Kalamazoo Marathon’s new route includes WMU, Portage trail

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek
Kalamazoo Marathon 042816_210190

A 2016 image of runners participating in the Kalamazoo Marathon at the Borgess Run.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo Marathon at the Borgess Run for the Health of It will take a new route next year.

Race organizers announced Monday that the 2020 event’s start and finish line is moving from the Nazareth Campus to Western Michigan University and will take runners down Portage trails and through its parks.

“The marathon is in its tenth year, the Borgess Run is in its 41st year and this is the most dramatic change that we’ve made in all that time,” said race director Blaine Lam.

Half of the Kalamazoo Marathon will cut through Portage, mostly taking runners down the city’s Bicentennial Park trail.

The race changes will also put the Winchell neighborhood’s famous “Bacon Station” on the map of “spirit stations” for 10K and half marathon runners instead of marathoners.

Lam said rising water levels on the Kalamazoo River and changes that would restrict traffic on the Nazareth Campus prompted the changes, which race officials have been anticipating for about six months.

Lam said they are working closely with public safety, traffic, engineering and parks officials from WMU, Kalamazoo, Portage and Oshtemo and Texas townships to ensure the course is safe for participants.

“We want to be minimally disruptive. In a lot of ways, this will be less disruptive than our other course where we crisscrossed the city of Kalamazoo,” said Lam.

Portage’s parks and recreation director said the city has “plans for plenty of support and excitement” during the Portage section of the race.

Race organizers say they will notify churches, businesses and homeowners near the finalized courses to “minimize inconvenience and maximize community involvement.”

“We really hope and expect that runners and participants and the community at large will embrace these changes because we’re really looking forward to them,” said Lam.

He says the 35-person race committee will meet in the next couple weeks to iron out the details.

“They’re gonna really basically have to redesign everything. We don’t have it all mapped out yet, but we already think that they’re going to be positive,” said Lam.

People with traffic questions will also have access to a 24-hour hotline up to the day of the race.

The event kicks off May1 with the Meijer Kids Fun Run on the Nazareth Campus. That run will begin at Ascension Borgess Health and Fitness Club located at 3025 Gull Road.

The Kalamazoo Marathon at the Borgess Run for the Health of It will take place May 3, with packet pickup the day prior at Wings Event Center.

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