Five 5Ks You Can’t Miss in Michigan

Summer is beginning to wrap up in Michigan, but that doesn’t mean the fun runs have to end! From glow-in-the-dark dance parties to zombie chases, the cooler weather brings a variety of themed runs all over Michigan that runners of all ages can enjoy.

Read more on a few themed runs you can look forward to this autumn courtesy of guest blogger Katie Dillman.

1. Color Vibe 
Ann ArborAugust 28 (not quite fall, we know!)

Paint a rainbow across Ann Arbor at the Color Vibe 5K, featuring color throws and a dance party. Tickets for this all-ages event include entry, a race bib, and a color pack. You’ll also have the option of purchasing some heavily discounted Color Vibe Party Packs that include a t-shirt, a bandana, neon sunglasses, socks–even a tutu! This run is all about fun so walk, skip, and dance your way all around the course until you arrive at the explosive dance party at the finish line.

The Colorvibe run is a can't-miss in Ann Arbor

Photo Courtesy of Katie Dillman

2. Night Nation
DetroitSeptember 17

The world’s first running music festival, Detroit’s Night Nation is a 5k like you’ve never experienced before. This after hours fun run takes you through a course glowing with neon as you experience multiple DJs sets along the way. At the end of your journey, head to the main stage and celebrate with an over-the-top dance party with DJs and special celebrity guests. Registration includes a bib, Night Nation t-shirt, after-party admission, and of course, a glow necklace so you can light up the raceway. This is a can’t-miss event for any lover of electronic dance music, so grab your glow sticks and sign up before all the bibs are gone!

Night-Nation is a wild experience in Detroit

Photo Courtesy of Katie Dillman

3. The Zombie Dash 
Grand RapidsOctober 22

Run for your life at the Grand Rapids-exclusive Zombie Dash. In this role-playing 5K, you will join a small band of survivors on a mission to investigate the quarantined urban center after sundown. When you arrive, you’ll be given three “life strips” to tuck into your clothes. As you encounter zombies, they will attempt to snatch these life strips from you, deducting one minute from your chip-counted finish time. Losing them all doesn’t disqualify you, and you may opt to run without the strips if you’d rather not be chased by zombies. Remember, this is all for fun! Rather not run but still want to participate? Put on your best undead garb and sign up to be a zombie! The top three best dressed will win a prize after the race.

The Zombie Dash lets you live a syfy fantasy while running

Photo Courtesy of Katie Dillman

4. The Great Beerd Run
Acme, November 12

Love beer and beards? Head to Acme’s Great Beerd Run on November 12th and celebrate them both! Registration includes entrance, a race medal that doubles as a bottle opener, beer samples, a full pint at the after party, and your very own bearded beanie to keep you warm in the Michigan air. Prizes will be awarded after the scenic race for the best natural beard as well as the best “assisted” beard at 11 AM. As this is a fun run, the race isn’t timed, but the fastest male and female runners will still be awarded prizes.

Beards? Beer? Fun? Check!

Photo Courtesy of Katie Dillman

5. Dashing Through the Snow 
FowlervilleDecember 3

Bundle up for the 10th annual Dashing Through the Snow 5K in Fowlerville! This professionally timed run (or walk, if you prefer) is on a perfectly flat course and features a post-race Christmas parade as well as a festive hot air balloon with pyrotechnics to cheer racers on. Registration covers entry to the event, and if you sign up before November 18th, you’ll also receive a cozy winter hat embroidered with the race’s logo. After your chilly journey and the holiday celebration that follows, warm up with a hearty chicken dinner at the registration site.

Katie1What is your favorite race to run or walk in Pure Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!

Katie Dillman is a Communications Coordinator with Premier Glow, an online retailer of glow products. She enjoys working with businesses through copywriting to share ideas that connect with their audience.

Nine Things You Might Not Have Known About The Soo Locks

Engineer’s Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie is the last Friday in June. There’s something for everyone, historic open houses, spectacular vistas and the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the great Soo Locks

Check out these nine interesting facts about the Soo Locks to inspire your visit from Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Photo courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Photo courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

A man-made marvel and the busiest lock system in the world, by cargo tonnage, yes the Soo Locks! On average, between seven and ten thousand ships come through the locks during the shipping season each year.  Built in 1855, these locks connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron and beyond.  We have repeat visitors every season; they call themselves Boat Nerds, that watch ships from all over the world use this free lock system.  Now here are some facts about the locking system and the St. Marys River.

$500.4 Billion value attributed to the iron ore shipped through the Soo Locks each year. An average of 80 million tons of cargo moves through them each year.

7,000 passages each year – Crews at the Soo Locks complete these lockages during the 42- week- long navigations season. They are open 24 hours a day.  Can you take your personal boat through the locks? Yes, as long as you have a motor and permission from the lockmaster.

2,342 miles- ships from all over the world visit this port as the locks are a part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which connects Duluth, Minnesota to the Atlantic!

22 Million gallons of water to lift a boat. The locks are powered by gravity itself!  Water moves in and out of the lock chambers by just opening and closing valves.

1000 foot boats- There are 13-1000 footers on the Great Lakes, and the largest boat that comes through the Soo Locks is the Paul R. Tregurtha, in at 1013 feet 6 inches which is larger than three football fields! The first vessels on the great lakes were 40 foot-long canoes.

Mikel B Classen

Photo courtesy of Mikel B Classen via Sault Ste. Marie CVB

9 hours between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, it takes a freighter about nine hours to pass through the St. Mary’s River system

21 foot drop- A thick layer of bedrock holds back the waters of Lake Superior where it joins the St. Marys River. This drop prevented boats from passing through. This reddish sandstone lines most of Lake Superior southern shores and is about 1000 feet-thick.   The Fairbanks Scale Company, which is still in business today, built the first permanent lock, State Lock.

3-4 cents per ton- From 1855 to 1881, this was the toll, but today it is free.

The propeller in Soo Locks Park is from a steamer named the Independence, which exploded just northwest of today’s locks.  One crewman is said to have survived a trip down the rapids on a hay bale from the ship.

Now that you know more about the Soo Locks, come and visit us during Engineer’s Weekend, when you can go into the locks and get up close and personal with this engineering marvel! Can’t make it that one day of the year? You can visit the Soo Locks Park anytime between late March and Mid-January to see the freighters go through the locks.

Engineer’s Day is always the last Friday in June, which falls on the 30th in 2017. See what Engineer’s Weekend is all about in the video below.


Have you been to the Soo Locks? Tell us about your experience!

Hit the Water in Michigan with These Extreme Sports

Summertime in Michigan means many things, but typically the most popular and memorable activities happen on the water. Between swimming, boating and fishing, there are countless ways to relax while taking in the Great Lakes state.

If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, however, check out these five thrilling sports that can serve as the highlight of the season.

1. Shipwreck Diving

Since Michigan is surrounded by large bodies of water, it is one of the best places to explore shipwrecks. Experience history firsthand by visiting one of the many sites where you can visit ships now resting on the lake floor. Even if you aren’t a diver, there are options for charter tours with glass bottoms perfect for making memories while staying dry.

Explore shipwrecks resting at the bottom of the Great Lakes

Suggested locations: Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Alpena), Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve (Traverse City) and the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve (Port Sanilac).

 2. Kiteboarding

Want to try something new and exhilarating? Look no further than kiteboarding. Kiteboarding is a surface water sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing and paragliding, among others, into one extreme sport. This sport is made possible through a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard similar to a wakeboard or a small surfboard.

Kiteboarding lets you harness the water and the air in one great sport

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @thawanderer88

Suggested locations: St. Clair Shores, Traverse City and East Tawas.

 3. Sea (Lake) Kayaking

A “silent sport,” kayaking speaks to our souls. Explore sea caves, channels and coves or travel pristine rivers, enjoying the serenity of a peaceful paddle or the thrill of riding heart-stopping rapids. Kayaking is also your best chance to experience the spectacular seasonal scenery and abundant wildlife of the water’s edge. Sea kayaking is more rigorous than regular kayaking, so expect a healthy arm workout when heading out onto one of the Great Lakes.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the U.P. is an ideal sea kayaking adventure

Photo Courtesy of Courtney Kotewa

Suggested locations: Port Austin and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Munising).

4. Parasailing

This high-flying experience is the thrill of a lifetime. Take in the sights of your surroundings as a giant parachute sends you soaring hundreds of feet above the water. Through parasailing, you’re able to see many unique Michigan destinations from an aerial perspective while being refreshed by the splashing freshwater below.

See the Mackinac Bridge from above through a parasailing adventure

Photo Courtesy of Mackinaw Parasailing

Suggested locations: Mackinaw City and Harbor Springs.

5. Great Lakes surfing

Surf’s up! Though it is believed that Great Lakes breakers were first surfed nearly a century ago, and possibly much earlier by native peoples, the first significant wave of participants arrived in the 1960s. The west coast surf craze was leaking into Middle America, and small surfing communities sprouted across the Great Lakes. Michigan was at the forefront and today, surfing on the ‘Third Coast’ is more popular than ever. The waves are typically small in the summer, which makes it the perfect time to learn to surf. The big waves and prime surfing time is during the fall, winter and spring.

St. Joseph offers great surfing for both beginners and veterans depending on the season

Photo Courtesy of Josh Nowicki

Suggested locations: New Buffalo and St. Joseph.

Which of these extreme water sports have you tried? Share with us by commenting below!