Q.  What's the big deal about The Hungerford Games? 

The Games are unique in many ways, but the biggest difference is that we've made an incredible effort to provide racers with a uniquely arboreal experience.  A trail race in Michigan in September should be a celebration of the woods, and that's exactly what The Hungerford Games are.  Medals will be cut from local found wood, and finishers' medals are wooden medals hand-branded with the HG logo.  As far as we know, no race on the planet does this. 

As is the case in many races, the top three finishers from each gender in each race will receive a trophy--but in The Hungerford Games, the trophies are hand-carved out of local found wood.  Ultramarathoners who finish before sunset will receive a walking stick which--you guessed it--is made from local found wood, and which can be "notched" upon the successful completion of another Hungerford Ultra. 

Want to find out for yourself?  Sign up today!

Q.  When and where? 

Registration and the Pre-Race Expo will take place at PT Plus at 15200 220th Ave., Big Rapids, MI 49307.  It will take place on Friday, September 28th, from 5:00-8:00, and on Race Day from 6:15 until 8:45.  At least one Race Director will be on hand at all times on during Friday's packet pickup to answer questions.    

All races are on Saturday, September 29th, 2018. 

The ultramarathon kicks off precisely at sunrise, which (at 43.695 degrees North and 85.529 degrees West) is at precisely 7:37.  Ultramarathoners will have until sunset (7:29) to finish the course if they want to earn their hiking stick.

The half marathon will be the next to take off; their gun will go off at 8:15.  Starting the half marathon before the marathon helps alleviate pressure on our volunteers.

The marathon will begin at 9:00. 

  • Half Marathon: Final Shuttle: 8:00
  • Marathon: Final Shuttle: 8:45

Q.  What are the courses like? 

Perfect.  All three courses are challenging, but fair.  There are plenty of hills for the masochists who love them, but not so many that it's silly (pun intended).  The footing is usually excellent, but there are areas where your ankles will thank you for slowing down and watching for rocks.  Patches of sand will slow things down, but much of the course is pleasantly-packed dirt.  

However, THIS IS NOT A ROAD RACE.  The terrain will be challenging, and may be very challenging if the weather has been unusually wet or dry.

Unofficial maps can be perused here:

Half Marathon Course Map

Full Marathon Course Map

Ultramarathon Course Map

When viewing the maps, remember that all racers will take a Right on Beech about three miles into the race.  Ultramarathoners will come all the way back to Beech, and will take a left to start their second loop.  If you have any questions, just e-mail us!

Also, please note: the half and marathon start on Woodward Ave., just under a mile from the start line.  You are welcome to jog down as part of your warm up, but we do have a shuttle bus that will ferry people out there before the race.  The last bus will leave 15 minutes before the start of the race, so make sure to be there on time!  Don't miss the bus!

That starting line is a little ways up the road.  How do I get there? 

This only applies to the marathon and half marathon: THERE IS A SHUTTLE.  We'll have a big bus parked by PT Plus.  It will take all runners to the start line of the race.  It'll start about 40 minutes before race time, and the last shuttle will take off 15 minutes before the start.  MAKE SURE TO CATCH A SHUTTLE TO THE START LINE!  Don't be left behind!

Q. How about Refueling Stations? 
There will be six hydration/nutrition stations on the course; half-marathoners will hit four stations, marathoners will hit seven, and ultra runners will hit eleven (four stations twice,and one three times).

The Hungerford Games will partner with Hammer Nutrition to make our Aid Stations incredible.  Each Aid Station will feature Hammer Gel and Endurolyte salt capsules, as well as Gatorate, water, and an assortment of foods.

Plus, we understand how important having your go-to fuel is.  We will accommodate any special request for a food product that you'd like to see.  Just let us know what you want! 

Stations will be equipped with First Aid supplies -- but we certainly hope you don't need them!

Spectators and crews will have their work cut out for them (it is a trail race, after all), but the aid stations are accessible by car.  See the Spectator Map and Driving Directions for more details.

Q.  Will I get LOST? 

No.  All courses will be ridiculously well-marked.  Every two hundred meters, you'll see a flag letting you know you're on track:
yellow flags for the half-marathon, red for the marathon and ultra.  Also, every turn will have additional flags, as well as directional signs pointing the way.  Every POTENTIAL turn will also feature additional flagging and signage.

The Race Directors of The Hungerford Games have all had bad experiences getting lost in trail races, so we know how important this is.  As you run in The Games, you'll have the confidence that you're right where you need to be.
What does it cost? 

We strive to provide a premium-quality experience at an affordable price.  Our sponsors generously help us to defray the cost of hosting a world-class event, and Hungerford has given over $10,000 to community running programs and the Manistee National Forest!

Prices are as follows:

Half Marathon
  • Early Bird: October to January 1: $60
  • January 2 through March: $75
  • April to July: $85
  • August and September: $95

Full Marathon

  • Early Bird: October to January 1: $70
  • January 2 through March: $85
  • April to July: $95
  • August and September: $105


  • Early Bird: October to January 1: $80
  • January 2 through March: $95
  • April to July: $105
  • August and September: $115

Q.  What do I get? 

First and foremost, of course, you get the experience of running the race.  You can't beat running the trails in Michigan in the fall.  Add in our challenging, well-marked trails and well-stocked aid station, and you've got the perfect racing experience.

On top of that, however, there are a bunch of other great perks to registering for The Hungerford Games.  Everyone who finishes will receive a hand-carved wooden medal, which will be branded on-site with our custom-made branding iron.  Ultramarathoners who finish before sunset will receive a hand-crafted hiking stick.  The top three finishers in every race will receive custom-carved trophies.

Every racer will receive the customary "swag bag", and we're pleased to be able to stock ours with some great stuff.  We've got a long-sleeved technical tee, an assortment of sponsor products, coupons to area businesses, and anything else we can get our hands on for you!  

Every year, we've also got a Great Games Giveaways; like our Facebook page for info on what we're totally just giving away!

Q.  This is my first (choose one: half marathon, full marathon, ultramarathon).  What do you recommend? 

Train consistently and specifically, race intelligently, and have a blast.  Or, more specifically:

Half Marathon:

Go at least ten miles in training, and do it at least twice.  The course is tough, so start out conservatively up the hills on Woodward Ave.  If you're feeling good after climbing the berm that puts you back on Skiberian, you can feel free to push the pace.

Taking nutrition on the run isn't so important for the half marathon, although you should practice drinking on your longer training runs to see if you find it beneficial.


You'll definitely want to make use of the aid stations and be comfortable drinking--and possibly eating--on the run.  The toughest stretch of the course is from mile 6 to mile 8: the Power Lines.  They're hilly, the footing is tough, and they just keep going. 

Make sure to get some runs in of over twenty miles; you're going to be on your feet for a while, and your body will thank you for letting it adapt.


The course is actually a little less difficult than the half and the marathon--but there's fifty miles of it.  In an ultra, nutrition, hydration, and logistics become paramount; just one thing going wrong can cause major difficulties.  Make a list, check it twice, and practice using it; there are lots of good checklists online, and it doesn't hurt to have extra things along.

Make sure your crew studies the maps; they will be able to get to most or all of the aid stations, but will have to know the territory to get from point to point.

Q.  Are pacers allowed? 

Ultramarathoners may use a pacer beginning at the Mountain Bike Trailhead Spectator Parking area near the start of the second loop.

Q.  Are iPods allowed? 

Yes.  Remember, while there is very little vehicular traffic on the course, you run at your own risk.  If you're wearing a portable music device, please be aware of your surroundings and stay safe.

Q.  What about dogs? 

Unfortunately, we won't be able to accommodate any canine companions.  Sorry!

Q.  Tell me more about the "unique, hand-crafted finishers' medals and trophies". 

Technically, that's not a question, but we'd be more than happy to talk about our medals and trophies.

This is one area that really sets The Hungerford Trail Races apart.  We start with locally found wood.  We're not cutting down any trees, but we're using trees that grew and lived in the area soil.  We cut slices of that tree into slabs that serve as the base for our medals--so no two medals are exactly the same.  When you cross the finish line, you'll have earned your own medal ceremony, where you'll receive that utterly unique hand-branded woodallion.

We're the only race in the world to celebrate your accomplishment in this way.

For the top three finishers of each gender in each race, we'll also have custom-made trophies.  These also start off as locally-found wood, and are custom made exclusively for our race.  Finish in the top three, and you'll be one of eighteen people in the world to own this trophy.

Finally, you ultramarathoners get your own challenge.  Your race will begin at sunrise (7:39), and you have until sunset to complete the course.  All ultramarathoners who finish before the sun sets at 7:32 will receive an Hungerford Ultramarathon Walking Stick, hand-crafted from locally found wood.  You're invited to bring your walking stick back next year; every subsequent time you complete the ultra, you'll receive a notch on the stick.  As the event grows older, we'll give special treatment to those ultramarathoners who are sporting five and ten notches.

Q.  What about pit stops? 

There will be plenty of Porta-Potties at the Start/Finish.  Every single member of the racing committee has a horror story about long lines at bathrooms just before a race goes off; we have intentionally ordered plenty of them in hopes of avoiding this.

During the race, there will be porta-potties at Refueling Stations A & D.  That means half marathoners will pass a pit stop twice (they pass Station A on the way out and on the way back).  Marathoners will hit Porta-Potties three times (A, D, and then A again).  Ultramarathoners will actually pass pit stops SEVEN times (A, D on the way out, D on the way back, A, D, D, and A). 

Q.  Can I switch races? 

Yes.  Just fire me an email at hungerfordgames@gmail.com, and I will switch you over.  We'll transfer you to any shorter race for free, but you can move up a race distance for $10, or up two distances (half to ultra) for $20.

Q.  Can I transfer my entry to next year? 

Yes.  If you get injured, sick, have an emergency, or just decide that you like the year 2019 better, you can transfer your entry to next year's race prior to July 1st for free.  We understand that sometimes, plans change, so we do this at no cost to you.  If you have to transfer a little closer to race day, we do charge $15.

Q.  Can I register by mail or in person if I don't want to register online? 

Yes.  Ultrasignup.com is a very convenient way to register, and we have split the registration fees with you so that you only see half of what they normally charge.  However, if you wish to avoid the fees all together, you can register by mail or in person with our mail-in registration form, following its instructions, and getting it in to us!

You can find the registration form right HERE.

Q.  Will packet pick-up be available on race day? 

Yes.  Packet pick-up will be available beginning at 6:15 on Saturday, September 29th.  You can pick up your packet and swag bag up until the the bus leaves for the start of the marathon at 8:45. 

Q.  What if the weather is really, really bad? 

We know that you've trained for months to prepare for this race, and that you're looking forward to an incredible and memorable experience.  We will make every effort to make sure the race is run.  However, the safety of our participants has to be our #1 concern.  If, in the Race Directors' discretion, in consultation with weather forecasts and local authorities, the race must be delayed, it will be delayed.  If it must be canceled, it must be canceled.  Unfortunately, we are not able to provide refunds or transfers in the event of weather cancellation.

If unexpected severe weather pops up while you're out on the course, please seek shelter at the nearest Station.  The Hungerford Trail Races has worked with local authorities to develop an inclement weather and evacuation plan should the need arise; a copy of this will emailed to you prior to the race, and will be included in your participant packet.  This plan will be followed in the event of severe weather during the race.
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