Part of a weekend-long series of events known as the Big Ticket Festival, a Christian-themed music festival that takes place here in central Michigan every summer in late June, the Big Run for the One Half Marathon, 5K and one-mile fun run is co-sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and follows a 13.1-mile course that finishes at the Ionia Fair Grounds.
From the starting line just south of Ionia's downtown, which lies just blocks from the winding Ionia River that flows right past the city, runners head east along Main Street for roughly half a mile before turning on Mill Street, which leads them south to the entrance to the Ionia River Trail. Here, runners turn left and head east onto the river trail, following it for roughly the next mile and a half -- and across the bridge over the Ionia River itself -- over to East Riverside Drive.
Once they've made their way across the river, runners next head south along Quarry Road to Riverside Drive, and then make a brief run along Riverside before turning onto Bugbee Road. This brings runners along what is probably the steepest uphill stretch of the race, between miles 2 and 3, and which also begins the big loop stretch in the middle portion of the half marathon, which takes runners by turns onto Croel Road, Guernsy Road, Clyde Road, Sunfield Highway, Tuttle Road, Frank Road, Kingston Road and Kingston Farm Lane for the last part of the loop.
After completing the loop portion, runners then head back down the uphill stretch they ran earlier in the course, heading downhill along Quarry Road and back across the river to meet up once again with the Ionia River Trail. They'll cross the river and retrace their steps along the part of the trail they ran in the race's first couple of miles, but instead of turning right onto Mill Road to head back to the starting line, they continue on along the river trail all the way west toward Dexter Street.
As runners near Dexter Street, the course takes them under the bridge that crosses over the river and then makes an immediate right, to head north up toward the Ionia Fair Grounds for the race finish. All races in the event start at 8:00 AM.
Weather & Climate
Located roughly midway between (and slightly north of) Grand Rapids and Lansing in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, Ionia typically sees mild to moderately warm and occasionally quite warm weather in June, when the city's average monthly temperatures range between 78°F and 56°F. On the day of the race (June 25), the average high is 80°F and the average low is 58°F, while rainfall totals average just over 3.6 inches for the month.
$40 for the half marathon, if registered by February 28, 2011
$45 between March 1 - May 31
$50 after May 31
To reserve your spot in the early summer 2011 running of Ionia's FCA Big Run for the One Half Marathon, 5K or one-mile fun run, register online at Active.com.
Half Marathon Course Map
Leave a Comment or Review the FCA Big Run for the One Half Marathon >>
Ever run in Michigan's annual FCA Big Run for the One Half Marathon?
impressions and read fellow runners' stories and tips for the event.