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We’ve all heard of Punxsutawney Phil, the little furry guy in Pennsylvania who comes out, sees his shadow, and declares six more weeks of winter. Then there’s Augustus T. Groundhog, better known as Grand Rapids Gus. He’s Phil’s much more interesting cousin. Unlike Phil, who it seems can only see shadows, Gus has much better eyesight and can look at a calendar on February 2 and know that spring doesn’t start for six weeks. Gus suggested that instead of lamenting over six more weeks of winter, we should EMBRACE the cold and snow and do something fun. And so, the Groundhog Day Marathon was born.
If you still don't find yourself comfortable running in person, sign up anyway. We'll mail you your race packet after race day. You can report your time (you won't be in the age group results). When you're registering, there's a question if you want to do it as a VIRTUAL EVENT. Say yes. In addition to your regular gear, you'll get 20% off for the 2022 Groundhog Day Marathon. (If you already signed up and want to switch to virtual, email Don and let him know.) THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE BEFORE 4PM FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5.
2021 COVID-19 STUFF - This year we will not be putting up a tent, so dress warmly and have extra stuff to wear before and after the race. Hopefully the weather will be like 2020 rather than 2019. You'll need to wear masks before the race starts and after you're done when you're around people. It's likely we'll be doing a "rolling start" so you're not all bunched up.
EARLY START--Because we want to be more socially distanced, we're opening the start line at 7:00 am. If you're one of our "velocity challenged" runners, please start as close to 7:00 as possible. You can start any time between 7:00 and 8:00. If you're a competitive runners (i.e. somebody could win this thing) please start at 8:00 with the fast people.
NOTE--IF THE WHOLE STATE OF MICHIGAN IS IN A STATE OF EMERGENCY AND NOTHING IS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN ANYWHERE, WE WILL POSTPONE THE 9TH ANNUAL GROUNDHOG DAY MARATHON TO 2022.
It’s a winter running event, outside Grand Rapids Michigan. YES! THERE WILL PROBABLY BE LOTS OF SNOW ON THE COURSE.
The Friday and Saturday closest to Groundhog Day February. In 2021, it's February 5-6.
It’s more fun than you should have with your clothes on.
Like the movie, you’ll feel like you’re repeating the same day over and over. A beautiful, snowy (we hope), approximately 4.4 mile course. Splits every 1/6th of a marathon. 8:00 a.m. Saturday. 500 Runner limit combined for full and half marathons
For those of you who couldn’t stay awake through the whole movie. Only three times around.
Moonlight 1/6 Marathon on Groundhog Eve:
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1/6 MARATHON! Hey, we’re going to be set up anyway, no sense in just long-distance people having all the fun. 6:30 p.m. Friday. 300 Runner limit.
Ever see the movie? The course will give you the opportunity to relive the same day several times. A total of 6 loops of approximately 4.4 miles on a CERTIFIED course (Yes! You can qualify for Boston!) will have you feeling just a little case of deja vu. Two aid stations plus the finish line area. Don’t plan on the course being free of snow. It’s paved, which means no underlying rocks and roots, but that’s about all we’re promising.
Hotels & Travel.
Our airport is GRR. Look for hotels HERE
(Note--if you write with a question that's very plainly stated on the page, the email may get a low priority)
Race Director: Don Kern email@example.com 616 293 3145
Associate Race Director: TJ Suchocki firstname.lastname@example.org 616 318 5411
Volunteer Coordinator: Stephanie Cornwell, email@example.com
Mailing Address: 1170 Oakburn Ave SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546
If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.
Where is this event?
It's in the United States. Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's not the event in Telford, England. That one is HERE But our friends from across the pond are welcome to join us. Just think--run two Groundhog Marathons in the same year. Who does that???
What is the weather going to be like?
There are professionals who do weather predictions. We’re not them. (And Punxsutawney Phil, out in Pennsylvania supposedly does weather predictions too. Grand Rapids Gus, however, doesn’t give a s…) THERE COULD BE A LOT OF SNOW ON THE COURSE.
I thought you were going to keep it on Groundhog Day. What’s the deal?
We took a poll. People thought it would be better to keep it on the weekend. So we’re keeping it on the weekend. Don’t say we never listened to you. Christmas has to stay on the 25th, but we’re trying to make this more convenient for our runners, so we’re moving it slightly off the 2nd some years. (Come to think of it, I think the poll was more among staff members who couldn't stay awake for the Super Bowl when we held it on Sunday a couple times.)
Is this a Boston Qualifier?
It’s winter. It’s paved trails but there may be two feet of snow on them. But the course is certified. So, yes, if you can finish in a BQ time it’s a Boston Qualifier.
Will there be finishers’ medals and shirts?
This marathon is managed by professionals. We’ll have Gatorade and water too.
Will there mile markers and aid stations on the course?
There are 4 mile markers on the course. It’s 4.4 miles long, so putting more than that would just be silly. There are two aid stations.
Can we wear costumes?
We’re not going to discourage it. You can run naked for all we care.
Will there be a live groundhog?
Maybe. Maybe some dead ones too. Then there’s the groundhog puppet that Don uses to flirt with girls.
Is this a walker friendly race?
Walker friendly, yes. But there’s no early start available. So walk fast please before we all freeze while waiting for you. (NEW FOR 2021--If you're going to be on the course after 3pm, start at 6 or 7 and run your own stopwatch. Report to the Classic Race table in the tent before you start and when you finish--we'll still include you in the official results.)
Are past results available?
Yes. 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Where’s the course map?
There's a link below for that. THERE COULD BE A LOT OF SNOW ON THE COURSE.
Where will the parking be?
There’s a bunch of parking on site. Carpooling is advised just to keep the congestion down. We’re at The Secchia Meadows. If we run out of parking there, we'll open the parking lot on the other side of Maynard.
If I don't show up for the race, can I still get my hoodie
Maybe. But you'll have to pick it up. We try not to have any leftover when we're done, so don't plan on it. Also, they cost about $7.50 to mail, so we're not really crazy about doing that.
Is it OK if I throw trash on the trail?
NO! It's winter. It's really hard to find stuff in the snow. That's why we have cookies and peanut butter filled pretzels instead of gel packs at the aid station. Even if you bring your mom along to pick up after you, it's still NOT OK!
AID STATIONS Aid stations are at about .2 miles and 2.4 miles on the loop. A little extra at the Start/Finish just in case. Water and Gatorade. NO FOOD THIS YEAR--COVID PROTOCOLS! We aren’t supplying any energy gel, so bring your supply or pick some up from Striders. And DON’T THROW STUFF ON THE TRAIL! (gel packets, cups, etc.) it’s winter and we’ll never find them to pick up in the snow.
AWARDS Overall winners (Male & Female) in the full and half get an amazing piece of Groundhog art by local chainsaw artist Jack Eppinga. Other than that, coffee mugs for age group awards (3 deep) and of course, finisher medals for all three events. FIVE YEAR AGE GROUPS.
OVERALL AWARDS i.e. the really cool Groundhog Trophies, will be award based on GUN TIME. (Except for 2021--we're trying to be socially distanced, so EVERYTHING is based on chip time.) All Age Group awards will be based on CHIP TIME, since the narrow starting area is hard to get everyone who's fast right up by the starting line.
COOLEST GROUNDHOG CONTEST We’ll be picking the best dressed Groundhog in a Facebook contest and reward that person with a little bit of extra swag.
CHALLENGE MEDAL Do one of the events at the Grand Rapids Marathon in the fall and one of he events at the following Groundhog Day Marathon and get a gigantic Grand Rapids Marathon Challenge medal. They're freakin' huge!
COURSE Yes, we already talked about that. NO, the course won’t be free of snow unless Mother Nature (or some other mother…) deems it so. If it’s really bad we’ll actually groom it so that it’s not as bad as it was in 2014 just to keep people from jumping all over Marathon Don’s back. In case of REALLY SEVERE conditions, we have a certified alternate route that's 12 loops instead of 6, but our timing guys really hope we don't have to use it.
EARLY START: NEW FOR 2021--If you're going to be on the course after 3pm, start at 6 or 7 and run your own stopwatch. Report to the Classic Race table in the tent before you start and when you finish--we'll still include you in the official results. Timing mats will be out before 7am, so you won't even have to do anything special.
HEADLAMPS The Moonlight event on Friday night, (the 1/6 marathon) HEADLAMPS ARE REQUIRED. Bring yours from home. We're not sure that anyone will be around to sell you one on site. (Dude! In 2017 we actually saw the moon!!)
HOODIES To guarantee a hoodie size will be available on race day, please get registered ASAP. Everyone will get the swag, but we don’t wish to have tons of them left over. If you sign up on race day, you’ll have to wait until after the full and half start to make sure we have the right size for you. If we run out, we’ll get you one afterwards. (Oh–there are no XS hoodies)
PACKET PICKUP is NOT AT STRIDERS! THEY'RE ONLY OPEN UNTIL 6 AND ARE ON COVID PROTOCOL, SO THEY CAN'T HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE IN THE STORE TO DO THIS.
INSTEAD, FOR 2021 ONLY, WE'LL HAVE PACKETS AVAILABLE AT 1170 OAKBURN AVE SE (Don's house) THURSDAY FROM 5 TO 8. YOU ALSO MIGHT GET A CHANCE TO HELP US LOAD THE U-HAUL. :-)
On Friday, at the race site (1400 Maynard) from 4:30PM – 7:30PM and then beginning at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.
PARKING The race venue may be limited with parking, but we have LOTS more than in previous years. Carpooling is recommended if you can.
START TIMES 6:30PM Friday for the 1/6 marathon. 8:00AM Saturday for the full and half marathon. SEE COVID NOTES ABOVE
SWAG Hoodie for each runner in the 1/6, Full, and Half. For those running the 1/6 on Friday, then the full or half on Saturday, you’ll get a hoodie and an embroidered stocking cap. Finisher medals for all 1/6 marathon, marathon and half marathon finishers.
SWAG SHOP We'll have old sweatshirts, and various merchandise on sale CASH ONLY. Bring a few bucks.
SWITCHING RACES It is allowable to switch from the full to the half (or vice versa if you’re feeling really frisky) but you need to make sure the timers from Classic Race Management know that BEFORE the race. (Cash bribes might help.) Switching mid-race isn’t cool, but if you happen to do that, you better go up to Jeff or Joe from Classic and talk REAL NICE to him, and maybe he’ll include you in the results anyway. (We have a few people get on the course and decide to switch to the half marathon. We can work with that!)
WAVE START Yeah, we tried to do a wave start, but you people seemed content to start at your leisure so to heck with that idea. Competitive runners, be at the starting line on time, and we’ll send you off. If you have any chance whatsoever of winning the overall race, start at the front since the overall winners will be based on GUN TIME. After that, the “less focused” runners can cross the starting line–heck, we have chip timing anyway, so you’ll get an accurate time regardless. NOTE: PLEASE START IN THE FIRST COUPLE OF MINUTES. DON’T SIT IN THE TENT HANGING OUT! IT’S NOT GOING TO GET ANY WARMER IN THE NEXT 5 MINUTES.
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