Picture it; Sicily, 1929…..oops, wrong review.
On a cloudy/rainy day, I round the turn on Beach Drive to be welcomed by a beautiful beach dwarfed by Lake Michigan. Today, I am in Muskegon, Michigan for the ForeShore Adventure Run. This was my 2nd year attempting to attack the beach. A day at the beach they said; you'll have fun they said……and that I did. Flying solo as my wife and young baby stayed dry at home, as I battled the elements and the beach. However, as I prepped for the event, I adorned my arm with my son Kellan's name; as he does in every event. This goes in conjunction with the blue stripe down my left eye indicating my support for my great friend battling mesothelioma. His courage gives me the strength to tackle any obstacle.
Located at the beautiful Pere Marquette beach in Muskegon, Michigan; was today's event. The parking was very convenient as it was located directly across the street from the venue. The registration area was straightforward and well laid out. A registration tent also housed a key drop and a merch area with the events clothing present. T-shirts and sweatshirts were the fares for the day, and with the rain; a hat or two would have flown off the racks. An addition this year of the “runners’ oasis” was a welcoming sight; especially in light of the current weather conditions; providing respite for the competitors. Keeping with a family theme, there was also a separate children’s area where they could race; complete with obstacles akin to the full-size versions out on the course.
The race was 5k in length with a trip there and back down the beach. Did I mention we were running on sand? Did I say running on sand is incredibly HARD?!? A secondary challenge unlike most other races; the sand quickly took its toll on your legs and calves. Just to ensure you had an early dose of it; the race directors added a few dunes to climb as to separate the herd and remind you that the beach was the one in charge today. The obstacles were well-spaced and well-constructed. A few walls of varying height came early and made for an exciting challenge as launching off the sand made for an additional struggle.
The use of “a day at the beach” items were incorporated in many of the obstacles. Large, inflated beach balls, bungee cord, and pool noodles all found their way into the obstacle designs. A great way to tie in the event and to remind you that you are still at the beach. And what is a run on the beach without water? Not necessarily the lake itself, but incorporated into a few of the obstacles on the final leg back to the finish. And the water was quite cold, just for good measure.
The final obstacle, as the competitors were struggling with the toll the sand took on them, was to be rewarded with a water slide. Keeping the theme of being a kid at the beach, we slid down into a pool of water for that final dash to the finish. Along with the finish came a bevy of post-race recovery items. Bananas, water, and chocolate milk were available for all those who challenged themselves on the sand this day.
For an event unlike any other OCR I have ever participated in; my hat is off to the entire crew putting on the Foreshore Adventure Run. Not only did they utilize the natural terrain; they used an assortment of items that kept the beach theme while creating a challenge. Another heartwarming aspect of the event is that a majority of the proceeds go to the benefit of the Muskegon Rescue Mission's homeless shelters and food pantries. OCR is full of amazing people; all willing to give back to those less fortunate, and it is a significant component of why I love the sport so much. Amazing volunteers adorned every mile of the course, with a helping hand and words of encouragement. All skill levels are challenged on this course, and everyone should most certainly look to add it to their race schedules.
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