• FAQs



Please refer to the registration changes page for further information, instructions, and deadlines.

Is this a Boston Marathon Qualifying Race?

Yes, the Sleeping Bear Marathon is a USATF-certified course, and is a Boston Marathon qualifying race. We send all marathon results to the Boston Marathon production team within a few weeks after the race.

Do I need to buy a Sleeping Bear Dunes Park Pass?

Message from the National Park Service:
  • Full and Half Marathon participants must have a valid Sleeping Bear Dunes Entrance Pass on race day, either before or after the race. Information can be found HERE to purchase a pass.
  • Participants may purchase their park pass at the visitor center, campgrounds, Dune Climb, or Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Staff will be at the Platte River Campground until 8:00 pm on Friday. The Philip Hart Visitor Center in Empire will be open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily for pass sales. They can also utilize the self-pay stations at North Bar Lake, Peterson Road Beach, or the Maritime Museum Beach. Other beaches have self-pay stations but those 3 are the closest to Empire. If they don't have time to purchase a pass before the race, they can always do it after the race is over.
  • This is NOT a parking pass. Regardless of where you park, you will still need this pass.
  • 5K Participants, spectators, and volunteers DO NOT need a Sleeping Bear Dunes Entrance Pass.

Where is the parking for this event?

Parking is located at Johnson Park. This location is approximately a 5-minutes walk to the Start/Finish Line. For navigation purposes. use this address: 11698 S Reynolds St. Empire, MI 49630. Overflow parking is in the downtown Empire area if needed. All athletes and spectators must park at Johnson Park or within Empire. NO PARKING IS ALLOWED ON S. LACORE ST. OR W. VOICE RD!!!

Will late registration be available?

We expect the race to fill up before race day, and if it does there will NOT be late registration available on race weekend.

How hilly is the course?

Check out these interactive marathon course and half marathon course maps:

Is there a course time limit?

The course closes for all races at 1:30 p.m., which is a 6 hour limit for the marathon, and 5 hour limit for the half marathon. Athletes that are on course past the closure times may be pulled from the course. We don’t currently offer an early start option for any of the distances.

Are roads closed to vehicle traffic?

All roads are open to vehicle traffic on race day, but the majority of the race takes place on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. When running on the road, athletes should run as far toward the left shoulder as possible. Volunteers and police will be stationed at major intersections to aid in athlete crossing, but athletes should be prepared to stop if needed.

Will there be Gear Transportation/Gear Check for the Half and Full Marathon athletes from the start line to the finish line?

YES! Each athlete will be allowed 1 bag per person to be transported from the start line to the finish line. Athletes may provide their own bag or use a bag provided at the half/full marathon start line. Make sure to drop your bags at the Gear Check sign and make sure your bag is labeled with your BIB NUMBER (labels will be available). Your bag may be picked up at the finish line after your race. Make sure to have your bib with you to claim you bag. *Please leave all valuables inside your car or with family/friends. Race Day Events is not liable for any lost or stollen items.

Can I pick up a packet for my friend/family member?

Yes! You may pick up a packet for family members and/or friends.

Are spectators allowed along the course?

Absolutely! The 5K features an out and back near the finish line, and the half marathon and marathon courses are open to vehicles, and there are plenty of places to stop along the course to cheer on your runner.

Are strollers or dogs allowed in the race?

Strollers and dogs are allowed in the 5K only. Please start with the stroller/dog at the very back of the pack, and yield to all non-stroller/pet participants. Please be aware that all the roads are open to traffic, and in some places the shoulder of the road, where you will be running, is a bit narrow. We want all participants to be safe and enjoy the race, which is which we ask for those with strollers to start at the back and use extra caution. We review this policy each year, and it may change from one year to the next.

Are headphones allowed?

Yes. Please be mindful of those around you and make sure you are able to hear any emergency announcements.

What is your Award Policy if I don't to pick up my award at the event?

Race Day Events will hold event awards for 30 days after the event is complete. Contact us at raceday@racedayevents.com for more information about receiving your awards after the event.

Refund Policy

This race does not offer refunds or deferrals. If you are registered for the event, you agreed to the no refund and no deferral policy prior to submitting your online registration. This includes those who experience illness, injury or any other condition that may prevent them from participating in the event.