• FAQs


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?

Yes, if you are participating in the half marathon or full marathon. Since you will be utilizing a portion of the park's trail system you will need an entrance pass which you can purchase here.

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.

Where do we park on race day?

Parking is located at Johnson Park, about a 5 minute walk from the start/finish line.  For GPS navigation purposes, you can use this address: 11698 S Reynolds St Empire, MI 49630. Overflow parking is in the downtown Empire area if needed.

How hilly is the course?

Check out these interactive marathon course and half marathon course maps: Marathon elevation map Half marathon elevation map The 5K is flat and fast

What are the age groups for awards?

The following age groups apply for male and female for all events: 19 and under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+

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.


There will be volunteer pacers at the event. If you are interested in being one of our pacers, please visit our volunteer registration page here!  Below are the target finish times: 3:00 3:30 4:00 4:30 5:00 5:30 6:00

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.

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

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

What is the minimum age to participate?

The minimum age to participate in the marathon and half marathon is 12 years old as of December 31, 2022. This means that if an athlete is 11 years old on race day, but will turn 12 by December 31, they may participate. If an athlete will not be 12 years old by December 31, they’ll have to sit this year’s race out.  The 5K is open to all ages.

Are there finisher medals?

Yes, all finishers for all distances will receive a finisher medal.

Do I get a shirt with my registration?

Yes! All participants will receive a shirt. Unfortunately, if you miss the race we will not be mailing race shirts.

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.

What's included with my registration?

All participants will receive a unisex, long sleeve shirt and finisher medal. We also have post-race refreshments and snacks! Oh, yeah, you also get one of the most beautiful running courses around, fully stocked aid stations with smiling volunteers, on-course bathrooms, police and medical support, chip timing and live results/tracking, and an experience you'll cherish forever.