Runners and cyclists will have a chance to partake in one of the most unique and scenic events of the year with the return of the Sault International Festival of Races on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Now in its 10th year, the Sault International Festival of Races (SIFR) will include four different types of endurance-based competitions. The highlight for many runners will be the opportunity to run, or new this year, bike, across the International Bridge connecting Michigan and Ontario.
Registration is slated for 4-7 p.m. at the Avery Square Center in downtown Sault Ste. Marie (524 Ashmun St.) on Friday, Sept. 27. Race day registration and bib pickup area will be at Lake Superior State University’s Norris Center (650 W. Easterday Ave.) between 5:30 a.m. until race time on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 28.
The 60-mile bicycle race, half narathon and 6.9-mile bridge run will cross the International Bridge, but will not require participants to need special documentation during the event, as the route turns around before Canadian Customs. Participants that cross the border before and after the event will still need to have WHTI documents (https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/united-states), and must plan accordingly.
The 5K run/walk will not bring participants across the bridge, but will bring runners underneath the bridge along Portage Avenue.
The newest edition to the SIFR, the 60-mile Bike Race presented by Grand Traverse Ophthalmology Clinic race will kick off the day of races at 7 a.m. Riders will start their route from LSSU, travel across the International Bridge, make their way back and pedal past the Soo Locks, and then race down country roads to the town of Pickford before making their way back to historic downtown Sault Ste. Marie. Registration costs $35.
A trio of on-foot races will begin at 7:15 a.m. with the 12.9 mile Half Marathon. These mostly fast and flat courses will provide runners with a beautiful look of Sault Ste. Marie. Registration costs $70 for the half marathon. The Bridge Run starts at 7:30 a.m. and costs $40 to compete in, and the 3.1-mile 5K run/walk begins at 7:45 a.m. and costs $30.
Finish lines for all of the events will take place at the Farmers’ Market Square giving the public a great location to come and cheer on their favorite competitors.
With runners crossing the International Bridge, vehicle traffic will be closed along the bridge between 6:45 a.m. until 8:45 a.m. The SIFR is the final planned public bridge event of 2019 that will bring a temporary closure.
Motorists should keep an eye on the International Bridge’s website (www.saultbridge.com) for up-to-date traffic advisories for and during the planned bridge closure.
Following the SIFR, participants are invited to join in the inaugural Sault Ste. Marie Fall Festival taking place throughout the downtown area.