Race #496 -- Charlevoix Half Marathon -- Charlevoix, Michigan -- 06/19/2021

I'm not in the habit of driving a thousand miles from home for a half marathon, but this one was special. It was my 48-year-old son Joe's first race since he began running last year during the pandemic. Joe's a professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing who's spent a lot more time on academics than exercise in his adult years, and up until he started running I was kind of worried about his health. He had become overweight at about 190 pounds and had picked up a smoking habit when he was a teenager that seemed to me might lead to his ultimate demise, but my constant badgering about the dangers (and general nastiness) of smoking led nowhere. 

Now, with the help of his health-conscious girlfriend Lindsay his diet has improved, the smoking is gone, he has dropped about 50 pounds, and for the first time since they've been grownups one of my kids can outrun me!

Having run almost 500 races myself, I recommended that he start with a little more reasonable distance such as a 5k, a 10k, or a half marathon, but he had heard a lot of good things about the Charlevoix Marathon and training for the 26.2-mile FULL marathon appealed to him, so that's what he decided to run. I wanted to be able to be a part of his first race so I opted for the half marathon, having sworn off full marathons after running the 2010 New York City Marathon. As much as I'd like to run full marathons, my wheels fall off at about 13 miles so the half marathon has become my favorite distance.

Since the full marathon started at 6:00 a.m., the half marathon at 6:30, and the 5k and 10k at 7:00, I was able to get some pics of Joe leaving the starting line but not of Lindsay and Jonah running the 5k. 

Just like I've been doing lately, my goal for the half marathon was to get my heart rate up to 155 and keep it there for the entire race. That's what works for me and I'll keep doing it as long as it works. I took two short walk breaks for water and GU one-third and two-thirds of the way through the race, and I also stopped to gulp some Gatorade at the turnaround point halfway through the race. 

Except for the first mile and last mile, my heart rate was between 154 and 156 for the entire race, which is perfect for me. I think this was the first time that my average heart rate ended up being exactly 155, which was my goal. My official time was 1:50:18 and I finished 2nd in the 65-69 age group. That's 116 half marathons in a row under 2 hours dating back to 2009!

The medals were huge and featured a draw bridge that moves up and down, just like the one in downtown Charlevoix that's between the start/finish line and the post-race food/expo.

I caught this photo of Joe coming to the finish line. None of us knew exactly what to expect for his first race but he was hoping to finish in under 4 hours. I was excited to see him just after the 3:30 pacers! He had stayed with the 3:30 pace group up until about 25 miles when he got a severe cramp in his leg and had to stop for a minute. He recovered and was able to cross the finish line in 3:31:34, a pretty amazing time for a first race and just trying to finish in under 4 hours!

Race Name: Charlevoix Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, & 5k

Location:  Charlevoix, Michigan

Date: June 19, 2021

Race Rating:  106



Weather at Start:

Click Here for Full Race Results

Click Here for FREE Finish Line Photos

Click Here for Race Photos from FinisherPix

Free race photos are always a great perk, but as you can see in this one, mine was a bit disappointing, to say the least. Still, it's the thought that counts, and I'm sure plenty of runners ended up with a good free photo.

Joe's free finish line photo wasn't great but was a lot better than mine!

The photos for sale from FinisherPix taken along the course were better but you couldn't just buy one photo -- you had to buy all of the photos taken of you and they were $39.99. There were 8 photos of me but I didn't really like 7 of them so I didn't purchase any. I would have been happy to get this one for $10 or less, maybe even $20 if I had a momentary lapse in judgment.

My Stats:

  • Time:  1:50:18
  • Pace:  8:25
  • Age Group (65-69): 2 of 10 
  • Overall:  167 of 813
  • Average Heart Rate: 155 
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  168
  • Age Grade Percentage:  72.45%

Lindsay, Joe, and Jonah after the race. Ten-year-old Jonah ran great in his first race ever, finishing the 5k under 30 minutes in 29:19, with his mom running right along with him!





3 - Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)

5 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]

1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good

4 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic

1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out

2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good

8 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!

2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes

2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes

1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no


2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!

0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes


2 - Posted online within 24 hours:  (0)no  (2)yes

1 - Easy to find results:  (0)no  (1)yes


2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)

5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)

1 - 14 and under group (1)

1 - 65+ group (1)

1 - 70+ group (1)

2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none; (1) first only; (2)top 3 or better

2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes

0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes

0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes


2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent

2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent

0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)

5 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals


7 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)

9 - Venue (Entertainment, Race Setting, etc.): (1-9)

2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes


2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful


2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes

3 - Design: (1-5)

3 - Material Quality: (1-3)

0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes


5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes

1 - Prices: (1)expensive  (3)reasonable  (5)cheap

5 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (1-10)yes 


2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no

2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no

2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no

2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no


0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes

2 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent

0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes

0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes

x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  106


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