Update – May 20, 2020

Dear Runners,

As promised, I am communicating with you today about the status of Lake Michigan RTS 10k and 5k. I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it; this has been a gut wrenching decision to make.

Last year was an unprecedented one. The first time we had ever had to cancel the event, for any reason. We evaluated the heat warnings, the forecast and consulted with Sports Medicine experts. Could most have made it through the course just fine, albeit a little tired and extra sweaty? Probably. Could we guarantee that if even one person had a heat related medical emergency that we’d be able to get them the help they needed in time? No. We cancelled the event based on the recommendations given to us by our medical team, our community partners, and out of an abundance of caution for participants, volunteers and staff.

This year, we began planning to redeem the experience that so many of you missed in 2019. We had been working out every scenario, including an alternative course option, should the heat spike unsafely again. We were going to be ready for ANYTHING. Well, anything except the global pandemic that’s become our current reality.

While my optimism about the future of this event, and the future of all community events, remains, I’m also tasked with evaluating the reality of our current situation. Given the circumstances, and abiding by the specific guidance of Allegan County Health Officials, we’ve decided to cancel Lake Michigan RTS this year.

At the heart of what makes this event so special, is the course- the trails, the dune (well, both dunes!) and the breathtaking views along the way. We would not be able to provide a virtual event that would come close to a comparable experience. It wouldn’t have been the premium event we promised when we accepted your registration, and collected your payment.

Additionally, as a business, Gazelle Sports is dedicated to supporting our community. That means supporting and uplifting other community events as well. We would not be able to postpone Lake Michigan RTS without creating a negative impact on other events that are either held annually in the fall, or have already been postponed from this spring or summer. There are many incredible events planned for each weekend in September and October, and we hope to see you at one of them.

So what happens to your registration? Everyone who is registered for the event this year will receive a full refund. If, however, you would like to donate your refund to support our charity partner Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation, you may do so by notifying me by May 30. If you are able, I encourage you to do so, as the need is greater than ever for the children and families who are supported by P.O.R.T. Should you choose to donate your refund, you will also be invited to register for the 2021 event before it opens to the public, therefore guaranteeing your spot. I can be reached at community@gazellesports.com.

We will begin issuing refunds after June 1. These will be issued through RunSignUp.com and refunded via your method of payment. It can take up to 14 days for refunds to be processed, so please wait until June 15 to reach out regarding any refund issues that you experience.

I feel the disappointment of this news 750 times over- with each one of you, individually. The weight of a second year of cancellation is heavy too. However, that disappointment is matched, measure for measure, with the hope and optimism that eventually we will be able to return to the places, events, and experiences that fill our hearts. We will return to the celebrations of accomplishment, the high fives, and relief of feeling those medals around our necks.

And we will return to the starting line of the toughest race we’ve ever loved.

Cara Zerbel
Community Engagement Manager

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