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 Race. 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 23rd 2014

How old is this race?
The marathon and ultra will celebrate their 15th year this year while the half marathon will celebrate its 5th year.

What are the starting times?
Marathon - 7:00 am
Ultra - 7:30 am
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. New in 2012 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?
Yes, 14 hours; so you must be able to finish by 9:40pm. 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 just like with GPS's the 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?
No.

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?
Yes, but you must decide prior to July 1st 2014 by notifying us via email at info@northcountryrun.com AND if there is still available space in that particular distance. If you do not receive a response from us by August 20th you will need to call us at the number listed on the bottom of this website to confirm we received your change. You must pay the difference prior to the start of the race if you move up in distance.

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?
No, only if you have rented a hotel room, cabin, or reserved a spot with the fish in the local stream. Last year many participants went for a dip in the river located within 5 minutes driving distance of the race.

When does registration open?
It is open now and will end on August 20th (no exceptions) meaning their 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.

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 3 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 21st from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 23rd from 5:00 a.m. to the start of each race 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 two locations you may drop bags for your race. When you arrive race day, there will be two tarps. One is labeled "course drop bags" and the other is labeled "finish line drop bags." Your course drop bags will be taken out on the course to mile 13 (13 and 38 for the ultra) which is also aid station #4. 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 to crew point 4 are listed above.

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 2014 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?
Our 2014 Hotel Partner is the beautiful McGuire's Resort in Cadillac, which is about an easy 30 minute drive to the race start/finish area. Rooms are as low as $80.00 if you mention you are running North Country when making your reservation. Click here. For other options and 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 65 to 75 F. At night, it generally drops about 15 to 30 degrees from what it was during the day. Clear nights are usually cooler than cloudy ones. In 2011 we had perfect weather with temps in the 70's and it had sprinkled the night before to dampen any dusty trails as you ran the course.

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 aid station 4 for the ultra and marathon. 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 3 for each as much as often as possible and give out awards if they fall after these times. We give out custom made bottles of wine for our age group awards and it is to difficult to mail these so we are asking that you try to stick around for the awards ceremonies as much as possible. After the race we will try to do our best to get the awards to you, but do not guarantee if you are out of state.

If I would like to volunteer how can I do that?
The race is put on with more than 100 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.

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