Sleeping Bear Marathon brings in hundreds from around the country
Hundreds of runners laced up their sneakers on Sunday morning and took to the hills of Leelanau County for the second annual Sleeping Bear Marathon and Half Marathon.
Early Sunday, the village of Empire was buzzing with excitement and adrenaline as runners from around the country gathered at the starting line.
Throughout the morning, finishers from 18 different states crossed the line and received their medals for a job well done on what was a very scenic but slightly wet course near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Despite the rainy conditions, more than 400 runners showed up to take part in the race, and organizers say it's a number that has nearly doubled from last year.
"We had about 270 people last year and we're at over 400 this year, almost 430 by the time we were done today," said Race Director, Joel Gaff Jr.. "So definitely grown and we expected that and we'll keep it to hopefully continue to grow. Slowly but surely. We're not looking to make it a big race overnight but definitely that was some expected growth for our race."
Erik Potere from Howell , was the first male to cross the finish line in the marathon, and Renee Champagne from Milford was the first female.
Aaron Bachman from Grosse Pointe Woods was first in the half marathon, and Meg Stall from Manton was the first female.