Saturday, October 28, 2023 • Mackinac Island, MI • Course Map
The last open weekend of the tourist season is the time and the trails and hills of 1,800-acre Mackinac Island State Park are the setting for the Great Turtle Trail Half Marathon & 5.7-Mile Run/Walk, which sees more than 2,000 runners and walkers cross the finish line in all races combined each year.
An out-and-back trail run that takes participants around nearly the entire four square miles of the island, the race is unique both for its scenery as well as its isolated location — so there won’t be any auto traffic to contend with.
From the starting line at Mission Point Resort on the southern tip of the island, near the ferry docks, the race course takes runners up Lake Shore Road on the eastern side of the island near the shoreline, and then heads inland at the intersections with Shore Road and Scott’s Road.
Once on Scott’s Road, runners then begin a long counter-clockwise loop around the island, which takes them past the airport along State and Annex Roads down towards the waters of Lake Huron, along Lake View Boulevard and Huron Road.
Once participants make the turn around the southern part of the island, they begin the last few miles back up northward along Leslie Road, toward the intersection with Shore Road and Lake Shore Road, which takes them back to the finish line at Mission Point.
Throughout the race, the course is made up of a combination of paved roads and biking trails along the island’s interior, of which the trails are mostly gravel and occasionally dirt surface (though most of the course itself takes place on paved surfaces).
To allow runners and walkers who aren’t staying overnight on the island to catch the ferry over before the start — and to allow the weather to warm up some — the half marathon doesn’t start until 11:45 AM. Following the race, there’s a pasta dinner for all finishers and race volunteers.
Officially designated as a national park in 1875 — just the country’s second national park ever, after Yellowstone — Mackinac Island was later turned over to the state of Michigan and became its first state park. Perhaps its most popular natural attraction is the Arch Rock, the now-famous postcard-ready geologic formation on the island’s eastern shore.
Awards & Accolades
We ranked the Great Turtle Trail Run Half Marathon as one of the Most Fun Half Marathons of 2024.
Race Weather & Climate
Located just off the coast of the northernmost tip of Lower Michigan, just 50 miles from the border with Canada, the nearly 4-square-mile Mackinac Island typically sees cool to mild weather in October, which has brought record temperatures here as low as 20°F (in 1974) and as high as 79°F (in 2007).
On race day (Oct. 28), the average low is 37ºF and the average high is 50ºF.
- 2022 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2021 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2019 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2018 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2017 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2016 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2015 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2014 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2013 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2012 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 2011 Great Turtle Half Marathon Results
- 11:30 AM – 5.7 Mile Run & Walk
- 11:45 AM – half marathon
- $55 – $70 for the half marathon
To reserve your spot in the 2023 running of the Great Turtle Trail Run Half Marathon & 5.7-Mile, register online at EnMotive.com here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Great Turtle Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.