9th Annual Gaylord Half Marathon - A Guardian Gals INC. Making Change Event 2018 Overview

Only you can bring your SPARK to the 9th annual Gaylord Half Marathon, a Guardian Gals, Inc. Making Change Event. Guardian Gals, Inc. asks of all of us, “How far will YOU go? How much change will YOU make?” Support Guardian Gals, Inc. while contributing your energy to an exciting day of fitness & racing in Otsego County. Choose from one of four event distances (1/2 marathon, 10k, 5k, or 1 Mile) & enjoy a professionally run event around Otsego Lake during peak transitional color change in northern Michigan!


The vision of Guardian Gals, Inc. is to actively engage girls & women to ignite positive personal & societal change. Throughout the organization, members mutually empower & inspire one another to initiate personal, philanthropic, & civic action for the common good. The Guardian Gals, Inc. mission is carried out in community service projects, philanthropy, self care lessons & mentoring by area leaders.

TriToFinish is back for another go-round with the Guardian Gals of Gaylord for their 2018 Making Change Event! A beautiful half marathon course consisting of both paved and hard packed single track offers runners scenery as they circle Otsego Lake. 10k and 5k courses are along country roads at the height of the color season. If you’re looking for a quick jaunt or have young ones in need of a challenge, come on out & do the 1 mile fun run. This scenic half marathon is like no other in northern Michigan; it’s one lap, just ONE LAP, around Otsego Lake!

The Making Change Event is a way for Guardian Gals to offer a healthy, fun means of raising funds to support their efforts to bring positive change to the Gaylord region. Due to past generous support from participants & their sponsors & internal structural changes within our organization, Guardian Gals, Inc. is no longer requiring a mandatory charitable pledge fee, though we will of course continue to recognize/reward the efforts of those who go above & beyond & collect financial pledges via our notorious “Kindness Counts” prize raffle tickets. Guardian Gals, Inc. is excited to have matured financially into the position of offering an industry competitively priced ½ Marathon, 10k, 5k, & 1 Mile Run/Walk event for 2018!

This event benefits Guardian Gals, Inc. Learn More.

Tax-Deductible Pledges Paid To Guardian Gals, Inc:

This year, instead of mandatory pledge requirement, we are offering “Kindness Counts” ticket incentive for financial gifts pledged at Making Change Event.

The prizes most coveted by Making Change Event finishers are the thoughtful “Kindness Counts” prizes that participants have grown to love. This year, as Guardian Gals, Inc. strides to accommodate a plethora of participants & their varied interests, one “change” you will notice will be the elimination of a mandatory “Fundraising Pledge.” Along with this will be the awarding of “Kindness Counts” tickets ranging in number, based on fundraising efforts presented at check-in. Those 1Mile, 5k, 10k, & ½ Marathon runners who make it a point to go out & collect pledges to advance the lofty mission of Guardian Gals, Inc. will be rewarded with ONE “Kindness Counts” ticket per each $25 pledge they collect. That’s right, an extra special “Kindness Counts” designated zone of the main pavilion will be stocked full of prizes that will surely encourage positive personal or societal change for the recipient until we meet again at the 2018 Making Change Event!

Date:  October 13, 2018

Start Time:  8:00 AM

Location:  Ostego Lake County Park

Address:  1657 County Park Road, Gaylord, MI 49735

Course Description:

1Mile Course: Watch on Youtube

Scenic Loop Beginning & Ending @ County Park,Residential Neighborhoods,Quiet Back Roads Of Rural Northern Michigan Through Time of Seasonal Color Brilliance

5k Course: Watch on Youtube

Scenic Loop Beginning & Ending @ County Park,Residential Neighborhoods,Quiet Back Roads of Rural Northern Michigan Through Time of Seasonal Color Brilliance,Return to home base via "Hereafter Lane" Seasonal Road

10k Course: Watch on Youtube

Two Loops Of 5k Route (For Maximum Cheers)!!

1/2 Marathon:  Watch on Youtube

A long stretch of this course is on hard-pack 2 track trail. Incorporating Earthen & Paven Trail, One Lap Around Otsego Lake. Scenic Loop of Seasonal Color Brilliance Beginning & Ending @ County Park. Begin of Run through Residential NeighborhoodsRunning Clockwise Around Otsego Lake. Running Earthen Railroad Grade Entire East Side of Otsego Lake (for safety).  Elevation Challenges @ Mile 10, providing our very own "Heartbreak Hills,” like the Boston Marathon.

Race Start Times

  • 8:00 AM - Half Marathon Start

  • 9:00 AM - 10k Start

  • 9:45 AM - 5k Start

  • 10:00 AM - 1 Mile Start

Packet Pickup and Late Registration:

  • Friday October 12, 2018 5-7pm:  Guardian Gals, Inc. Headquarters @ 321 East Main Street, Gaylord, MI 49735

  • Saturday October 13, 2018 7:30-9am @ Otsego Lake County Park

Online Registration closes at Midnight, Thursday, October 11th, 2018. After that, ALL registrations will be completed on-site at late registration/packet pickup at increased rates. 

NOTE: Active.com charges a nominal fee to participants when registering. We just don’t want you to be surprised when you go to register online!


Event-specific t-shirts are guaranteed ONLY to those who register online before Noon on Friday, September 28TH! These shirts will be high quality and will be available in unisex, ladies cut, or youth sizes. All registrants who register after that date/time (including on-site) will receive an event beanie cap as long as supplies are available.

Shirt Sizes Available 

  • Small

  • Medium

  • Large

  • Extra Large

  • 2XL

  • Ladies Cut Small

  • Ladies Cut Medium

  • Ladies Cut Large

  • Ladies Cut Extra Large

  • Youth Small

  • Youth Medium

  • Youth Large

Note: Please keep in mind that Ladies Cut shirts generally run smaller than standard unisex t-shirts as they are designed to be somewhat form fitting. Participants will receive the size and type shirts ordered. Exchanges will be unavailable.


The Making Change Event is known for its wide array for prizes gifted to those who run in support of its mission.

  • Fastest male & female finisher of ½ Marathon each are awarded both custom ear buds from Advantage Audiology and Hearing Center & a check for $250 along with free entry to 2019 event

  • Each & every participant receives a high quality finisher medal at the finish line upon completion of his/her event

  • 1st Place male & female ½ M, 10k, 5k, & 1Mile finishers receive inspiring wall art for their homes from Old Spud Warehouse of Gaylord

  • Top 3 Overall Male & Female Winners of Half Marathon, 10K & 5K events will receive high quality custom plaques

  • Top 3 male & female finishers in each age group will receive an award

The prizes most coveted by Making Change Event finishers are the thoughtful “Kindness Counts” prizes (dynamic prizes that encourage positive personal or societal change in unique ways) available for every 1Mile, 5k, 10k, & Half Marathon runner who participates by walking or running the Making Change Event, with extra Kindness Counts tickets given to those who contribute additional pledges to advance the mission of Guardian Gals, Inc.


Interested in volunteering? All volunteers receive a cool, TriToFinish logo’d tech t-shirt courtesy of ATS Printing in Bay City, MI! Those interested in VOLUNTEERING, please contact Abby Hamilton at AbbyHamilton@GuardianGalsInc.org or 989.390.5749


We completely understand that plans change and athletes will sometimes be unable to compete in an event they've signed up for.  Unfortunately, refunds will not be provided for any event unless the event is cancelled for reasons within our control.  Dangerous weather, natural disasters, and local emergencies are examples of reasons an event may be cancelled that are NOT within our control.

Should an athlete have an injury or other medical issue keeping them from competing in an event they've registered for, we would be happy to transfer their registration to a similar TriToFinish-owned event up to and including the same event the following season.  A doctor's slip may be required as proof of injury or ailment.  Failure to provide proof if requested will result in non-transfer of the event.

Transferring registrations to other athletes is NOT allowed.


Athletes are encouraged to camp @ Otsego Lake County Park during this peak time of brilliant fall color in northern Michigan or to stay a mile up the road @ Gaylord's #1 Family Recreation Destination, Benjamin's Beaver Creek Resort. Additional lodging details can be found at Gaylord's Tourism Bureau


The Gaylord Half Marathon is a Guardian Gals Making Change Event!


  • 1/2 Marathon Run

  • 10K Run/Walk

  • 5K Run/Walk

  • 1 Mile Run/Walk

Note: There will be no competitive walk category.  Participants are free to run or walk as they'd like.


Non Tax-Deductible REGISTRATION Fees Paid Online:

Online Registrations:  *Before Thursday, October 11th Midnight

  • 1/2M - $55

  • 10k - $30

  • 5k - $25

  • 1Mile - $15

  • Youth (13 & Under) 1 Mile - $10

Late Registrations: Paid on-site at Check-In Registration

  • 1/2M - $70

  • 10k - $40

  • 5k - $35

  • 1Mile - $20

  • Youth (13 & Under) 1 Mile - $10