Cocoa Classic, and many more, including virtual runs and races.
Eva, who has been on the show several times, returns with Pat Ball, Epic Races' community outreach director, to share what we can expect from summer and fall races coming up. She also talks about last month's Tri Goddess Tri (and Heather gives a shout-out to a couple of Michigan Runner Girls who took on their first triathlon at this June event near Chelsea, Mich.)
This fall is the Women Run the D Half Marathon, 10K & 5K on Belle Isle. Eva shares the updates to this event, which takes place on Sept. 15 this year. There's a discount code for this race -- and every other Epic Races taking place this year -- that is shared as well.
It's summertime in Michigan, so you know what that means: time to catch up with our state parks guru and all-around fun guest Maia Turek. And she's got loads of extra-great information to share, with our state parks celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Heather and Maia kick off the show with talk about a super cool activity and podcast project MRG is involved with -- the Centennial Campfire Storytelling Project, which combines state park stories with the engaging art form of storytelling. As part of the Michigan state parks centennial, the DNR is hosting storytelling events where you'll hear several vetted storytellers share their playful anecdotes and deeply personal memories. These storytelling events will feature up to five storytellers and attendees that want to share two-minute anecdotes. Each event will be recorded and distilled into a podcast shared on social media and on the DNR's website here. The first storytelling event took place in June, at Interlochen State Park and future events include Van Riper State Park in the U.P. on July 20, Belle Isle in Detroit on Aug. 17, and Yankee Springs on Sept. 21.
Maia also shares the allure of geocaching and how the state parks have a special geocaching tour underway (100 new caches are located around the state), special events that are happening around the state this summer (including family-friendly activities like a sand castle contest in Muskegon), and how we all can contribute to a state parks "memory map." There's also the Give 100 fundraising campaign, which encourages folks to support their favorite park for the next 100 years.
Learn more about the state parks centennial here.