Kalamazoo Marathon/Borgess Run Switches Locations, Changes Courses and Hits the Portage Trails for 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The Kalamazoo Marathon/Borgess Run for the Health of It will move its start/finish to Western Michigan University and feature the trails and parks in the City of Portage next May 3.

“We’re grateful for a community that values these important events,” said Race Director Blaine Lam. “Our race committee, Community Advisory Council, sponsors and volunteers will work to create something special in the spirit of community health.”

Half of the marathon will be held in Portage with most of those miles on the Portage Creek Bicentennial Park Trail. “We see this as a great fit,” said Portage Mayor Patricia Randall. “The beauty of our trails is well known to many people, but this event will showcase just how extensive our trail system has become.”

The sizes of the races in 2020 will be capped.

Moving the start/finish to Western’s campus has a number of advantages, not the least of which is a brand new experience for participants who have been loyal to the event for so many years. This will be the 10th Kalamazoo Marathon and 41st Borgess Run.

“Western has been a major partner and sponsor of the marathon from the outset,” said Jeff Breneman, WMU Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communications. “We’re looking forward to playing host to an event that brings visitors to our community from across the country.”

Organizers will work with local governmental and public safety officials to determine the final courses for the 5K, Priority Health 5K Walk, 10K, half marathon and marathon. It appears that the famous “Bacon Station” in the Winchell neighborhood – one of many spirit stations along the course – will welcome 10K and half marathon runners this year instead of marathoners.

“The City of Portage is so pleased to be a part of the Kalamazoo Marathon this year. We have plans for plenty of support and excitement along the new Portage section of the course,” said Kathleen Hoyle, Director of Parks, Recreation & Senior Citizen Services. “The 20-mile mark will be in Portage, and at that point, some runners need more than pretty scenery. We’ll be there for them.”

Changes at the Nazareth campus – former host site for the run – and the challenges of limited traffic access to that site, along with elevated levels at the Kalamazoo River over the years, were factors in changing things up this year, Lam said. None of the changes would be possible, according to Lam, without the cooperation of the City of Kalamazoo and the City of Portage, particularly the Public Safety and Traffic Engineering departments.

“They’ve been with us every step of the way, and we appreciate their understanding of what it takes to put on this event.” Organizers, in developing the final courses and securing approval, will communicate with churches, businesses and residents to minimize inconvenience and maximize community involvement in the event. That communication will continue once the courses are finalized.

The event maintains a 24-hour hotline up to the day of the event for people who have questions about traffic.

The lineup of events for the May 1 – 3 weekend begins with the Meijer Kids Fun Run, scheduled to be held the Friday evening on the Nazareth Campus, beginning at Ascension Borgess Health Club, 3025 Gull Road.

The Saturday expo and packet pickup for runners will once again be held at Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive.

Other features of announcement: 50 state challenge, Earn Your Mittens Challenge (back to back marathons in the same weekend), Midwest Half & Half (back to back half marathons in the same weekend), race purpose, charities, Borgess Run Camp, etc.