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May 11

Gaylord, MI

9th Annual Gaylord Half Marathon - A Guardian Gals INC. Making Change Event 2019 Overview

TriToFinish is back for another go-round with the Guardian Gals of Gaylord for their 2019 Gaylord Half Marathon! Renovation to North Central Trail & internal challenges to Guardian Gals, Inc. caused disappointing postponement of 2018 scheduled race & inspired change of date & internal restructuring for this annually held event. A beautiful half marathon course consisting of both paved and hard packed peat gravel offers runners scenery as they circle Otsego Lake. 10k and 5k courses are along country roads at the onset of seasonal reawakening. 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!


Date:  May 11, 2019

Start Time:  8:00 AM

Location:  Ostego Lake County Park

Address:  1657 County Park Road, Gaylord, MI 49735


1 MILE COURSE: Watch on Youtube

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

5K COURSE: Watch on Youtube

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



This point-to-point event is sure to become the region’s most popular 10k adventure!  New this year, racers will be trolleyed out to the start at northeast edge of Otsego Lake State Park campground.  Once runners exit State Park, course shall merge with fully paved stretch of Half Marathon route on small residential roads running parallel to South Old 27 (south), then Mancelona Road (west), & West Otsego Lake Drive (north) back to finish line. Runners can expect a fast and scenic race with hill climb of Gaylord’s breathtaking “heartbreak hill” at Mile 4, then enjoy gentle decline in terrain to finish line & should plan accordingly for trolley transport to starting line.  10k participation may become limited, should trolley transport become overcrowded, but at this time, space is available!

NOTE:  10k race start will be in northeast corner of Otsego Lake STATE PARK with Northern Michigan Trolley shuttling runners at 8:10am, 8:25am, 8:40am from Otsego Lake COUNTY PARK to starting line at Otsego Lake STATE PARK.  10k runners will share 2nd half of half marathon route with half marathon runners, offering invigorating competitive insurgence of energy for half marathoners finishing their race!


NOTE: Due to the possibility of setbacks to the Iron Belle Trail Extension of North Central Trail,  Gaylord Half Marathon will need to rely on a Plan B Route. Should the grande reopening of pathway not take place prior to our May 11th Gaylord Half Marathon race date, please note the following two course routes:

1/2 MARATHON COURSE A: Watch on Youtube

Incorporating Paven & Leveled Earthen North Central Pathway, One Lap - Just ONE Lap - Around Otsego Lake, Scenic Loop of Seasonal Color Brilliance Beginning & Ending @ County Park, Begin of Run through Residential Neighborhoods
 Running Clockwise Around Otsego Lake,
 Running Newly Renovated Peat Stone North Central Trail/Iron Belle Shared Use Pathway (Formerly Earthen Railroad Grade) Entire East Side of Otsego Lake ,
 Elevation Challenges @ Mile 10, providing us our very own "Heartbreak Hills,” like Boston Marathon 


Utilizing Out & Back Format, participants will run along West Otsego Lake Drive (south), Mancelona Road (east), through Otsego Lake south end marina residential neighborhood, to South Old 27 (north) with turn around, merging with 10k Runners just beginning their race, offering invigorating competitive insurgence of energy for half marathon final 6 miles.  Half Marathon & 10k runners will share 2nd half return trek from Otsego Lake State Park to Otsego Lake County Park, with Half Marathoners conquering “Heart Break Hill,” not once, but a second time on northbound return to Otsego Lake County Park!


  • Packet Pick-Up/Late Registration/Spaghetti Dinner* - Friday May 10th, 2019 6-8:00pm at

    Otsego Grand Event Center, 610 South Wisconsin Avenue Gaylord, MI 49735

    Otsego Grand Event Center

    Spaghetti Dinner Cost: $13 per person (including tax and gratuity) - NOTE: Tickets must be pre-purchased.  Tickets will not be sold at door this year. Click HERE to pre-purchase!


  • Packet Pick-Up/Late Registration* - Saturday May 11th, 2019 7-9:00am at Otsego Lake County Park, 1657 County Park Road Gaylord, MI 49735  (Look for the blue TriToFinish Spider Tent)

*Online Registration closes at Midnight on Thursday, May 9th, 2019.  After that, ALL registrations will be completed on-site at packet pickup/late registration at an increased rate.

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


  • 8:00 AM - Half Marathon Start


  • 9:45 AM - 5k Start

  • 10:00 AM - 1 Mile Start


Event-specific t-shirts are guaranteed ONLY to those who register online before Noon on Friday, April 26th! These shirts will be high quality and will be available in mens, ladies cut, or youth sizes.  All registrants who register after that date/time will be provided with a Gaylord Half Marathon hat if event-specific shirts are unavailable on site.

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 5K, 10K and Half Marathon Run events will be timed and results posted in accordance with USATF sanctioning requirements. Prizes awarded based on gun start and chip finish times.
5K, 10K and Half Marathon Age Groups/Divisions:

  • 9 & Under

  • 10-14

  • 15-19

  • 20-24

  • 25-29

  • 30-34

  • 35-39

  • 40-44

  • 45-49

  • 50-54

  • 55-59

  • 60-64

  • 65-69

  • 70-74

  • 75-79

  • 80 & Over


Gaylord Half Marathon is known for its wide array for prizes gifted to those who run in support of its mission for inspiring positive personal & societal change.

  • FASTEST OVERALL male & female finisher of ½ Marathon are awarded custom earbuds from Advantage Audiology and Hearing Center.

  •  FASTEST MASTER’S DIVISION OVERALL male & female finisher of ½ Marathon are awarded custom earbuds from Advantage Audiology & Hearing Center.

  • FASTEST OVERALL male & female finishers in each event will receive inspiring wall art from Old Spud Warehouse of Gaylord & finisher’s Prize Purse in following amounts:

    • 1/2M - $250 Check & Free Entry to 2020 Event  

    • 10k - $125 Check & Free Entry to 2020 Event

    • 5k - $75 Check & Free Entry to 2020 Event

    • 1 Mile - $25 Check & Free Entry to 2020 Event

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

  • TOP 3 OVERALL Male & Female Winners of Half Marathon, 10K and 5K events will receive high quality custom plaques.

  • Age Group Awards 3 Deep for Half Marathon, 10K and 5K events

  • And the prizes most coveted by Making Change Event finishers are the 4 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.

    More Regarding Kindness Counts Prizes:

    And the prizes most coveted by Making Change Event finishers are the thoughtful “Kindness Counts” prizes 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 2020 Gaylord Half Marathon Making Change Event!


  • 11:00am  Post-Race Awards, Kindness Counts Prizes & Food Truck Rally Celebration

  • Race Day “Show Your Medal” Hospitality, Downtown Gaylord

  • Sunday, May 12th 7-9am Complimentary Morning Coffee & Newspaper- Gaylord Starbucks, 1060 West Main Street (231) 350-9161  

  • Sunday, May 12th 9-10am Mother’s Day Reboot-Recovery Post Half Marathon Yoga Class - Yoga-45, 148 West Main Street

    (989) 350-4660  Additional Cost: $10.00 per participant  

  • Sunday, May 12th Mother’s Day FUNDAY Brunch - Belle Iron Grille, 4029 Old 27 South (989)448.7333  Call Belle Iron Grille for reservations. 


Participants and attendees will be directed to boat launch parking area at Otsego Lake County Park.  Guardian Gals, Inc. will pay park admittance fee, if there should be one at entrance.


Runners are encouraged to stay at Gaylord Half Marathon preferred hotel, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, 826 Carpenter Street with discounted rate, through preferred guest reserved room block

Athletes are encouraged to camp at Otsego Lake County Park - site of Gaylord Half Marathon - or to stay a mile up the road at Gaylord's #1 Family Recreation Destination, Benjamin's Beaver Creek Resort.

Additional lodging details can be found at Gaylord's Tourism Bureau


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 or 989.390.5749



  • 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, May 9th at Midnight

  • 1/2M - $48

  • 10k - $38

  • 5k - $28

  • 1Mile - $15

  • Youth (13 & Under) 1 Mile - $10

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

  • 1/2M - $58

  • 10k - $48

  • 5k - $38

  • 1Mile - $20

  • Youth (13 & Under) 1 Mile - $10

Tax-Deductible Pledges Paid To Guardian Gals, Inc:

This year, instead of a mandatory pledge requirement, we are offering “Kindness Counts” ticket incentive for financial gifts pledged at Making Change Event.  Learn more under the Awards section of this page.

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  • Exciting 10K route new for 2019 event!

  • Additional food trucks added for quicker service of delicious warm food!!

  • Extensive course improvements have been created via $2,938,000 eleven mile North Central Trail extension project, positively enhancing Gaylord Half Marathon’s naturally beautiful & scenic eastern run corridor with professionally leveled 10 foot wide crushed limestone pathway!!!

More info on Iron Belle Trail extension of North Central Trail HERE

  • Scenic & hospitable spaces to host starting & finishing areas with gracious welcome of Otsego Lake County Park & Otsego Lake State Park!!!!

More info on Otsego Lake County Park HERE

More info on Otsego Lake State Park HERE

GAYLORD HALF MARATHON, 10k, 5k, & 1 Mile Fun Run


Founded in 2010 with purpose of imprinting lofty mindset upon hearts of its participants, Guardian Gals, Inc. organizers boldly ask, “How much will you grow?  How much change will you make?” Gaylord Half Marathon promises good vibes for all & is quickly becoming a “must run” bucket list item & memorable destination race for runners throughout the Midwest & beyond, with past runners traveling from as far as Brazil, South America!  Gaylord Half Marathon challenges participants to make taking one lap- JUST ONE LAP- around Gaylord’s Otsego Lake a thought in this new year ahead!

Runners who have experienced this professionally run Making Change Event, hosted by Guardian Gals, Inc. of Gaylord, return year after year to enjoy the KINDNESS COUNTS vibe & breathtaking scenic courses which overlook the shores of beautiful Otsego Lake. Gaylord Half Marathon events feature 1 Mile Fun Run, 5k, 10K, & half marathon routes, with a special 10k course improvement this year to feature Northern Michigan Trolley transport for 10k runners, 6.2 miles back from half marathon route shared finish line. Gaylord Half Marathon races, previously offered in time of peak color change in October, will now be held as a late spring Mother’s Day weekend race tradition, with Saturday, May 11th date now announced for 2019!

Recognized fondly for decades as a recreation seekers paradise, Gaylord, Michigan, literally offers something for everyone. With growing trend of destination marathons & half marathons in our nation- our seasoned Gaylord Half Marathon, located in the exact center of Northern Michigan on the 45th parallel, seconds from I-75, is sure to see impressive growth in upcoming years. Weekend Title Sponsor, Gaylord Tourism Bureau welcomes participants of all ages & abilities to explore all that is outdoors, here in Gaylord. Partnering business sponsors in the Gaylord area extend open arms, high-fives & exciting messages of welcome to the mothers, daughters, sisters… fathers, sons, brothers… heck, the entire neighborhoods who contribute their SPARK of energy to this exciting weekend of fitness & racing in Otsego County! All are welcome to GET OUTDOORS here in the fresh northern Michigan air the second weekend in May, making Gaylord, Michigan a Mother’s Day weekend tradition for years to come! 

The vision of host organization, Guardian Gals, Inc., is for members to mutually empower & inspire one another to initiate positive personal, philanthropic, & civic stewardship. 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.

The Gaylord Half Marathon Making Change Event is a way for Guardian Gals, Inc. 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 organization, Guardian Gals, Inc. is no longer requiring mandatory charitable pledge fee, but will of course continue to recognize/reward the efforts of those who go above & beyond & collect financial pledges via notorious “Kindness Counts” prize raffle tickets. Guardian Gals, Inc. is excited to have matured financially into the position of continuing to offer industry competitively priced Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, & 1 Mile Run/Walk event for 2019! 

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

This event benefits Guardian Gals, Inc. Learn More.


TriToFinish will be challenging racers to devise their very own specialized WORD OF INTENT, which will be used as individualized, unique, & inspiring FINISHING FACTS for each racer as they cross the finish line. Here are five things to consider before deciding one’s WORD OF INTENT: 

1. Take moment to reflect & be self-aware.

For many, each year represents a clean slate to accomplish a new set of goals. As we enter this new year, ask yourself these  20 questionswhich can set you up mentally to achieve your goals in this new year ahead. This exercise also can help you identify patterns that can lead to your word. Want to make more money in the new year? Want to introduce a new product? If most of your answers point in a certain direction, then choose a word to remind you of what's most important in the new year and stick with it.

2. Visualize your word.

Some individuals create Vision Boards. Armed with dozens of magazines & ephemera, they gather images, phrases, & words that they want to channel more of in the new year. Similar to the reflection exercise, more often than not a pattern emerges & a WORD OF INTENT, your word of the year becomes more obvious.

3. Brainstorm.

Sometimes our word is harder to come by or isn't as obvious. In this case, brainstorm words that mean something to you or help get you to a place where your mind is less cluttered. Whenever we need to clear our head or need inspiration, we do things like take the dog for a walk or find some green space or return to our yoga mat.  We might jot down greenery, dog, walk, air, breathe, yoga, connection, peace, calm… you get the picture. It's a bit of a mind mapping process & thinking through times & places that matter to you can help you discover your word of the year.

4. Narrow your options.

Once you've come up with a few words you really love &  feel like they can carry you through the year, narrow them down to just five or three words & let them sit with you for a day or week. Usually when we come up with our word, we just know it's our word. Still, we stay with it for a few days to make sure it reflects what we truly want to happen in the new year. Sometimes the word we think would be the oneturns into a different, albeit similar, one. You should be in no hurry to come up with your word but it's important to be mindful of the process because the word is meant to help you.

5. Tell others & test your word.

For some, simply announcing the word to others helps them own it themselves. Similar to how people share their goals with others to help them stay accountable, sharing your WORD OF INTENT  with friends & family lets them know what matters most to you in the new year & they might even help you achieve it. 


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.