TRAVERSE CITY — The public spoke and the National Cherry Festival has responded.
For the first time, the Cherry Festival’s Meijer Festival of Races will feature four different distances with a half-marathon and a 10K being added to the 5K and 15K. All four races will take place on Saturday, July 12.
“There’s been a lot of interest in the running community in general to have the half-marathon added to the festival,” said Trevor Tkach, National Cherry Festival Executive Director. “Being able to add two races, it diversifies the audience we can reach. It gets people more opportunities to set goals and live healthy. That’s a big part of our strategy right now and the category we want to continue to enhance and promote within the festival.”
The addition of the half-marathon will be the first time that distance has been a part of the Cherry Festival, but the 10K brings back the original race to the Festival of Races. The 10K became the 15K 36 years ago and the 10K hasn’t been offered since. The 5K has been part of the festival since the 80s.
“We haven’t made any changes to this portfolio of races in some time so it’s exciting to be adding a further distance with the half-marathon, but then an in-between distance between the 5 and the 15,” said Tkach. “The Mount McKinley stretch of the 15K is something that many people are intimidated by. It’s a big challenge. I think the 10K will offer a nice opportunity for those who want to step it up. They’ve been doing the 5K for years and now they’ve got a chance to move up at least one distance higher and feel like they’re achieving more and puting a little more on the table. It’s a good stepping stone.”