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Annual Keweenaw Chain Drive to return with new adventure route

The 2024 Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival will be held June 15, during BridgeFest weekend. Registration is free, and both runners and bikers are welcome to sign up! Registration closed midnight on June 14.

This year, the festival will be done in a poker-run style, where runners and riders will collect chips along their routes. The chips will be turned in once they finish the race. Whomever has the best poker hand will win various prize packages. There will be additional prizes for the top five participants in the Men’s, Women’s, and Under 18 categories. Riders can choose between the short, long, and adventure routes. Runners will be able to take either the short or long route. More details on each course are available on the Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival Facebook.

The Keweenaw Chain Drive Poker Run has been done in a donation-based format since 2020, and the slot for runners was added in 2023. However, the event’s history goes back much further. The original Chain Drive began in the early 2000s. All of the donations raised will go towards trail maintenance and improvements at the Churning Rapids/Maasto Hiito Trails, and will also support the Hancock Trails Club.

Murphy Mallow, addressed the spirit of the event and the average number of participants.

“We typically have anywhere from 75 to over 100 participants each year! The main goal is to get the local community stoked on the trails! It’s a donation-based event that you can do at your own pace, with as many people as you want, and just have a fun day out on the trails whether you’re riding or running.”

Mallow also emphasized that the event is open to all runners and riders, and that,

“no matter your skill or fitness level, it’s a really inviting event for everyone to enjoy and take part

in.”

The Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival will include some new additions this year as well.

Keweenaw Coffee Works will provide starting line coffee, and Fresh Coast Yoga will sponsor the Start and Finish Line Aid.

The event’s website also urges participants to be prepared, as they will have to navigate the course on their own. “The Short and Long Course will be marked, but GPS or phone to view and navigate routes is highly recommended.” Additionally, the event is self-supported this year. As the website states, “There may be pop-up aid stations. Locations and provisions are unknown.” Riders will meet in the parking lot of UP Portage Health System (500 Campus Drive in Hancock) for the beginning of the event. Start times will be staggered to avoid bottlenecks on the routes. Runners will begin at 8 a.m., and bikers can choose between a start time of 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.

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