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Bayshore Marathon 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo
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The 37th Annual Bayshore Marathon is happening tomorrow – Saturday, May 25. This annual race is the largest event of the Traverse City Track Club.

Some 7,200 runners will be on the road, and Bayshore organizers encourage Old Mission Peninsula (OMP) residents to come out and cheer on the runners as they realize the goals of their hard work.

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As always, a portion of Old Mission Peninsula roads along the race will be closed, although emergency personnel will be stationed along the race route should any OMP residents or racers need to be transported.

The Races and OMP Road Closures

There are three separate races that day. Here’s what that means for road closures for OMP residents:

Full Marathon: This race, capped at 1800 runners for 2019, begins at 7:15 a.m. at Northwestern Michigan College, continuing along the shores of East Grand Traverse Bay to Birchwood Drive, East Shore Road, Center Road (M37) and Bluff Road. Runners will turn around just before they get to Boursaw Road (in front of Ann and Howard Fouch’s former house for longtime OMPers) and head back along the same course to Traverse City. Most runners make that turn-around at about 10 a.m., so by 11 a.m. to noon, the stretch of Bluff Road from Boursaw Road to Blue Water Road should be somewhat clear.

Half Marathon: This race, capped at 3400 runners for 2019, begins at 7:30 a.m. on Devil’s Dive Road and continues to Seven Hills Road, east to Center Road, south to Blue Water Road and east to Bluff Road, where it will join the Marathon course following Bluff Road, Center Road and East Shore Road back to Traverse City. By around 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Devil’s Dive Road and that portion of Center Road and Blue Water Road will have no runners; Blue Water, however, will still be closed to those coming in and out of Bluff Road.

10K: This race, capped at 2000 runners for 2019, starts at 7:30 a.m. at Northwestern Michigan College, following the above course for the Marathon. Runners will turn around at about the three-mile marker (the intersection of Henderson Road and East Shore Road) and head back to Traverse City.

Roads impacted by the race include neighborhood roads around Northwestern Michigan College, Birchwood Drive, East Shore Road, Bluff Road, Blue Water Road and Devil’s Dive Road. Do not plan on traveling on these roads by vehicle during the times noted above for each race.

Additionally, Center Road from McKinley Road to Island View Road will be closed. By noon to 1 p.m., most of these roads should be clear of runners. Devil’s Dive to Center Road and Blue Water Road should be clear by 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

If you need to get to town in the morning and have access to Peninsula Drive, that’s the way to go.

View a map of the 2019 Bayshore Marathon course here.

This year’s event also features a 1.2-mile Kids Marathon that begins at 2 a.m. at NMC and winds through campus. The course for kids aged K – 5th grade is limited to 1000 participants.

Emergency Personnel Along the Route

The Traverse City Track Club contracts with Peninsula Township Fire and Rescue for their services, and there is a detailed plan to attend to any emergencies that occur on the course roads during the race.

The roads will be accessible by ambulances, and residents who know in advance they will need to get in and out of the roads should contact [email protected] and [email protected].

TC Track Club Awards Community/OMP Grants 

The Traverse City Track Club has awarded more than $1.6 million in grants and scholarships to the community since their grants program launched in 2007. Their goal is to support non-profit projects which align with its mission to encourage running and walking to promote health, enhanced fitness, family recreation and competition for all.

Specific to the Old Mission Peninsula, the club has given nearly $10,000 to the Peter Dougherty Society and $1500 to the Old Mission Peninsula School PTO for their walking track. Additionally, each year, $1 per Bayshore runner (maximum of $5000), goes to Peninsula Township.

Last year, the club awarded a grant of $25,000 to help with the expansion of Bowers Harbor Park, with funds going to help build the one-mile walking/running trail.

The Old Mission Women’s Club has baked cookies for the race for many years, and the money received for those cookies goes directly into the club’s charitable account. The club then awards grants to local nonprofits who apply each year.

The Traverse City Track Club also has a roster of dedicated volunteers, with one volunteer for every five runners, notes Lisa Taylor, executive director of the Traverse City Track Club. Community groups with 501(c)(3) designations who man the aid stations along the course are paid, with that money going directly into their organization. Peninsula Community Library is one of those groups.

More than $20,000 was paid to the groups, collectively, for last year’s race.

Grants Awarded to High School/College Students

Additionally, the Traverse City Track Club awards college scholarships to select high school seniors and college students for their academic achievement. While demonstrating involvement with running as a high school or college student or through participation in organized running events, these recipients have shown leadership and engagement in their communities.

The scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors or current college students from Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau Counties. These “TCTC Scholars” each receive between $1,000 and $2,000 to pursue higher education at colleges and universities across the nation.

Clean-Up Crew on the Job

Taylor adds that the Track Club’s clean-up crew is on the job as soon as the race is over. “We try to make the Peninsula even cleaner than it was before our big event each Memorial Day Weekend,” she says.

The Traverse City Track Club was founded in 1962. For more information, visit their website,

For more information about the Bayshore Marathon, contact Lisa Taylor, [email protected], (231) 631-2195, or visit their website.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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