North Country Marathon
Distance: 26.2 miles
Start time: 7:00am
Race start/finish address: 3500 Udell Hills Road, Manistee MI
Course Description: The start of the race is the only time your feet will feel pavement as the 1.2 miles of your 26.2 mile race is on pavement. This also helps to spread the field out prior to reaching the trail. The rest of the course is entirely on trails, mostly one-track and just a few portions of two-track trails. The marathon runs the same 25 mile loop that the ultra runners run and after a few hills at the start of the race it is mostly flat for the next 14 miles. The second half of the course is more challenging than the first half and a runner running the North Country Marathon should be training with hill repeats as part of their program.
Aid Stations: There are 7 aid stations that make up the marathon course. The first aid station is about 4.5 miles from the start, all other aid stations are no more than 4 miles from each other. All aid stations will have Gatorade, water and every other aid station for the marathon will have GU. Additional food items will also be available for consumption.
Trail Markings: The marathon and ultra course will be marked every 100 ft with red flags. In 2012 if you do not see a red flag within 100 ft you are on the wrong trail. When you are running on the trails that the half marathon runners run you will also see yellow flags as those are the flags that the half marathon runners follow. In simple, if you are running the marathon and you do not see red flags within 100 ft you are on the wrong trail. To also assist you with ensuring you are on the right trails we will be using yellow caution tape to mark off trails that intersect course trails that way you won't be able to go down a trail because of the barriers that will be in place. Additional flags will be posted also at trail crossings to ensure you do not turn the wrong way.
Trail Posts: Every trail is marked by the US Forest Service and to help you better you will receive a small index sized map in your race packet with the marathon course along with the trail post numbers that the course follows. The trail posts (refer to the map) that correspond with the marathon course are as follows: Start - 35 - 34 - 17 - 33 - 30 - 29 - 28 - 27 - 26 - 25 - 24 - 23 - 4 - 5- 6 -7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 20 - 19 - 18 - 17 - 16 - 15 - 14 - 3 - 2 - 1 - Finish. At post 33 is where the half marathon breaks from the ultra and marathon course and thus you will see yellow flags go one way and red flags go the other; ensure you follow the red flags. A little ways after post 17 is where aid station #1 is, just prior to post 28 is where aid station #2 is at. Near post 26 is aid station #3 and at post 24 is where aid station #4 is at that is also the half way point of the course. Aid station #5 although only a half mile away from aid station #4 it will take you 4 miles of trail to reach aid station #5. When you reach trail post 9 right after aid station #5 you will begin to see some of the half marathon runners that maybe out on the course. Post 9 is where the half marathon rejoins the marathon and ultra courses so you will begin to see yellow and red flags together and will see those two colors till you reach the finish. In most cases you won't but if there are any half marathon walkers you may encounter them. Aid station #6 and #7 are just ahead and when you reach aid station #6 you should be prepared for one of the toughest sections of the course until you get to aid station #7 and then things begin to go all down hill from there (course wise). After aid station #7 you are only a few miles from the finish.
Items to bring: For a list of items to bring to the race that will help you please refer to the FAQ's section of the North Country website.
Spectator areas: There are a total of 5 spectator areas for the marathon. The first is at the start/finish area and the others can be driven to by following the directions on the spectator/crew/pacer information also found on the FAQ page of the North Country website.
For any other information please refer to the North Country website.