My family and I were part of the second annual Mighty Mac 11k Bridge Race on Saturday. It is by far one of the most unique races I’ve done in Michigan. I’m a little bummed my training schedule for next year won’t allow us to make a trip up there for it again. But, I hope to have the opportunity to do this race again in the future because last year and this years race were a blast! The cool part about this race is that you don’t have to enter into a lottery to ‘win’ a spot like you do for the bridge run in May. You just have to register like any other race.
We stayed at a hotel in St. Ignace on Friday night. Packet pick-up was 5-8pm at the St. Ignace Visitors Bureau, so we stopped for dinner in Mackinaw City and then drove over the bridge to St. Ignace to get our packets and to check-in at our hotel. The race packets included a reusable shoe bag filled with a visitors guide to St. Ignace, a drink koozie, credits to use at the Kewadin casino, pre-race dinner coupons, the cotton long sleeve race t-shirt, and some other various things.
The morning of the race we all got ready in our rooms and then drove over to the Star Line parking lot, where the finish area was with the post-race food/drink tent. They had a roped off section by the tent to form a line for the bus pick-up. They had school busses come pick up the race participants and take them across the bridge to Mackinaw City for the start of the race in the parking lot at Michilimackinac.
The race was supposed to start at 7am, but it started a little late. They were still setting up the cones, so it was a little delayed.
It was a small race, so they didn’t assign waves but they did release people in waves of about 25 people at a time. My mom, dad, both of my sisters, my brother-in-law, my husband and myself were all in the third wave which started at 7:17am.
The bridge is 5 miles long. By the time I reached the peak of the bridge, I was pretty darn happy I had some downhill to enjoy until exiting the bridge. They had timing mats out to see what your time was to the top of the bridge, as well as a photographer. Free race pics! I had wicked ‘race face’ in most of them and was a little bummed my husband was barely visible in the pics. But, at least they were free.
I’ll be the first to admit, hills are tough. Even if they’re gradual. But THIS gorgeous view made that climb oh so worth it!
After exiting the bridge we ran through the toll booth and headed off to the right where they had a water station set-up. I passed on the water but did walk through there. You can see one of the school busses in this picture heading back to St. Ignace.
After the water station there was a little downhill slope into a trail. This trail was not as nice to run through as it was last year. Last year it was a lot smoother and looked and felt like it had just been groomed. This year there were larger rocks all over the path that made the footing a bit uneasy at times. It wasn’t a terribly long stretch though (less than a mile), so it was at least a cool change of scenery. When we reached the trail, my husband and I parted ways.
There were a few more little hills through some neighborhoods after getting through the trail section. Then a super short but steep hill down to the finish by the shoreline.
The race results were printed and posted quickly on the wall under the pavilion by the finish line. I crossed the finish line with an official time of: 01:04:56 (9:30 pace). That is 31 seconds per mile faster than last year! I finished 7th out of 29 in my age group. Pretty happy with that!
In the food/drink tent we talked to a runner who ran the race with his dog, Ginger. She was such a well behaved sweet dog! She even had a number and received her own race medal. This dog has run a marathon with his owner! How crazy is that?! She loves to run!
We got back to the hotel to shower, pack-up, and relax for a bit. Then we headed back out for an early lunch and hit the road to head home! It was a great quick trip up north and another memorable race. Definitely add this one to your race schedule for next year if you haven’t already. It’s such a cool experience!