Overall Rating
Overall Rating (5 Reviews)
3.8
(5 Ratings)  (5 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3
SCENERY
3.2
PRODUCTION
4.4
SWAG
3.6
The Zeigler Kalamazoo Marathon (formerly the Borgess Run for the Health of It) is bringing back the full marathon after 3 years off! We’re excited to keep the tradition of the infamous Bacon Station and Gummy Bear Forest alive. The PNC Kids’ 1K will be held downtown Kalamazoo on Saturday. … MORE
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Recent reviews

    This is my first year running the Ziegler Kalamazoo half marathon (formerly known as the Borgess Run for the Health of It). It's my understanding that the race is under … MORE

    This is my first year running the Ziegler Kalamazoo half marathon (formerly known as the Borgess Run for the Health of It). It’s my understanding that the race is under new management – which, in my opinion, was quite evident in negative ways.

    PROS:
    – There were water stations every two miles throughout the race that were well manned by volunteers.
    – Decent finisher’s medal. Liked the long sleeve participant t-shirt.
    – Small race – I believe there were less than 500 runners in the half marathon. Easy to get to the start line, with many parking options nearby.

    CONS:
    – Very little communication leading up to the race. I signed up about a month in advance (granted, registration opened 3-4 months prior). I received one email the night before packet pick-up, and a second email the night before the race. The emails were essentially duplicates, though the second email had typos here and there. Overall, felt sloppy and took away some excitement about the race.
    – Based on my watch, the course was about .25 miles too long. Miles 1-4 were accurately marked, but mile 5 was marked at 5.25 miles. Mile 6 was also off (marked at 6.25). Strangely, a marker for the halfway point of the race was accurate – though mile 7 was off again (marked at 7.25), and continued to be off for the rest of the race.
    – First aid/medical professionals were patrolling the race by bike – which I appreciated, but one cut in front of me during the race and I literally had to stop running to prevent crashing into him. I don’t blame the race directors for this, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.
    – The course is mostly hills and winds through Kalamazoo. About halfway through the race, we ran along a very busy road (on the sidewalk) with cars probably going 50-60 mph. Not very scenic, and the tight sidewalk made it more difficult to pass other runners.
    – Very limited crowd support. There were some areas with cheering sections, but those were few and far between. Most of the race is spent running through residential areas. You end in downtown Kalamazoo, which could be a cool ending (though, it felt like a ghost town on a Sunday morning).

    All in all, it felt like this race contained many mistakes that could be easily corrected with more planning and better leadership – may be due to rushed planning for the event (as I think registration opened less than 3-4 months ago). Many of the issues seemed rooted in inexperienced race directors. I would run this race again, but only after a few years have passed. This race has potential to be good, but has many details to work out before that can happen.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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    ZKalamazooMarathon Oct 20, 2022 at 12:37pm

    Hi @MichiganRunner91, Thank you for you review and feedback. While we did face many challenges due to a quick and unexpected transfer of leadership post covid and are in a… MORE

    Hi @MichiganRunner91, Thank you for you review and feedback. While we did face many challenges due to a quick and unexpected transfer of leadership post covid and are in a rebuilding phase, the observations you made are fair. We truly apologize for your negative experience. We value feedback from runners like you and are dedicated to providing an amazing event experience as we grow and look to the future. We have made the following changes/improvements for 2023: - all new courses which minimize hills and remove the stretch along the busy road on the sidewalk; each course features unique places in Kalamazoo and will include the Bicentennial Trail for more scenic spots; all certified through USATF (check them out on www.zeiglerkalamazoomarathon.com) - a strengthened communications plan (specifically email) to ensure all participants and volunteers receive information well in advanced and consistently over time including safety information, training tips, course and expo info, and more valuable and engaging content overall - enhanced community outreach and engagement to increase crowd support and spirit stations along the course - increased business engagement downtown for a lively Saturday and Sunday event We also have let our medical team know what your experience was this year getting cut off mid race and will try to prevent another runner from having that experience in the future. Again, thank you for the review and feedback. Carrie (Race Director) [email protected] LESS

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    ashleekucinski FIRST-TIMER '19

    Overall, this race was very well executed. There were more than enough porta potties at the beginning of the race, and it was easy to park/get in and out of … MORE

    Overall, this race was very well executed. There were more than enough porta potties at the beginning of the race, and it was easy to park/get in and out of the race area. My biggest area of feedback is MORE SWAG! There was no marathon branded apparel/stuff at the expo (or really much of anything, for that matter), and the race shirts were cotton (even for half/full marathon).

    Pros:
    -Easy access to porta potties/start line
    -Pace groups (although the 1:45 pace group was flying and running faster than the necessary mile splits)
    -Enough water/hydration throughout the course – tons of food (jelly beans, Gu, gummy bears, popsicles, etc.)
    -Crowd support is great throughout (especially at the start/finish)
    -Finisher medal is really nice
    -Free beer for finishers! (And it’s actually high quality from local breweries)

    Cons:
    -Two hills (mile 8-ish and 12). Normally, I’m fine with elevation changes, but, for some reason, these two really messed with me. A lot of people walked up the hills. I think most of it was mental (you can see the steep incline at mile 12), and the late-placement of the hills on the course.
    -Beware of starting too quickly – the first two/three miles are downhill and have tons of people cheering, so it’ll be easy to push it too early
    -Not a ton of shade – definitely wear sunglasses/a hat if it’s a sunny day.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    Bluebird46360 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Great Swag & Beautiful Medals! The course was a little confusing...had some hills, but were not that bad. Loved popsicle hill, was much needed after a long trudge up hill … MORE

    Great Swag & Beautiful Medals! The course was a little confusing…had some hills, but were not that bad. Loved popsicle hill, was much needed after a long trudge up hill towards the end of the race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    DaveB FIRST-TIMER '18

    This race puts some of the larger races held in bigger cities to shame. Positives: Varied course that took you around local nature paths and took you on a fair … MORE

    This race puts some of the larger races held in bigger cities to shame.

    Positives: Varied course that took you around local nature paths and took you on a fair tour of the Kalamazoo community. Well run bib pickup system that had you in and out quickly. Plenty of water/liquid Gu Energy Drink stations throughout. Good race swag including a nice shirt that volunteers were happy to exchange at the expo to make sure you got one that fit well. Free craft beer at the finish festival…a good one too. Great finish festival including free massages and plenty of goodies to go around, not to mention lots of porta potties so there was very little waiting in line before or after the race. Dedicated volunteers and workers everywhere who all seemed to take pride in making sure every participant in every race got their money’s worth and had a great experience.

    Deltas: My only issue with the race was the intersection of the 5K walk with the half marathon at the part of the course around the pond near Borgess Hospital…mile 10-11 or so. Many walkers did not understand the unwritten rule about leaving room for runners and would frequently be lined up in a phalanx that was very difficult to negotiate. This problem was nullified once there were lanes for faster movers and slower movers as the course moved up hill toward the finish, but I felt these lanes were needed much sooner on the course…that or some other way of preventing walkers from becoming difficult-to-negotiate obstacles on the half-marathon course.

    All in all, a fantastic experience. I would highly recommend this race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    ktown68 FIRST-TIMER '16

    First time doing this race. If you are looking for a race in Michigan I recommend this one. Free shuttle from the hotel to and from the race. Indoor place … MORE

    First time doing this race. If you are looking for a race in Michigan I recommend this one. Free shuttle from the hotel to and from the race. Indoor place to stay warm before the race. Free meal after the race. Tons of cheering support along the course. Gummie bears and popsicles stops on the course. Scenic finish around a lake. Double bling if you run Indy or Kenosha the day before. Overall a great experience!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
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