GRA cancels 10K race but plans to conduct 5K portion of the annual event
‘We plan to race, with modifications,’ according to Grayling Recreation Authority
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling Recreation Authority announced on Tuesday, June 16, that it is cancelling the 10K portion of its annual GRA 10K/5K but the 5K will proceed as planned with some possible adjustments to allow for social distancing.
“We plan to race, with modifications,” according to Grayling Recreation Authority. “Wave starts may be implemented to comply with social distancing guidelines.”
The GRA 10K/5K is held every year on the Saturday of the AuSable River Canoe Marathon. The AuSable Marathon – a 120-mile nonstop race from Grayling to Oscoda – has been cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grayling Recreation Authority added the 5K race to the annual 10K event in 2014 due to requests from participants for a shorter option. The addition of the 5K option gave the event an immediate surge in participation.
The GRA 10K/5K had 173 runners in 2014, 169 finishers in 2015, more than 180 people in 2016, 140 runners in 2017, more than 160 finishers in 2018, and close to 150 runners last year.
The GRA 10K/5K has had a few different courses over the last several years.
In 2002 through 2009 the 10K course started and ended at Grayling High School’s track and utilized part of the Grayling Bicycle Turnpike, a paved path for nonmotorized traffic.
In 2010, organizers moved the GRA 10K back into town to be closer to AuSable River Festival events. The race started and ended near Grayling Middle School in 2010 through 2015.
In 2016, due to road construction projects in town, Grayling Recreation Authority had to move the 10K/5K. Event organizers opted for Hanson Hills Recreation Area, GRA’s base of operation, for the venue change. It was intended as a temporary switch, but participants liked the new course, and race organizers decided to keep the 10K/5K at Hanson Hills.
Last year, for the 5K (3.1-mile) course, runners went out of Hanson Hills, left onto Old Lake Road, right onto M-93, right onto the sidewalk along M-72, right onto Old Lake Road at Northbound Outfitters, and then back to Hanson Hills Recreation Area to finish the loop. This year’s 5K will feature the same course.
Justin Andre, Director of Operations for Grayling Recreation Authority, said GRA has been working with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department while making its plan for the race, and the department gave organizers the “thumbs up” to have the 5K event.
“We’re trying to still hold the event, no frills,” Andre said.
Runners can register for the 2020 GRA 5K online at https://runsignup.com/Race/MI/Grayling/GRA5K
Registration fee is $20.
“T-shirts will be guaranteed to all pre-registered by July 15,” according to GRA. “All participants are entered to win a pair of Brooks running shoes.”
Andre said the event will offer race day registration (from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.) but he’s hoping runners will register via the runsignup.com website in order to limit personal contact and transfer of money.
“I’d like for everybody, if they can, to sign up online,” Andre said.
Race day registration fee is $25.
The race will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, at Hanson Hills. The event will also feature a Fun Walk.
Andre said he’s not sure what kind of numbers to expect this year, and he’s not sure about awards. He didn’t order the usual awards due to the uncertainty of being able to have the event.
“I’m still working on awards, if I want to do awards or not do awards,” Andre said.
Organizers opted to proceed with the 5K event option due to the small number of volunteers required for the smaller race.
“Keeping them distant, trying to keep them safe,” Andre said.
Andre said “things could change in a month” and the event may have to cancelled altogether if there is a second wave of COVID-19 and restrictions are put back into place.