We have compiled as many of the frequently asked questions that participants, spectators, crew members and the general public want to know about the North Country Trail Run. If you have a question we were not able to answer here just drop us a line to info@northcountryrun.com and we will try to answer it and also add it to this page.

What is the date of the race?
Saturday August 25th and Sunday August 26th 2018

How old is this race?
The marathon and ultra will celebrate their 19th year this year while the half marathon will celebrate its 9th year, the Sunday half marathon its 4th year.

What are the starting times?
Saturday Ultra – 6:15 am
Saturday Marathon – 7:00 am
Saturday Half Marathon Wave One – 8:10 am
Saturday Half Marathon Wave Two – 8:20 am
Sunday Half Marathon – 8:10 am

Is there a course map?
Yes. If you scroll to the top of this page you can view, download and print each course map, directions for crew/pacers, and also an overview of the elevation of the race.

What is the course like?
The course is a well marked 25 mile loop. The marathon runners will run a 1.2 mile section on the paved road prior to hitting the trail. This allows them to run the same 25-mile loop the ultra runners will and also spreads the runners out prior to reaching the 1-track trail. The trail is a single-track hiking trail with enough hills to make for a challenging race. There is no high altitude to contend with, no rocks to jump over, and no stream crossings to wade through, just a beautiful forest with some roots to remind you you’re not on pavement. The course is flagged approximately every 100 ft with landscaping flags. Ultra and marathon runners follow the red flags while the half marathon runners follow the yellow flags. When all three events are on the same trails you will see both yellow and red flags. We will mark off where trail crossings may confuse runners by hanging caution tape at these points and also placing additional flags to direct you on the right path. It is also important to review the course maps and even print them off prior to race day.

Do you limit the number of runners in each race?
Yes, the entire event is limited to 500 participants and we will try to maintain no more than 200 to 250 participants in each event. Each event will fill up fast, so please register early and train for the race you registered for so that you don’t get stuck out in the cold if you want to switch at a later date.

Is there a cut-off time for the Ultra or Marathon?
Yes, 14 hours; so you must be able to finish by 8:10pm. Anything more than that and we will come pick you up, bring you to the finish line bbq and hand you a “good job” beer.

What should I bring with me to the race to help finish and have a good time?
(click here for list)

Can I have cell phone on the course?
Yes, but please note GPS signal goes in and out, so relying on them for accurate distances is virtually impossible.

Can I have stroller, jogger or dog on the course?

What items will you have at your aid stations?
Aid stations will be fully stocked with standard items such as GU (at every other aid station), Gatorade and water (at all aid stations). In additional fruits, vegetables, soups, candy, salt packets, pretzels, chips, sandwiches, and more will be available for consumption during the race.

Can I wear headphones?
Yes, but you MUST be aware of your surroundings at all times and this includes being able to hear any verbal warnings/instructions from course officials, or the sound of any other participants on the course approaching you to pass.

Will this race be professionally timed?
Yes, it will be professionally timed and scored. Results will be updated every 2 to 5 minutes online from the North Country website so your friends and family can track your progress.

Can I switch races?
No. Once you register for a race distance you have to remain with that distance because each distance is limited to a certain number of runners. Transfers to another runner maybe made through June 15th 2018 with a $25 transfer fee.

May I sell my bib?

What if I lose something race weekend?
There will be no lost and found. You are responsible for your items left and if they are left they are either donated of pitched. No exception.

Are there showers available after the race?
Yes, at Brethren High School from 11am – 7pm Saturday and 10am – 1pm Sunday for free. The school is located at 4400 N High Bridge Rd, Brethren, MI 49619

When does registration open?
It is open now, but fills fast. It will be full by race day, in most cases it is filled by the week after the event takes place (i.e. 7 days). There will be no race day registrations! If we will fill-up or are close to filling up we will notify everyone via the website and Facebook.

I am injured, pregnant or unexpectedly out of town, can I get a refund?
Entry fees are non-refundable and entries are non-transferable. This means once you have registered, you will not receive a refund if you cannot participate, and you may not give or sell your number to anyone else. You also may not defer your entry to the following year. For any transfers that are allowed by the race you will be charged a $25 processing fee. UPDATE: No additional transfers for 2017 or deferrals will be accepted for 2018

Why haven’t I received an email confirmation?
Usually the problem is that your computer’s spam filter has erased or blocked the email confirmation that was sent to you. Please make sure that you check your spam filter. If you click on the registration confirmation button on this website you can enter your name to see if you are registered.

Where does my registration fee go?
The North Country Run benefits local charities including: Girls on the Run, Club, 4-H, Manistee Food Rescue and Holland Rescue Mission.

Will I receive an award if I place in my age group?
Yes, places awards will be given 5 deep in each age category and each gender. In addition, crystal awards will be given to the top overall male and female and overall male and female masters in event.

Age Groups:
(12-14), (15-17), 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70 & over
* 12-17 year olds can only run the half-marathon at this time. Marathon and ultra participants must be 18 years or older.

When is packet pick-up?
Packet pick-up will be held Friday, August 25th 2017 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday, August 26th 2017 from 5:30 a.m. to the start of each race and Sunday from 6:30am till 8:10am at Big “M” at the Manistee National Forest. 3500 Udell Hills Rd, Manistee MI.

What do I need to bring with me to pick up my packet?
Your photo ID is preferred and you are picking up a packet for another participant please bring the printed confirmation receipt.

Is there a place to drop bags at the start line?
Yes, there are three locations you may drop bags for your race. When you arrive race day, there will be three tarps. Your course drop bags will be taken out on the course to Aid Station #2 (mile 7.57/32.7) and Aid Station #5. (mile 17.78/42.9) and there is a 3rd drop bag location near Aid Station #8 which is near the start/finish area. All of them will be placed on the left side of the trail. After you are done with your bag (once for marathon, twice for ultra), then place the bag on the right side of the trail and we will deliver those to the finish line for when you are done with your race. You may also go out and pick up your drop bag after the race. Directions will be provided race day.

Where should I park on Race Day?
Parking is available within walking distance of the start of the race. You will need to pay a $5.00 per car fee directly to the Forest Service when you park. Envelopes are located near the large course map right near the start/finish area. You write your vehicle information on the pass, tear off the tab, drop it in the box that is available and put the other portion in your front window. There are three additional free parking areas within 1 mile or less of the start/finish area. We ask that you please be respectful of non-parking areas and also try to not park out on Udell Hills Road. Parking attendants will be in place in to help you maneuver to these parking areas.

Where does the race start and finish?
At Big “M” in the Manistee National Forest GPS coordinates N44 11.570, W086 04.011. (3500 Udell Hills Road, Manistee Michigan)
FROM MANISTEE: Go east on M-55 about 14 miles to Udell Hills Road, and go south approximately 3 miles.

FROM LUDINGTON: Go East on US10&31 about 5 miles to Scottville. At Scottville go North on US31 for 10.5 miles to Freesoil Road. Go East on Freesoil Road about 7.3 miles to Campbell Road. On Campbell go north about 5.5 miles to Udell Hills Road. Turn East on Udell Hills and go about 2.5 miles to the main entrance.

For additional driving direction just enter your destination address above and click the “go” button. If you also click the “larger map” option a second window will open for you to view and print these directions.

What is not allowed on the course?
Runners going backward, runners not wearing a race number, animals, bicycles, baby joggers, strollers, roller skates, roller blades, hand-crank chairs and wheeled vehicles. Also, dropping trash between aid stations. Carry your trash to the next aid station as much as possible. This will help keep clean-up to a minimum and also ensure nothing blows into the woods that we do not see when we walk the course for clean-up purposes.

Where would be the best place to fly into?
The nearest airport is in Manistee, Cadillac and Traverse City and the closest major airport is in Grand Rapids. For additional transportation options and details go to the travel/lodging page on this website.

Do you recommend any places to stay?
Complete information on the area please visit our travel/lodging page on this website.

Is there any place where I could sleep in my vehicle for a few hours before the race?
At the start/finish area, but we ask that you refrain from setting up tents as the US Forest Service prohibits camping at the trail head.

What are the average temps that time of year?
The daytime high temperatures are usually in the range of 75 to 85 F. At night, it generally drops about 15 to 20 degrees from what it was during the day. Clear nights are usually cooler than cloudy ones.

Are there any facilities anywhere along the course?
Port a potties will be available at the start/finish area which is also the start of the second and final loop for the ultra. We will also have 1 portable restroom at the following aid station: 1, 2, 2B (serves half marathon), 3, 4 and 5. Toilet paper and wipes are available at all aid stations along the course.

Is the trail pretty smooth, or do you recommend trail shoes?
For the most part, lightweight trail shoes are recommended for most runners. The biggest challenge you will have is roots along the course and ensuring you keep a good eye open for them. Other than that, there are few sandy spots, but 95% of the trail is in shaded woods with hard packed dirt trails.

Will medical personnel be on hand?
Physicians from Metro Health Sports Medicine will be on hand through the entire event for your safety, in case of an emergency.

Do I have to be there for opening ceremonies?
You do not have to, but we would really appreciate if you were. Most races you arrive, pick-up your packet, get in line and race, then leave and it’s over and done with. We have participants traveling from all over the country and so we want everyone to know that they are special. We have a lot of honored guests that attend opening ceremonies so we want to show them how great the running community is by being their for the 15 minute ceremonies prior to the marathon start.

Can I bring my dog?
Yes, as long as you know that they will be leashed and under your control during the entire time especially if others bring their dogs. No dogs will be allowed on the race course.

What are the distances to the aid stations?
Aid station #1 is approximately 3.5 miles from the start for the half and ultra runners while it is about 4.7 miles for the marathon (because of the 1.2 mile addition at the start of the race). Each aid station for the ultra and marathon are about 3 to 3.5 miles apart after aid station #1. For the half marathon runners your aid stations are roughly 3 miles apart with the last aid station being less than 2 miles from the finish.

What time will the awards ceremonies begin and do I have to be there?
For the half marathon runners we will begin around 10:30am, for the marathon around 12:30pm and for the ultra around 5:30pm. We will announce any open slots in the top 5 for each as much as often as possible and give out awards if they fall after these times.

If I would like to volunteer how can I do that?
The race is put on with more than 150 volunteers each year and if you are looking to volunteer to learn about the running community, have runner running in the race and want to spend some time helping or are you have a church, organization, youth group or any other group that would like to help please check out our volunteer form to sign-up today.