The Biyakathon: Harbor Beach’s Unique Outdoor Race

Ever thought of vacationing in the thumb and looking to be active during your stay? Michigan’s Harbor Beach might be your destination. Home to the world’s largest man-made freshwater harbor and Michigan’s only Biyakathon (bike, kayak, run) race, in Harbor Beach you can compete and enjoy the great outdoors all in one weekend.

How does the race work?

Much shorter than a traditional triathlon, a Biyakathon contains the three typical legs of a triathlon, but with one leg slightly altered. It begins with a five mile bike ride through town on a couple of local highways and streets. Biyakathon racers starting the bike leg of the race.Instead of swimming the first leg in a regular triathlon, the aquatic portion of the race is accomplished by kayaking a two mile distance through the town’s man-made harbor. But, kayaks are not the only mode of transportation allowed. The race encourages any type of watercraft to be utilized. This means participants can canoe or paddleboard the harbor to complete this leg. The last part of the race is a running 5K to the end of the harbor’s break wall and back to the beach. All of these legs intersect at Judge James H. Lincoln Park Beach, where both the bike racks and kayaks are located for each exchange.

No experience? No problem!

Three Biyakathon participants.This race is an entry-level activity, encouraging participants of any skill levels. There are 12 divisions made to accommodate all racers- competitive, non competitive and even a section for participants under 18. Racers can compete along side teams of two to three people, or individually. Tandem bikes and kayaks are welcomed as well. There’s no limit to the ways a participant can compete because the main goal of this event is to bring people together in a healthy way.

For a good cause

Harbor Beach has hosted the Biyakathon since 2013 to keep the community active and to help raise money for community projects. This year the proceeds went to benefiting the Friends of the Frank Murphy Museum to for ongoing projects. In the past years the event has raised approximately $60,000 and invested the funds into other areas of the community, such as the construction for a memorial gazebo and additions to the local theater. Even Harbor Beach Mayor Gary Booms contributes by delivering kayaks down from Port Austin.

Marilee Schock, creator and director of the event hopes to see an increase in participants in the coming years. “We are always trying to find ways to bring people into our community,” said Schock. Organizers are looking forward to the possibilities the event holds now, and in the future.

Stay up to date with future Biyakathon news with the race’s Facebook page.

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Photo Credit: Biyakathon Facebook page

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