A day at the beach.  Normally that sentiment will drum up fun in the sun; with family and friends enjoying a day on the sand.  Today was a different twist on “a day at the beach”.  Today was the ForeShore Adventure Run in Muskegon, Michigan.  Located directly on Pere Marquette Beach, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan; was to be a challenge unlike anything else I’ve experienced.

The day was a semi-overcast, breezy day on the shores of Lake Michigan.  This was the first 5k event I have ever attempted that was located on the sand.  Sand.  An innocuous word on its own; conjuring up different images in everyone’s mind.  Today, it was to be the catalyst for a very fun/challenging event.

Right from the start, the event appealed to me not only for its uniqueness; but for how it epitomizes everything I love about the sport.  The largest component is giving back.  In the OCR community, we always say that if people treated each other like we do on race day, the world would be a better place.  This event held true to that mantra by donating race entries to aid in the Muskegon Rescue mission providing for homeless shelters and food pantries.  Each entry allowed for 20 meals for those in need.

Parking/Registration/Event area:

The parking was ample and right across the street from the beach.  No need to park and hike all the way to the main event area.  I was unable to identify if there was a bag drop area, so it was my key in a Ziplock tossed in the bib pocket for me.  The registration tent was well marked and easy to locate direct across from the parking.  The main event area was right next to it, directly on the beach.  The event allowed for a competitive wave, and open waves following approximately every 15-20 minutes to allow for good spacing.  The start/finish lines were separate, but very near to one another.  A trip down and back again.

The Course:

Did I mention sand?  Sand was the great equalizer on this course.  From the seasoned athlete to the youngest bright-eyed child; the sand will temper everyone.  Each step was a lesson in lower leg control.  The 5k traveled down the beach and back again.  The beach/course was in beautiful condition, with a great white-sand beach.  While working my down the course, I had to take a moment to admire the scenery that was unfolding around me.  The majority of the course was directly on the sand, with a few brief respites of concrete and sand grass underfoot.


The Obstacles:

ForeShore wasted no time in introducing the competitors to the sand.  4-5 large sand dunes had been excavated to challenge you right after the start.  This was also well-planned as it helped to space out the runners early on.  A set of 2 wall challenges, either the tall or short.  Normally, the taller wall would be a good challenge, however; leaping off of sand added to the challenge of getting over the obstacle.  Progressing down the beach led to a number of crawling obstacles to further test your cardo conditioning.

And what would a beach be without an inflatable obstacle?  A combination of inflated climbs and slides brought the beach into perspective.  At the halfway point, a set of stairs/ramps wound upwards back up towards the main road.  Normally, this would prove another challenge during an event; but today it allowed for solid footing to propel the runners forward.  Making the turn allowed for a face first slide down a dune to the water's edge.

The final stretch home added obstacles, and then the introduction of water.  The day was fairly warm, and the water reminded you of how it can add a new level of challenge as it was quite cold.  A set of hand rungs suspended from large telephone poles positioned across two dunes with water underneath added a great challenge for old and young alike.  The final obstacles traversed up a dune to a water slide.  The welcome relieve of moving down the course without effort was a great pre-finish relief.  The final stretch to the finish line ended at home base with a medal and a chocolate milk chaser.

Overall, I would like to commend the event coordinators, volunteers, and everyone involved.  Not only for a great course but for the ability to offer the event and help people during the process.  The event was a great opportunity for all age groups and abilities.  Well laid out, well planned, and greatly executed.  The ForeShore Adventure run truly put a new definition to “a day at the beach”


Overall Score:  4.5/5


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