2012-06-23 / News

Hundreds Run at 10k Lilac Festival Race, Yarnell Wins

By Andrew Marlan


Kevin Yarnell, a third-year student studying marketing management at Michigan State University, poses in front of the Straits of Mackinac and Mackinac Bridge after winning the Lilac Festival 10K. Mr. Yarnell was recruited for cross-country and track and field on a scholarship and has run for the university for three years. Kevin Yarnell, a third-year student studying marketing management at Michigan State University, poses in front of the Straits of Mackinac and Mackinac Bridge after winning the Lilac Festival 10K. Mr. Yarnell was recruited for cross-country and track and field on a scholarship and has run for the university for three years. Roughly 800 registered adults, teenagers, and children ran the 10K Lilac Festival Race Saturday, June 9, at 9:30 a.m. Participants arrived in front of the Windermere Hotel on Main Street in tank tops and shorts early Saturday morning to prepare for the 6.2-mile lap. Participants wore numbers, white for runners and yellow for walkers. The race started in front of Windermere Point Park and went through historic downtown Mackinac Island, turned up a challenging steep hill, tilted downhill, and through the wooded center of the Island. The race ended in the playground at Mackinac Island Public School. Participants ran the last mile along the shoreline on Shore Road.

Tatiana Ramirez and Jordan Daljord are college students working at the Lilac Tree Hotel as massage therapists for the summer. This was their first time running the race on the Island and after seeing how much excitement it brought to the Lilac Festival, they wished they had done it last year.

“I played track, basketball, and cross-country in high school, but I’m not going to get competitive in this race,” said Ms. Daljord. “We’re running together on this one.”

The pair had been training for this race all summer by running around the Island. The duo stuck together the entire race and finished with bright smiles at 58 minutes 25 seconds in the top of the first half of the group.

Kevin Yarnell from Maumee, Ohio, was the first runner to cross the finish line at the school. He is a third-year Michigan State University cross-country and track and field athlete majoring in marketing management. Mr. Yarnell finished at 34 minutes, 35 seconds with a pace of 6 minutes, 44 seconds per mile.

“This was my start for summer training. I really hadn’t trained at all for the race,” said Mr. Yarnell. “This was my way of getting back into running.”

His family owns a cottage on Black Lake and they have been coming to Mackinac Island for about 18 years and his parents have run the race 10 to 15 times since then. The last time they ran the race together, his mother finished first. He comes from a family of athletes and was recruited on a scholarship to Michigan State University for cross-country and track and field.

“The biggest challenge was the first hill in the first half mile,” said Mr. Yarnell. “I knew that we would go downhill, so I remembered to look forward to that.”

He noted that it was humid from and recent rain that it would have been better if there were a buildup to the hill so that runners were able to get acclimated before such demanding physical exertion.

“After you hit the hill, it seems like all of a sudden you hit the three-mile mark and you’re like, I can do this,” he said.

The Yarnell family drove north to their cottage on Black Lake Friday night and planned to stay on the Island Saturday to enjoy the Lilac Festival. They said that they love the natural beauty and historical importance of the Island, and that they look forward to seeing northern Michigan every summer.

“I love this race,” said Mr. Yarnell. “It’s one that you’re able to take in the scenery…Not all [races] are this awesome.”

Mr. Yarnell hopes that winning this race has warmed him up to a successful preseason conditioning and is looking forward to two more years at Michigan State University.

“The next goal is to win a Big Ten Championship title,” he said.

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