New events coming to Gladstone

GLADSTONE — Active individuals looking to experience all that Gladstone has to offer will have the opportunity to do so this summer. The city will host two separate events, a half-marathon and an unconventional triathlon, which will ask participants to kayak rather than swim for one leg of the course. Both events were approved by the Gladstone City Commission Monday night.

The events are being put on by MISH Watersports, LLC., a watersport company that provides kayak and paddle board rentals, as well as kiteboarding lessons, on Little Bay de Noc. According to MISH Watersports co-owner Rick Elrod, the decision to bring the two events to Gladstone was largely the result of the newly constructed Little Bay de Noc Trail, which extends from the city along the shoreline to P.5 Road in Escanaba Township.

“It makes our area really unique all of a sudden. We had beautiful waterfront before, but not really anyway to access it,” said Elrod.

The first of the two events will be the half-marathon on June 16. Runners will start the 13.1 mile loop at P.5 Road, travel along the shoreline on the newly constructed trail, and continue on the non-motorized pathway and boardwalk around the city’s eastern-most tip, before heading North to Kipling. Once at the furthest point of the loop, runners will turn around, traveling back down Lake Shore Drive, cutting through the city on 10th Avenue, and returning to the Little Bay de Noc Trail. Participants will have completed the event when they once again reach P.5 Road.

The second event, which will be held Aug. 25, also starts at the southern-most tip of the trail. However, participants of the unconventional triathlon will start out the event in a kayak and travel north along the shoreline before transitioning to a bicycle at the city’s beach. From there, participants will bike north to Kipling on 9th Street before turning around and returning to the non-motorized trail in Van Cleve Park. At that point, they will ditch their bikes and run the remainder of the course back to P.5 Road on the Little Bay de Noc Trail.

While MISH Watersports does maintain a small fleet of rentable kayaks and paddle boards, the sheer number of participants expected means the triathletes will be responsible for bringing their own kayaks and bicycles.

For the half-marathon, Elrod believes that about 300 runners will participate. At this point, he believes a similar number of people will take part in the unconventional triathlon, but noted that a similar event in Traverse City — which also uses kayaks instead of asking triathletes to swim — routinely fills up the 1,000 available registration slots in a matter of minutes.

“It is a good opportunity for businesses to be seen to when you have 1,000 people plus their family and friends coming with them, so anytime we can bring even 500 people into the community and their family and friends it’s a great deal,” said Parks and Recreation Director Nicole Sanderson of the two events.

While other similar events are frequently fundraisers for charity, this event is not designed to raise money for any specific cause. However, Sanderson did note during the meeting that holding events like the half-marathon and the unconventional triathlon gives the city an opportunity to charge an additional user fee for events, which could then be applied to the long-term maintenance of the new trail.

Registration for the half-marathon and triathlon will open in the future online at

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the commission received its annual grant from the Dr. Mary Cretens Trust Fund, which is managed by the Community Foundation For Delta County. This year, the city received $164,401.15.