Town Crier runs add half-marathon, festival June 17-18
By Scott Sullivan
Saugatuck’s Town Crier Runs are expanding to include a half-marathon, Douglas finish, dog walk and craft beer festival June 17 and 18.
The 15th annual 10K and 5K (6.2 and 3.1 miles respectively) road runs — held as benefits for Saugatuck High School track and cross-country programs — will join local businessman Peter Gower’s first-year Michigan Art Coast Half Marathon (13.1 miles) starting that Saturday from the high school and ending at Douglas’ aptly-named Beery Field. A kids fun run will start and end at Beery that day as well.
In past years the Town Crier races started and ended in downtown Saugatuck. Sponsors voiced enthusiasm for involving both cities, the new half-marathon and festival at the finish.
The first Michigan Art Coast Craft Beer, Art & Food Festival will continue at the downtown park on Sunday, when the dog walk is also planned.
Gower — a wine, spirits and foods professional who plans to open an art gallery, The Pallette, this spring on Center Street across from Beery — first pitched the idea of a new run/festival to Douglas City Council last November.
Based on race management firms, spirits industry and other contacts he has, Gower said such a festival could draw close to 1,200 participants and 2,000 visitors to the area on an early-summer season weekend.
Apprised his target dates might conflict with this year’s Town Crier Runs, Gower agreed to join forces with its sponsors.
“I moved to Douglas a year ago, love it and hope to retire here,” said Gower, who estimates he has run more than 40 marathons.
“There’s a great running culture here, as witness our state-champion school teams,” he went on. “We want to support them while encouraging fitness and fun for everyone.”
Although race routes are still being finalized, start times and entry fees have been set.
The half-marathon, which will start that Saturday at 8 a.m., will cost $60 for those who register before April 28, $65 from then through May 31 and $70 afterwards.
The 8:15 a.m. 10K will cost $30 before April 28, $35 from then through the end of May and $40 afterwards.
The 8:30 a.m. 5K entry fee is $20 through April 28, $25 from then until May 31 and $30 afterwards.
Corresponding fees for the 9 a.m. kids fun run will be $10, $15 and $20.
Fees for the dog walk, which will start Sunday at 11:30 a.m., are $30 before April 28, $35 from then until May 31 and $40 afterwards.
The craft beer, art and food festival will run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
For more information about weekend fun, sign-up, volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit towncrierrace.org or michiganartcoast.org.