What is the Big Bay Relay?
Teams come together to go further than they ever have on a course that stretches from Marquette, MI to Big Bay, MI with friends and a community of runners by their side.
Your relay experience is as competitive as you make it. Rally your team and challenge the other teams in your division for the top ranking, or simply make it your goal to cross the finish line together! The Big Bay Relay is about coming together as a team and going further than you could as an individual. From an elite runner to the novice runner, Big Bay Relay is the perfect race for anyone.
When Is It?
The 42nd Annual Race will be held on Saturday May 16th, 2020
Starts @ 8:00am at the Kaufman Sports Complex
Finishes @ Thunder Bay Inn
How It Works
Teams are composed of five runners for adults and up to seven for youth teams. Teams cover 26-ish miles, starting in Marquette, MI and ending in Big Bay, MI. Runners run approximately 1 mile each before handing the baton to a teammate and resting until it is their turn again. While one person is running, the rest of your teammates are on support duty in your race vehicle. As each runner begins, the crew in the vehicle drives ahead and meets them at the exchange point to pick them up and drop off the next runner.
In spring of 1972, Marquette held its first Big Bay Relay coordinated by Race Director Karen Kunkle and her husband Jack. The first race brought only ten relay teams and has grown to include over fifty teams in the past several years. A note in the Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club named the Big Bay Relay the 1990 Race of the Year.
Some relay teams have been racing for more than 20 years and hold a special place as part of the annual race’s history.
Lisa Holmberg’s family started running the relay in 1984 and continues to hand down the relay legacy and tradition through her family today. Holmberg started running the race with her father when she was just twenty years old. “My dad named our team Dead Last because we were pretty slow. Our team [raced for] about twenty years”. Holmberg’s father stayed on the team until his retirement in 2007. Today Holmberg’s children are a part of the Kick’n Asphalt team. Holmberg participates in the all-women’s team, Marga-Relay-Ville, while her parents Tom and Phyllis Burge still participate by driving them during the race. “Every year we take a picture of our current teams. It is funny to look back through the years and see all the people who have come with us on this journey”. Says Holmberg.
If you are an elite runner who wants to compete, or a group of friends that want to try something adventurous, this picturesque relay is for you. For 40 years the Big Bay Relay has been uniting community members, families and friends, and we want you to be a part of this year’s race!
A community member describes the race- “That is what it is about: having fun with your friends and family while doing something healthy”.
Registration fees are $130 per team before May 1st and $150 after May 1st and $170 the day before. Registration divisions include five person all-female, all-male, or mixed teams and seven person junior division teams. All team members will get race swag, Brook’s Running Shirts are available for purchase. This year all proceeds benefit the Big Bay Pathway. If you are interested in volunteering or have any questions please contact Marcia [email protected] 906-345-0149, or by e-mail at [email protected]