Saturday, October 9th | 9 AM


The Race to the Summit 35K Team Relay is a team running event that starts at Twelve17 Coffee Roasters (1217 S. Mission St.) and finishes at the top of Bundy Hill, the highest point in Isabella County. Teams will drive to the starting line on the southwest corner of CMU’s campus where the first runner will kick off their journey to Bundy Hill. The course starts in Mt. Pleasant, but quickly transitions to the beautiful country roads southwest of the city. For those who ran last year’s Race to the Summit, this year’s course is all new…but equally as beautiful!

Runners will form teams with a maximum of 5 runners to run pre-determined distances along the race course ranging from 1-5 miles in length. Each leg of the relay begins and ends in a designated exchange zone where runners will pass the running duties to the next runner on their team.

Teams are encouraged to stick together in a team vehicle when they are not running, encouraging their teammates and other runners along the way and enjoying a beautiful fall morning together. Finally, teams will reunite for the final leg of the relay where they will run the last mile of the course along McNeel Trail to the top of Bundy Hill where they will finish together.

After the race, teams will then make their way back down Bundy Hill where they can enjoy some post-race refreshments and share stories from their adventures on the course.

For those interested in a more family friendly option, there will also be a 1 Mile Run/Walk/Race to the Summit from the entrance of the preserve to the top of Bundy Hill. This course will follow the final mile of the 22 Mile Team Relay Course and will be a great work out for everyone who participates!

Race to the Summit 2021 registration has closed.

Questions? Contact ryan@gracemp.org

More about the Race for a Reason Race Series 

Grace Church has been a host of the Race for a Reason (R4R) series for many years, organizing races in a variety of distances and venues. The R4R series is unique because the race registration fees are all done by suggested donation and 100% of the money donated by runners is given to those in need in our community and around the world. Race for a Reason is a great way for runners to come together to do something they love while doing some good in the world. The proceeds for this year’s Race to the Summit 22 Mile Relay will help support those reaching out globally in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click Here to Make a Donation! >

 Course Description & Maps

The total distance for this race is 22 miles, with the team members running individual legs of varying distances and before coming together as a team to run the final mile to the summit of Bundy Hill. The race is separated into 7 individual legs plus one final team leg:

        Leg 1: 3 miles

        Leg 2: 4 miles

        Leg 3: 5 miles

        Leg 4: 3 miles

        Leg 5: 2.5 miles

        Leg 6: 1 Mile

        Leg 7: 3 Miles

        Final Team Leg: 1 Mile (Bonus!)

Teams are free to assign team members to different legs in whatever order or combination they choose. Teams may have a maximum of 5 runners. Because there are 7 legs in this year’s race, some team members will need to run more than one leg. All exchanges must happen in the designated exchange zones at the beginning/end of each leg. The decision about who will be running each leg of the relay will need to be finalized before registration closes on Monday, October 4th.

 ***Cut Off Time: Please note, there is a 4 hour cut-off time to complete the full 22 mile distance. Each designated exchange zone will have staggered closing times, which we will share with teams prior to race day. Those teams not able to complete the total 22 mile distance in 4 hours are encouraged to join us at Bundy Hill for our 1 mile Race to the Summit.***

22 Mile Team Relay Course

1 Mile Race to the Summit Course

Leg 1 Description (3 Miles)

We’ll kick off this year’s Race to the Summit at Twevle17 Coffee Roasters. Teams will check-in and receive some pre-race directions before jumping into their team vehicles and heading to the CMURC on Denison Dr. This first leg will begin on the southwest edge of CMU’s campus and runners will enjoy the first 0.5 mile on paved roads, which will be the only section of paved roads on this year’s full Race to the Summit course! Runners will head west on Deerfield Road for 1 mile, before turning south on Lincoln for another mile. Runners will enjoy beautiful country views and quiet, long straightaways as they slowly increase in elevation on their way to the first exchange zone.

Leg 2 Description (4 Miles)

This leg is run on a beautiful section of country roads that will look even better at the peak of Fall Color season. Runners will head west on Millbrook Rd. for a mile and half as they gradually work their way uphill for the first two miles. Runners will weave their way on Chapman and Nottawa Rd. as they work toward Walton Rd. The second half of this leg is a gradual downhill and runners will really begin to get a sense that they are getting out into the country. After a short half mile stretch heading south on Nottawa, runners will finish on a beautiful, quiet section of Walton Rd.

Leg 3 Description (5 Miles)

This is the longest leg of this year’s Race to the Summit. Runners will enjoy beautiful country views and quiet roads as they work their way over rolling hills during the first 2 miles. Runners will head west on Walton for about a half mile before heading north on Vandecar Rd. for another mile. The 3rd mile of this leg is a long, gradual downhill on Millbrook Rd. with some scenic views. This is where this leg gets fun! Since all good things must come to an end, runners will transition to a gradual uphill as they continue west on Millbrook Rd. and climb to the next exchange zone. 

Leg 4 Description (3 Miles)

This leg is arguably the most beautiful leg of this year’s Race to the Summit course. Runners will head west on Millbrook Rd for about a half mile before heading north on Woodruff Rd. Over the first mile, runners will gradually work their way downhill as they look forward to some scenic views of Woodruff Lake right around mile 1. From there, the course continues north on Woodruff Rd. over rolling hills before turning west on Broomfield for a half mile and heading for the next exchange.

Leg 5 Description (2.5 Miles)

This leg starts with a long, gradual uphill over the first mile as runners press closer and closer to Bundy Hill. Runners will head west on Broomfield for about a 1.5 miles before heading north on Brinton for the final mile of this leg. This leg flattens out over the last mile as runners work their way north on a very quiet and beautiful section of Brinton Rd. The course finishes with a short, rewarding section of downhill running as runners approach the next exchange zone. 

NOTE: This exchange zone will be a bit different than our other exchange zones, with runners tagging their teammates using more of an ‘air high five’ across M-20! The Leg 5 runner will finish their run on the south side of M-20, but the Leg 6 runner will actually be staged across M-20 on the north side. Once the Leg 6 runner sees their teammate reach the Leg 5 checkpoint, they will begin their leg without physically tagging their teammate, this way no runners will have to cross M-20 on foot.

Leg 6 Description (1 Mile)

This leg is an opportunity for teams to get creative. After last year’s race where all of the legs were a 5K or longer, we’ve decided to work in a few shorter legs in this year’s course to give teams some more options about how they want to split up the distance. This leg is a long, gradual downhill and could be the fastest mile of the team relay if teams really want to go for it. This leg is also a great option for teams to get someone involved in this year’s race that isn’t as eager to run longer distances.

Leg 7 Description (3 Miles)

Your team will need a brave runner to take on the final individual leg of the team relay! This final leg is 3 miles long, but keep in mind that this runner will also meet up with their team at the final exchange zone and continue to the summit of Bundy Hill, effectively making this a 4 mile leg! Runners will head north on Brinton Rd. for 1 mile before heading west on River Rd. for the last two miles. The first couple miles of this leg will give runners time to settle in and warm up before beginning the gradual ascent to the final exchange zone where they will be reunited with their team for the final push to the summit.

Final Team Leg Description

Once each team’s last runner gets settled into Leg 7, they will head to the base of Bundy Hill to find a place to park and get ready for the final segment of the team relay. Teams will wait at the final exchange zone for their last runner to arrive. Once the whole team has been reunited, they will follow the trails to the summit of Bundy Hill where they will finish the race together.

 from 1 mi Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?

The link to register for the Race to Summit can be found at gracemp.org/summit. 

Are you taking social distancing into account?

In this season when we are all doing our best to respond to the challenges presented to us by COVID-19, we certainly understand the importance of organizing this event in a way that ensures everyone’s safety. We’ve decided to make this run a ‘team relay’ to minimize the number of runners in close proximity on the race course. This event will be held outdoors and all participants are welcomed to wear a face covering when not able to maintain social spacing from other participants and spectators.

 What are the different distances for team members to run?

The 22 mile distance has been divided into 7 individual legs that vary in length from 1 mile to 5 miles. All team members will run the final mile of the course as a team as they ‘Race to the Summit,’ finishing at the top of Bundy Hill together. Course maps and descriptions are all posted at gracemp.org/summit. 

Can I run the whole distance by myself? Can I run more than one leg of the relay?

Because teams are made up of 5 runners, some team members will need to run more than one leg in order to complete the 7 individual legs of the team relay. Teams may assign individual legs in whatever combination they wish. We are not offering an option for individuals to run the whole course by themselves at this time. In the spirit of a ‘team relay,’ we are encouraging runners to partner together to cover the 22 mile distance together. 

What if I want to run but I can’t find a team to run with?

We have included an option on the registration form to sign-up as an individual if you would like to participate in the Team Relay but don’t have a team. As race day gets closer, we’ll do what we can to try to pair you up with a team if the opportunity is there. However, we can’t make any promises! If we’re not able to place you on a team with other runners for the Team Relay, we will register you for the 1 Mile Run/Walk/Race to the Summit.

Can we change team members if someone is not able to make it?

Yes. You can make additions/changes to your team as long as it is done before registration closes on Monday, October 4th. We’ll reach out to Team Captains the week of 10/4 to make sure the information we have for each team is correct.

Will there be a fun run?

Individuals and families may also choose to participate in a 1 mile Run/Walk/Race to the Summit on race day. This will take place at approximately 1:00 PM on race day. We’ll be posting more information soon with the full schedule for the morning.

Are their prizes/awards?

Prizes will be awarded to the top Mens, Womens, and Co-Ed team, as well as some additional prizes for teams who go above and beyond to make this a great morning for each other and for other teams.

Should our team color coordinate?

Absolutely. Teams are encouraged to show some team spirit and have some fun creating matching shirts, socks, headbands, or anything else that lets others know that you are in this together. Of course, this is not required…but we do encourage teams to look for creative ways to designate those who are on their team.

Will there be aid stations?

There will be water available at few of the exchange zones on the course, but team members may also plan to meet runners at different points during each running leg with water or gatorade.

How will our team get to designated exchange zones?

Teams will be responsible for getting all of their team members to each exchange zone. Teams are encouraged to designate a team vehicle and a few drivers who can transport team members along the race course. For those Middle/High Schoolers who don’t have anyone who can drive their teams, they are encouraged to recruit a parent or another Team Driver who can transport them along the course on race day.

Is there a way to get specific information about race day logistics?

All teams will have a Team Captain who we will keep in the loop about important race day details. The Team Captain will then be expected to communicate these details to their team members. We’ll share more information as race day gets closer.

Still have questions? E-mail ryan@gracemp.org.